M.Sc. Fokus Life Sciences


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

The program features the leading Life Sciences expertise at the University of Würzburg under the auspices of the Faculty of Biology. It also includes the other natural science Faculties of Physics as well as Chemistry & Pharmacy. Relevant research groups at the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Psychology are also included. The program is designed to be a fast track program that leads to a Ph.D. project within the Graduate School of Life Sciences and comprises all of the above-mentioned faculties.

A strong foundation in the natural sciences (physics, chemistry, biology) and substantial experimental research experience is essential for joining the program.

The program

  • Comprises more than 300 research groups organized in the Graduate School of Life Sciences,
  • Offers a strictly research-oriented curriculum, and
  • Provides an entry point for a research career in academia or industry.

The Idea

The master's program "FOKUS Life Sciences" is a very comprehensive, interdisciplinary and fast track preparation for performing a Ph.D. project at the Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS), University of Würzburg.

Available research topics for the master's program as well as for the subsequent Ph.D. are clustered in the sections of Biomedicine, Integrative Biology, Infection and Immunity, and Neuroscience, comprising more than 300 research groups.

The master's program FOKUS Life Sciences thus bundles the leading Life Sciences expertise in Würzburg under the auspices of the faculty of Biology, including the other faculties participating in the Graduate School of Life Sciences: Physics, Chemistry & Pharmacy, Medicine and Psychology.

A bachelor's degree in biology, biochemistry, biomedicine, pharmacy, bioinformatics, biotechnology, or other natural science programs can be the basis to apply.

Substantial laboratory experience, most likely in the form of an experimental Bachelor thesis, is required. Please note that a prior education and training in medical programs is NOT considered sufficient (exceptions may apply if substantial practical research experience in basic science can be demonstrated).

The prospective students have finished their BSc (or are close to completion) and

  • Have an excellent theoretical knowledge
  • Want to enter research and a doctoral thesis project as quickly as possible without omitting the MSc degree
  • Are willing and able to take a high workload
  • Want to study in a highly international class of peers with English as the teaching language
  • Are keen on working in a highly interdisciplinary environment

Please mind the following. This is not the right study program for you if

  • Your main career goal is an MSc degree,
  • You are mainly looking for any study program taught in English,
  • You have only a basic education in the natural sciences: study programs that have a mostly technical/applied content such as nursing, laboratory technology, industrial biotechnology, fisheries science, etc., are not a sufficient prerequisite to apply. Neither are medical/veterinary programs unless substantial experimental research experience can be proven,
  • You lack experimental research experience (practical courses are not equivalent to research).

Program content

  • Modules,
  • Master Thesis,
  • Doctoral study program

The Study Program

Term 1

Lecture series "Topics and Concepts in Life Sciences" and Methods in Life Sciences" (10 ECTS each)

The lectures provide first-hand insight into ongoing research, covering the most advanced methods, model organisms, and current research topics. They are taught by principal investigators who are also members of the Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS).

Lab-course "Methods in Life Sciences" (10 ECTS)

The lab courses will take place within the research labs of any of the >170 GSLS members.

Candidates averaging a mark of 1.7 (B+) or better in the first term may immediately proceed to the MSc Thesis in the second term. All others will continue taking courses in the second and third term, before finishing their MSc program with a thesis in the 4th term.

Term 2 and following

The thesis project (25 ECTS) will take place in one of the laboratories of the >300 participating research groups. If the thesis is evaluated with 1.3 (A-) or better, candidates may directly proceed to a doctoral project.

The thesis defense (5 ECTS) and the other remaining 60 ECTS credit points may then be obtained in parallel with doctoral research. This is facilitated by earning credits for program elements which are anyhow obligatory during the doctoral study program, such as special lectures and courses provided by the different GSLS sections (program). The figure below depicts this course of events.

Alternatively, students may regularly finish the MSc study program in four semesters without a doctoral project in parallel.

Admission Requirements

  • In order to be admitted, by the time of admission (not application!), you must have finished a BSc study program of at least three years with an equivalent of 180 credit points according to ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). If you apply from outside Europe, your BSc study program will be considered as equal but will be evaluated for equivalence in case of doubt.
  • If you have not yet finished your BSc at the time of application, you need to provide documents that prove that you have completed 5/6 of your regular study program (e.g., 150 of 180 ECTS credit points in European study programs).
  • Your BSc program must be in biology or at least have a special emphasis/specialization/major in some aspect of the life sciences and natural sciences (e.g., biophysics, biotechnology, pharmacology, etc.) that comprises practical research experience through working in a natural science laboratory. Please note that study programs that have mostly technical or applied content, such as nursing, laboratory technology, industrial biotechnology, fisheries science, agriculture, and similar programs, are not a sufficient prerequisite to apply. Medical education is also not a sufficient prerequisite unless experimental research experience can be proven.
  • International English Language Test System (IELTS) with a score of at least 6.5 or similar other tests.


International students can apply to numerous organizations for a scholarship, for example to the DAAD, to party-related foundations or business-affiliated institutions. You can find information on the various types of scholarships in the DAAD scholarship database, along with suitable offers.

Last updated Apr 2020

About the School

The Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU), founded in 1402, is one of the universities in the German-speaking world that have a long and rich tradition. Numerous famous scholars and scientists ... Read More

The Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU), founded in 1402, is one of the universities in the German-speaking world that have a long and rich tradition. Numerous famous scholars and scientists have made their mark here, such as Carl Siebold, Rudolf Virchow, and Franz Brentano. So far, 14 Nobel laureates have conducted their research here, including Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, who discovered X-rays at Würzburg. In 1985, the physicist Klaus von Klitzing received this distinction for his discovery of the quantum Hall effect. Harald zur Hausen was given the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2008 for discovering that viruses trigger cervical cancer. More than 28,000 students, including some 2,300 young people from abroad, are registered with ten faculties. These can be divided into four main areas: Humanities, Law and Economics, Life Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Technology. The university and its hospital provide employment for 10,000 people. Around 3,000 are on the academic staff, more than 400 as professors. Read less
Würzburg , Beijing + 1 More Less