The brain represents one of the most challenging frontiers in science. While the precise function and inner working of other organs is well known, the brain – the organ that allows us to feel, think and act – remains very poorly understood. Not suprisingly, without a thorough scientific base, treatments for disturbances of higher brain functions, such as dementia or other psychiatric disorders, remain speculative and ineffective. At the same time, new technological advances in molecular biology, genetics, imaging and data sciences are revolutionizing the way we can investigate the brain. Such new technology allow to obtain complete molecular inventories (‚omics‘), monitor and record the activity of large numbers of neurons while an organism acts, and emulate brain processes in increasingly sophisticated and ‚intelligent‘ models. Neuroscience is therefore a very quickly developing field that is still in its infancy: great discoveries lie ahead.
The aim of our MSc program »Biomedical Neuroscience« is to provide students with the interdisciplinary tools required to be part of these future discoveries in all areas of modern neuroscience: a broad spectrum that spans from systems neuroscience to disease-related research in neurology or psychiatry, and encompasses everything in between.
Our M.Sc. program is part of the TUM School of Medicine, is funded by the Elite Network of Bavaria and is closely linked to the Excellence Cluster SyNergy. We are looking for highly motivated graduates holding a B.Sc. or an equivalent 3-year degree in the natural, data, life or physical sciences, but also medical or cognitive sciences.
Our M.Sc. is a small (approximately 15 students) interdisciplinary program with experts from the basic neurosciences, as well as from neurology, neuropathology and psychiatry. The curriculum covers all levels of neuroscience from molecules to systems. The small size of the program allows us to emphasize individualized academic and career mentoring.
We strongly believe in learning-by-doing and that science is taught in the lab, not in the classroom. Students are therefore assigned, from day one, to faculty labs, and can flexibly choose a number of lab assignments as part of their training. At the same time, we provide in-depth theory and practice classes on all aspects of neuroscience to account for the diverse background of our students, with special focus on programming, data analysis and transferable skills training, mostly in a flexible flipped-classroom format. The primary aim is to prepare you for a PhD, e.g. in one of our collaborating PhD programs, which can be accessed via a special ‘PhD transition track’ – or for a career in industry and biotech.
- Type of Degree: Master of Science
- Standard Duration of Studies: 4 semesters, full-time study
- Credits: 120 ECTS
- Costs per Semester: semester fee or from WS 23/24 tuition fees for students from non-EU countries
- Main Locations: TUM School of Medicine and Health, Munich
- Language: English
- Start of Degree Program: only in Winter Semester (October)
- Annual Application Period: 01.01. - 31.05.
- Admission Category: Aptitude Assessment for Master
- Experiment-based scientific education
- Personalized mentorship
- International exchange program
- High-level scientific training
- Integrated doctoral training opportunities
Structure of the course and curriculum overview
The Elite-Master program Biomedical Neuroscience offers an excellent scientific training to get a top-level understanding of neuroscience theory and practice, as well as on neuropsychiatric disorders. It fills the gap between standard medical education and natural science curricula. The curriculum offers cutting-edge training in biomedical neuroscience conveyed by innovative didactical teaching methods. The curriculum is modularly structured to convey three types of overreaching competences:
1. Scientific Theory & Reasoning (6 modules)
2. Scientific Skills & Practice (7 modules incl. extensive lab time)
3. Transferable Skills & Professional Competence (3 modules incl. colloquium)
In the first two semesters teaching is mainly offered as theoretical lectures and hands-on courses (italicised), followed by subscribed scientific projects in the laboratories of the participating institutes. After the fourth semester the program ends with the experimental master's project and the written thesis. By the extensive lab time an early integration into the research environment of the participating institutes is achieved. A detailed description of the curriculum and of each module can be found in the course documentation.
Molecular Neuroscience 5 Credits
Cellular Neuroscience 5 Credits
Neuroanatomy and Neuropathology 5 Credits
Mol. biology and -omics approaches 5 Credits
Microscopy of nervous system structure 5 Credits
Computational analysis and modelling 2.5 Credits
Scientific practice 1 Credit
Life & Science 1.5 Credits
Lab visit I 1 Credit
Systems and behavior 5 Credits
Pathophysiology of circuits and systems 5 Credits
Nervous system disorders and treatment 5 Credits
Computational analysis and modelling 2.5 Credits
Neuroimaging and electrophysiology 5 Credits
Scientific practice 1 Credit
Life & Science 1.5 Credits
Lab visit II 1 Credit
Lab visits III-IV 2 Credits
Lab rotation I-II 24 Credits
Qualifying colloquium 2 Credits
Master thesis and colloquium 30 Credits
Career opportunities after graduation
The graduate skills profile includes a comprehensive understanding of the function and structure of the brain, from molecules and cells to large circuits, behaviour and the mechanisms and treatment strategies of various neuropsychiatric disorders. Due to their laboratory internships and hands-on scientific work, graduates will be familiar with the most important technologies for basic and clinical research and their capabilities in the field of neuroscience. In addition, graduates will be able to analyse scientific data and to apply appropriate statistical tests. With their interdisciplinary knowledge, graduates have a broad neuro-biomedical expertise that bridges the usual gap between the standard medical training and the curricula of natural science. They are ideal candidates for one of the many PhD programmes offered in the field of biomedical neuroscience. In addition, both traditional pharmaceutical companies and start-up companies are looking for graduates with an in-depth understanding of basic and translational neuroscience.
