How does the brain work? Significant progress has been made in the field of cellular and molecular neuroscience and modern in vivo techniques have revolutionised non-invasive observation of brain activity even in humans. Today's challenges lie in understanding the brain as a complex functioning system and many problems remain to be solved. For example, we still cannot explain how information processed in parallel pathways within one sensory modality (as in the visual or auditory system) is fused into the complex object we perceive, such as a face or particular voice.
Based on their teaching and research expertise, the members of our teaching faculty, which includes members of the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences (GSN) and guest lecturers from external institutions, believe that the overwhelming complexity of the human brain can only be explained by applying different approaches and methods of the disciplines in neuroscience. Thus, our programme constantly works on educating a new generation of neuroscientists starting at the level of graduate students. With an excellent understanding of the molecular, cellular and systemic principles of neurobiology, our students acquire a deeper knowledge of neuron-neuron interaction, the dynamics of neuron-glia interaction, rules of information transfer in simple and complex circuits of single brain centres, interaction of different brain centres, and the function of the human brain. This educational concept can be seen reflected in the curriculum.
The Master's programme is supported by the Elite Network of Bavaria (ENB).
Educational organisation1. General education: The educational programme is based on four main scientific topics, that of systems neurobiology, molecular and cellular neurobiology, computational neuroscience and neurophilosophy. Our curriculum provides the students with a profound understanding of the biological principles in brain structure and neuron-neuron communication before broadening the scope towards cognition and higher brain functions, computational methods and philosophical aspects in neurosciences. The main portion of the general education takes place in the first two semesters of study.
2. Individual research training: Each semester the student has to complete an individual research project. This will guarantee hands-on research training from the very beginning and gives students the opportunity to become acquainted with participating laboratories and researchers. In addition to the mandatory general courses, students can choose from a broad spectrum of methods and interdisciplinary courses.
3. Transferable skills: Our educational concept would not be complete without training of complementary skills, which supplement our core curriculum and help to optimally prepare students for their future career goals. In their second year, our students obtain first-hand teaching experience (and credits). In addition to a scientific education, the Master's programme includes modular workshops on academic transferable skills such as communication training, presentation skills, scientific writing, and time management.
4. Mentoring: Each student has his or her own mentor from the GSN faculty. The mentors serve as academic advisers, helping students plan their educational career and facilitate contacts in collaborating institutions. In informal meetings, a student has an excellent opportunity to discuss problems, receive guidance or have an informative scientific chat.
Study abroad unit(s)Institutional and financial support is available for students interested in research internships abroad.
InternshipsDuring the programme, students are required to complete individual practical work within a project of ongoing research for about 6 to 8 weeks. The student chooses from a wide variety of projects within the framework of the GSN faculty or external institutions. Our curriculum requires a total of three research projects and one laboratory internship before starting the Master's thesis project. Research projects give students the opportunity to explore different fields of neuroscience before deciding upon an area of study for the Master's thesis.
Forms of assessmentWritten and oral exams, scientific protocols, oral presentations, or essays
Course objectivesThe essential question in modern neurosciences is to understand how the human brain is functioning on all levels, from molecules to cognition. In order to approach these questions, neuroscience researchers and thinkers develop and use a wide spectrum of experimental and analytical methods from a broad variety of disciplines. As the techniques and analyses are becoming more interdisciplinary, the increasing demand for academics with an interdisciplinary and integrative educational background is not surprising. Based on its strong history and today's proficient expertise in neurosciences, Munich is by all measures worldwide one of the most important centres for neurosciences and thus, an important international site for interdisciplinary research and education in the field.
The programme at the GSN provides basic and individual teaching concepts for Master students with an educational background not only in neurosciences, but also from other related fields, such as life sciences, maths, physics, computational sciences, engineering, and also philosophy (which is unique in the field of neuroscience degree programmes).
Language requirementsEnglish is the lingua franca of the programme for both instruction and research, thus a good command of English is required for participation.
Academic requirementsApplicants for the ENB MSc Programme in Neurosciences must hold a Bachelor's or equivalent degree in biology, psychology, medical sciences, bioinformatics, engineering, physics, computer sciences, philosophy, or a related field.