Application and Admission Procedures

The Master Programme Biochemistry is open to all applicants that fulfil the requirements. This programme can only be entered in the winter term.

All applicants must apply for admission via the university’s online application system. Please try to apply by June 15th, especially if you are coming from a foreign country. The final deadline for applications is July 15th. Early application for foreigners is strongly advised so that upon admission you have enough time to obtain the required Visa for your relocation to Germany before lectures start in October. A late start, even if caused by Visa problems that you cannot control, will not be possible once the first practical has started.

All applicants will have their B.Sc. degree evaluated prior to a decision on admission to confirm that their degree is equivalent in academic achievements to the B.Sc. degree in Biochemistry at the RUB. This evaluation is performed by the faculty’s Examination Board Biochemistry. A studies course Biochemistry at a German university will automatically be deemed equivalent.
The examination Board Biochemistry will also examine if the required extent of practical training has taken place during the Bachelor programme of the applicant. To this end the number of credit points achieved from practicals will be confirned (1/3 of total Bachelor CP is required). The mandatory practicals specification letter provided by the applicant will be considered to judge eligibility of practicals.

Upon admission students can enrol in the Master programme either online or at the students’ registration office during the enrolment period by presenting their degree certificate and the certificate of the mandatory counseling interview.

Course Programme

The Master Programme Biochemistry offers compulsory and elective courses.

Compulsory Courses

In the compulsory courses every student receives a broad, advanced education. This includes a seminar on a special topic you select yourself based on your topical interest and your own literature search. Furthermore, you will gain insight into membrane receptor signaling mechanisms in an advanced lecture course and will be acquainted with important concepts of bioinformatics. In addition, there will be courses on the practical and legal aspects of handling radiolabeled substances and on taking care of and working with laboratory animals. These courses include the offer to obtain federal certificates allowing you to work with radioisotopes and laboratory animals in laboratories all over Europe.

Students from non-European countries will have to participate in a mandatory two-week PCBLT course (Preparatory Course Biochemical Laboratory Techniques) to (re)acquaint them with some basic standard lab techniques and the equipment used at our faculty.

The following courses are compulsory for all students and serve to provide you with an advanced education in the field of biochemistry:

  • Biochemical Seminar
  • Bioinformatics
  • Radiation Safety in the Radionuclide Laboratory
  • Biochemistry IV
  • Instruction in Laboratory Animal Science

After the first semester you are entitled to choose your own area of interest (your "focal point programme") among the many topics possible in the wide field of biochemistry. Choice is possible to the extent focal point programmes are offered by the life science community of the RUB, with a guaranteed minimum of three such programmes always being available. At present 6 focal point programmes are offered, reflecting current areas of scientific competence at the RUB:

  • Membrane and Nervous System Biochemistry
  • Biomolecular Chemistry
  • Proteins in Biomedicine
  • Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of Plants and Microorganisms
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biochemistry of Stem Cells

Elective Courses

Elective courses are courses that you will pick yourself from a range of choices. Thus, while you are obliged to pick one of the different offers made for those courses, it is your decision which one to pick. Please note that exams of elective lectures cannot be repeated to improve the grade obtained.
There are four Modular Advanced Practicals scheduled during the first semester. You have to participate in practicals offered by 4 different focal point programmes of your own choice. This will allow you to gain a deeper insight into the research activities going on in a given focal point programme which may be of future interest for you.
At the beginning of the second semester, you have to chose your focal point programme for the remainder of your studies. Chosing your focal point programme means that all future courses during your Master studies will have to be selected from the course offerings of that particular focal point programme. You then should participate in the Lecture Series of that focal point programme, where the supervisors of the specific programme will present and explain to you their own research. In parallel you will be trained in 2 laboratory bench projects ("Advanced Practicals") within a research group of your choice. The research group picked has to be a member of your selected focal point programme (see list of focal point programmes and their members). These advanced practicals are accompanied by 2 Special Lectures that you have to attend and by one Elective Course in Chemistry. In summary, the following elective courses will have to be taken:

  • 4 different Modular Advanced Practicals in the Focal Point Programme
  • 2 Special Lectures in the Focal Point Programme
  • 1 Lecture Series in the Focal Point Programme
  • 2 Advanced Practicals in the Focal Point Programme
  • 1 Elective Course in Chemistry

Altogether, a minimum of 37 credit points have to be earned with research practicals.
The Master`s education concludes with your own Research Practical followed by your own Master`s Research Project/Master`s Thesis where you should learn to plan and perform independent research yourself.

  • Research Practical in the Focal Point Programme
  • Master`s Thesis

Importantly, at the conclusion of your Research Practical in the Focal Point Programme you will have to write a Master Exposé in which you lay out your plans for your Master thesis project, and for which you use the results of your Research Practical in the Focal Point Programme as your preliminary data. This Master Exposé has to be written in the style of a DFG (German Research Council) project application (view details here).

Please note that you need to collect the signatures of all your practical supervisors together with the grades obtained on a form (Master Docket or “Master-Laufzettel”; view form here). You will have to present the completed form together with the Master Exposé to the examination office when you apply for permission to start your Master thesis project.