Academic Requirements – Who can apply?
To be eligible to apply for the M.Sc. Biomedical Neuroscience, you will require a bachelor's degree or an equivalent degree from a university that is rated H+ at anabin in the field of natural sciences such as e.g. Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Medicine, Physics or an equivalent degree program. Depending on the modules completed within their study program, applicants with undergraduate degrees in Psychology, Health Science, Chemistry etc. may be eligible to apply as well. In addition, applicants, who have completed at least five years of medical studies and have passed the second part of the state examination in medicine or veterinary medicine will be accepted, too.
For the M.Sc. Biomedical Neuroscience important specific qualifications are completed modules in the subjects of mathematics, physics, statistics, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology and immunology. When you apply, the modules completed during your bachelor's degree will be evaluated. For more information about the application process see below.
Required documents for the application
The following documents are required by applicants for the assessment process. The documents can only be submitted until the end of the application deadline. As long as these documents have not been submitted to the admissions office, your application will not be assessed (see below for exceptions)! If you have questions concerning the required application documents, please contact the Student Information Team.
- Application Form:
The application form will be automatically generated at the end of the online application process through TUMonline. You need to print it, sign it, and upload it to TUMonline to complete your online application.
- Degree Certificate / Diploma or Subject and Grade Transcript From Previous Studies:
Degree Certificate means your final transcript of records/final transcript of grades. It usually contains your overall grade, academic title as well as the grade and topic of the bachelor’s or master’s thesis. If you have already graduated, please upload this document to the online application form. Otherwise, please submit your latest transcript of records. Your overall grade (CGPA) and the grading system should be clearly visible. After you receive admission to a program, we require a notarized hardcopy for enrollment. This also applies to applicants with a VPD by uni-assist. If the original document was not issued in German or English, you have to submit a notarized copy of the translated document (to German or English) as well. However, it is not sufficient to submit the translation only. For our master's degrees, you must hand in this document until five weeks after the start of the second semester, providing that you submitted a transcript of records within the designated application period. If you wish to use your degree certificate as proof of your language skills, you necessarily need to submit it by the end of the application period for a program (see below).
- Second State Examination in Medicine or Veterinary Medicine:
Proof of completed state examination in a medical degree program, if applicable.
Preliminary evaluation by uni-assist for graduate certificates (i.e. a bachelor's degree) obtained in a country outside of the EU/EEA:
Applicants who have obtained their qualification for postgraduate studies (i.e. a bachelor's degree) in a country outside of the EU/EEA are required to have their application documents proofed before submission by the University Application Service for International Students (uni-assist e.V.). Uni-assist will issue a VPD (Preliminary Documentation) certificate, which determines whether applicants qualify for postgraduate studies in Germany. Applicants with a qualification for postgraduate studies obtained in Switzerland do not need a preliminary evaluation. To apply for this preliminary evaluation, please submit your documents to uni-assist e.V within the relevant application period. Please make sure to send your preliminary evaluation to TUM as soon as you receive it. Verification of your documents with uni-assist does not qualify as an application for TUM. You will need to apply to TUM via TUMonline before the relevant application deadline. We may require additional documents depending on the type of secondary school diploma you earned and your country of origin (e.g. GRE, GATE, APS). TUM special regulations for the following countries: Bangladesh, China, Georgia, India, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Vietnam.
More helpful information and a step-by-step guide can be found here: https://www.tum.de/en/studies/application/application-info-portal/uni-assist
In case you do not have a final VPD by the end of the application deadline but are waiting for uni-assist to process it, you can confirm to TUM that you have applied for it. Otherwise, your application cannot be processed. Therefore, submit the filled confirmation form that the application for a preliminary review documentation by uni-assist has been submitted in due form and time and upload the PDF document to your online application form. It serves as a placeholder until you can upload the final VPD and will be assigned the status "not OK" which simply means you still have to replace the document with the final VPD as soon as you have it. The form ‘Confirmation Application VPD’ can be downloaded here.
