Matter to Life

Master of Science (M.Sc.)

Explore how the interplay of biological building blocks can generate life and how to replicate life-like systems. Combine new technologies by learning-by-doing and creatively use biological substances to gain new insights and invent applications in the life sciences.

Fakultät für Physik


Art des Studiums
  • Vollzeit
  • 4 (Vollzeit)
Credits Hauptstandorte

Wintersemester: 01.09. – 01.12.

Art der Zulassung Beginn des Studiums
  • Nur zum Wintersemester möglich
Kosten Erforderlicher Sprachnachweis

Infos zum Studium

The program is part of the Max Planck School Matter to Life. This internationally oriented project comprises cooperating master's programs at three different university locations, supported by German research institutes by a network of more than 40 renowned scientists: Max-Planck School.

Matter to Life covers areas such as bionanotechnology and synthetic biology. In bionanotechnology, for example, synthetic nanoblocks from biomaterials are used to create molecular machines. These could one day be nanomachines that can move independently, have catalytic activity, or exert mechanical forces. Or imagine a few nanometer transport shuttles that can target cancer cells in a targeted manner. Synthetic biology deals with the challenge of manipulating biological systems on the scale of cells or cell networks in such a way that completely new functions emerge from them. Bacterial strains could then run mathematical programs, such as counting to ten. Or one day they would be able to make completely new raw materials and medicines, or to recycle waste. Another goal is to create life-like minimal systems from individual building blocks. Thus, for example, artificial cells could be generated that can reproduce or move themselves. Another area of synthetic biology, DNA computing, explores the programmability of DNA with the vision of using DNA as a new storage medium and programmable biomaterial for the creation of biological computing machines. Another goal is to quantitatively describe and model biological systems in order to make reliable predictions about the behavior of biological systems. From the modeling of living and life-like systems, a completely new approach to the central question of what constitutes living systems can be deduced. In this way, a deeper understanding of biological processes for basic research can be made possible.

See also:

The master's program is a consecutive, four-semester course that can be started annually in the winter semester. Admission to the degree program is via a suitability procedure.

The aim of the program is to promote students' independent and creative thinking. In the area of Matter to Life, this knowledge can best be conveyed in a learning-by-doing approach directly at the laboratory bench while working on a scientific question. The proportion of modules that provide practical work in the laboratory, in addition to basic knowledge-imparting lectures, therefore comprises 65 percent of the total services, with a total of 78 credits.

In order to get acquainted with exploratory research, the students bring 18 credits for the practical module Matter to Life: Explorative Research in the first two semesters. This newly designed module has the goal to encourage the students in their own initiative for a creative approach to scientific issues. Groups of three to four people over a period of two semesters can work flexibly on a research proposal from the field of Matter to Life. Here, the groups themselves are involved in the formulation of their own topic, which is generally chosen so that an explorative approach is necessary to approach the topic. The topics pick up on current developments in the Matter to Life area and formulate innovative ideas for new applications.

See also:

Required language skills for admission:

You need sufficient English language skills if you wish to apply for this program. Evidence of your language proficiency has to be submitted before the end of the application deadline. Learn more about recognized certificates and other ways to prove your language skills.

This evidence of your language proficiency confirms that you comply with the minimum language requirements for admission to the program. Depending on the program and your individual background, it may be necessary for you to keep working on your language skills during your studies. Be sure to take a look at the services of our Language Center.  

Language of instruction:

The language of instruction for this program is English.

Continue direct track into Matter To Life PhD research.

Bewerbung und Zulassung

Minimum requirements to apply for a Master's program at TUM are a recognized undergraduate degree (e.g. a bachelor’s) and the successful completion of the aptitude assessment procedure. Aptitude assessment allows the TUM school or department to which you are applying the opportunity to evaluate your individual talents and motivation for study.

During the application period, you must apply through the TUMonline application portal and upload your application documents.

If you receive an offer of admission, you will additionally have to submit individual documents as notarized hardcopies by post to be enrolled.

Generally, applicants with a qualification for postgraduate studies (e.g. a bachelor’s) obtained outside of the EU / EEA must have their documents reviewed in advance through uni-assist.

In detail:

We may require additional documents depending on the type of educational background you earned and your country of origin. After accepting an offer of admission in TUMonline, you will receive a list of documents you must submit to TUM in hardcopy for enrollment.

Application period for winter semester: 01.09. – 01.12.

Information about applying for a higher subject semester

Our online application portal TUMonline will create an application form and a checklist with the documents you have to hand in. The checklist shows which documents you need for admission and which for enrollment.

You must submit the signed application form and all documents you need for admission before the application deadline.

Please also submit the documents we need for your enrollmentas soon as possible. If individual documents for enrollment are not available to you yet, you can hand them in up to five weeks after the start of the lecture period. However, we recommend that you submit all required documents well before the semester begins, as you will not be enrolled until all documents have been received.

Please check your TUMonline account regularly, to see if we have any queries to your documents or if you have to amend one or more documents.

Selection takes place through an aptitude assessment procedure. Aptitude assessment is a two-part procedure after the submission of an official application to a program. In this procedure, the TUM school or department determines whether you meet the specific requirements for its master’s degree program.

In the initial stages, the grades you obtained during your bachelor's program, as well as your written documents, will be evaluated using a point system. Depending on the amount of points accumulated, applicants are either immediately admitted, rejected or invited to an admissions interview.

In detail:

The online application process takes place through our application portal TUMonline.

Wie kann es nach dem Studiengang weitergehen?

You have earned your master’s degree and are ready to start your career? TUM Alumni & Career can assist you with questions regarding professional orientation, job search and job application.

If you are interested in continuing your studies,  you will find information of doctoral studies at TUM, here.