Proof of English Language Proficiency:
You need sufficient English language skills if you wish to apply for this program. Evidence of your language proficiency confirms that you comply with the minimum language requirements for admission to the program and has to be submitted before the end of the application period. Please note that you’ll always have to submit proof of your sufficient language skills along with the other required application documents, even if the testing institute has already sent your results to TUM directly. Please upload the PDF document to your online application form.
Recognized English Language Certificates for our program are:
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum of 88 points
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum of 6,5 points
- Cambridge Main Suite of English Examinations: CAE (Cambridge Advanced English) with Grades A, B, C or CPE (Cambridge Proficiency English) with Grades A, B, C
If 10 credits were obtained in English modules during your undergraduate studies, adequate proficiency in English is deemed proven. Therefore, you need to submit your transcript of records or your degree certificate as evidence, as well as the form for proof of English proficiency via credits in a prior degree program.
- Transcript of Records:
This document can be obtained from the institution at which you last studied. It lists all modules you have passed as well as the pertaining credits and the examination grades that were awarded. The original transcript must bear a seal and signature. Printouts or other unofficial transcripts are not sufficient, even if submitted as originals! Please do not submit any documents from the Upper-Secondary School, as only successful passed modules during a bachelor program are considered for evaluation. Please upload this document as PDF to the online application form. After you receive admission to a program, we require a notarized hardcopy for enrollment.
Letter of Motivation:
The letter of motivation / cover letter must be written by the applicants themselves. It should describe your academic and personal motivation for your choice of degree program. Any references to the work of others used in your work must be duly cited.
The layout requirements are: one page, DIN A4 or letter format, if available, 12pt, single spacing. You should clearly state your motivation, why you want to come to TUM, why you are interested in Neuroscience in general and in the Biomedical Neuroscience program in particular. In addition, state why you think you are qualified and why we should select you for the program. You should also describe your background, i.e., your education, university projects and extracurricular activities. The letter of motivation has to be written in English, even if you speak German. Please upload your Letter of Motivation as PDF to the online application form.
- Complete and Current Résumé (CV):
Submit an up-to-date version of your CV and make sure your education, projects, and professional experience are clearly stated. The ideal length of the CV is between one and two but max. three pages. Please your CV as PDF to the online application form.
Application process and aptitude assessment procedure
Detailed information on the application requirements and the procedure for our master’s program in specific are given in the following sections. Helpful information regarding the application at TUM provide the following links:
- Video Guide: Online Application
- Applying for a master’s Program at TUM
- Application and Admission for International Students: General information for international students.
- Application Info Portal: Further information on what you need to know about application and admission to TUM - From A as in Admission Requirements to U as in uni-assist.
Please as well take a look at the summary of FAQs, as they contain relevant information.
Applications for the winter semester intake are being accepted as of January 1st of the respective year. The final application deadline for all applicants (including non-EU students) is May 31st. We strongly recommend students who require a visa to study in Germany (most non-EU students) to apply as early as possible (March). We expect to finalize admission decisions for these applications until May 31st, so that prospective students will not have any problems with obtaining a visa.
1. ONLINE APPLICATION
First, you will have to create an online account for the online application in TUMonline . Please read the details on how to fill out an online application carefully. Only one account is permitted per person. You can apply for as many programs as you like with your one application account. If you make any mistakes whilst filling in the details and the system won’t allow to correct them, please contact the TUM IT Support. We cannot accept submissions of the online application documents via e-mail, fax, scan etc.
Please note to select ‘Elite Master’s program’ as Type of Study and ‘Master of Science (Elite graduate program)’ as Intended degree.
After completing the online application process, you will receive a list of documents you must submit to TUM by the application deadline. If you have questions concerning the required application documents, please contact the Student Service Centre.
Once you have sent your online application and uploaded all required documents, your application will be reviewed. After verification of the information and documents you provided, we will contact you by e-mail. If there are any incorrect documents, we will inform you about how to proceed. As soon as your application has been processed, you will either receive an invitation to the aptitude assessment or a letter of rejection. All relevant updates are sent to you by e-mail, so be sure to check your inbox and your spam folder regularly.
Please note that the verification of all individual documents and the status update in TUMonline can take considerable time. We ask that you refrain from inquiries about the status of individual documents, as this delays the processing of applications.You can check the status of your application at any time in your TUMonline applicant account. If you have any questions, the TUM Service Desk and the Student Information are happy to help.
2. APTITUDE ASSESSMENT PROCEDURE AND THE SCORING SYSTEM
Our assessment process comprises two stages. In stage 1 your bachelor's grade, your letter of motivation and your subject-specific qualifications during the bachelor's program are examined and assigned with points. Here, you can achieve a maximum of 30 points.
CRITERIA FOR STAGE 1:
- Subject-specific qualifications: subjects completed within the bachelor’s degree: Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, Inorganic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Physiology, Immunology. The admission committee will compare the subjects listed in your transcript of records to the specific ones for our master’s program. You will receive one point for each course taken, with a maximum of 10 points.
- Final grade of (bachelor) diploma: GPA of bachelor’s degree are scored with our scoring system. The grade will be converted using the "Bavarian Formula" (TUM Grade Conversion Tool). Here, you can again achieve a maximum of 10 points for the best grade 1.0, 9 points for 1.1 etc.
- Letter of Motivation: scored with a maximum of 10 points.
Applicants having successfully passed the first stage (20 points and above) will receive an invitation to an online interview in stage 2. It will usually take about 30 minutes and will be conducted via Zoom.
CRITERIA FOR STAGE 2:
- Evaluation of the applicant’s special motivation and commitment for studying Biomedical Neuroscience as outlined in the applicant’s Letter of Motivation for stage 1.
- Academic qualification: basic theoretical and problem based/applied questions from the field of natural science fundamentals will be asked to assess the applicant’s academic abilities.
- Presentation of the scientific hypothesis, methodology and achieved outcomes of the applicant’s final (Bachelor) dissertation.
A minimum of 2 members of the assessment commission will conduct the interview. Each above-mentioned criterion of stage 2 will be scored by each member with a maximum of 15 points. The total score will be the mean from both single assessments. The total score will consist of the sum of all scores from stage 2 plus the sum of all scores from stage 1. Applicants, who receive a score of more than 30 points for both assessment stages will be accepted to the master’s program. Each application will be assessed individually.
You will be enrolled at TUM as soon as you have:
- received an offer of admission and have accepted it,
- all documents (see list of documents in TUMonline) have been received by us in due time, are fully processed and marked as correct in your TUMonline account,
- you have transferred your semester fee in due time.
Registration for courses is only possible after complete enrollment. Also, the services for students (e.g., university library, cafeteria, semester ticket, etc.) can only be used once enrollment has been completed.
What grade point average (GPA) do I need to apply for the master’s program BmN?
There is no specific GPA requirement for our M.Sc. BmN program. The offer of admission is based on several factors, and the grades play a certain part.
Will a bachelor’s degree from my university be accepted by TUM?
If your university is rated H+ on anabin, your degree will most likely be accepted. If you are unsure, please ask the Student Service Centre.
I missed the deadline. Can I still apply?
No. The TUMonline application form will be closed automatically after May 31 at midnight (CEST). Hence, it is technically impossible to accept any applications submitted after the deadline.
Why are non-EU Applicants encouraged to apply earlier (March vs. May Deadline)?
Based on our experience regarding student visa issues, we recommend all non-EU applicants to apply as early as possible, ideally before March. The final deadline for applications (EU as well as non-EU Applicants) is May 31. Because of mailing delays in many countries, international applicants should mail their applications at least 30 days before the application deadline.
My language test score (e.g. TOEFL) is too low. Can I still get admission?
A language proficiency certificate with sufficient score is mandatory to apply. Without sufficient language ability and scores, you cannot apply for the program.
Can I use an older language test with sufficient score to prove my English skills?
Older recognized language certificates will also be accepted if they are uploaded as PDF. Temporary validity stated on certificates is not relevant for applications to TUM. The regulations regarding minimum grades also apply to older language certificates. In case of doubt, TUM reserves the right to request verification.
Can I reuse my VPD which was issued by uni-assist.de a year ago?
Yes, we accept every VPD which was issued for TUM. The date it was issued on as well as the given expiration date are not relevant when applying to TUM. But please note, that it is not possible to use a bachelor-VPD when applying for a master’s and vice versa, because the VPD for a application for a bachelor’s degree and the VPD for an application for a master’s degree are completely different documents! In addition, the VPD must be issued specifically for TUM.
I am currently a Master student in another program (at TUM or another university). Can I switch to M.Sc. BmN and transfer my credits?
Even if you already are a master student, you’ll have to complete the application process for the master’s program like every applicant and you’ll be able to commence the program in the winter semester only. Upon enrollment, you may apply for recognition of your master’s degree courses. This is only possible for those courses that are considered identical to the respective courses in M.Sc. BmN. It is up to the respective professor to decide on whether your request will be accepted. Please do not ask whether any of your courses will be recognized before you enroll into M.Sc. BmN!
I speak German. Can I submit my motivation letter in German, or can the interview be held in German?
Since the M.Sc. Biomedical Neuroscience program is taught in English, proficiency of the English language is mandatory. Therefore, your motivation letter has to be written in English and the interview will be conducted in English, as well.
Can I send my application documents via e-mail?
We do not accept any application documents sent via e-mail. All documents have to be uploaded in TUMonline or sent as either originals or certified/notarized copies.