M.Sc. Bonn International Graduate School Life & Medical Sciences (LIMES)

University of Bonn

Application deadline: March 31
Tuition fee:
  • Free (EEA)
  • Free (Non-EEA)
Start date: October  2015
Duration full-time: 18 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Full-time

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Emphasis lies on:
* Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry
* Development, Genetics & Molecular Physiology
* Molecular Immune & Cell Biology
* Membrane Biology & Biochemistry

The LIMES Graduate School leads students with a B.Sc. degree in any field of Life Sciences through a M.Sc. phase (1.5 years) directly to doctoral studies (3 years; doctoral degree Dr. rer. nat., German equivalent to PhD). "Diplom" or M.Sc. students are welcome to apply for the doctoral phase of the program. Up to 40 students per year will be admitted to the M.Sc./PhD program. The selection will be based on academic achievements. A common scientific aim of the LIMES Research Groups is to integrate aptamer and small molecule high throughput technologies with biological screening in model organisms (Drosophila, mouse) to study key regulators involved in metabolic processes and diseases such as diabetes, obesity, lipodystrophies or autoimmunity.

Most of the students are integrated into research groups located in the LIMES Biocenter. Some of the participating groups are located at the Medical Campus in Bonn-Venusberg or the Chemistry/Medicinal Chemistry Campus in Bonn-Endenich. Depending on the scientific projects and the research groups involved, selected students may also have the opportunity for short time exchange with research groups of selected partner universities. These include WASEDA University in Tokyo, the National University of Singapore (NUS), and partner universities in the United States and Australia. The chosen universities belong to the top universities in their respective nations and worldwide and our scientific partners in the collaborating departments are eminent scientists in their fields.

Advantages of the Graduate School:

* The Graduate School provides training for students in scientific areas which are highly interdisciplinary and interfacial by covering biology, chemistry and biomedicine.
* A wide range of scientific topics are offered by the researchers of the Graduate School and their interacting local and international partners.
* Students are integrated at an early stage into research groups.
* A mentoring system helps the students to study efficiently, to plan their career in a more focused manner, and to become independent.
* The courses and lectures of the program will take place mostly in one central building, the new building of the LIMES biocenter.
* The Graduate School offers for selected students a highly attractive collaboration and exchange program with our partner Universities thereby allowing students to benefit from the school's international research connections.
* The Graduate School builds up on and extends the undergraduate program Molecular Biomedicine which belongs to the most successful of its kind in Germany; it provides the highly selected 30 students of Molecular Biomedicine with an attractive opportunity to stay on in Bonn for their graduate studies (M.Sc./PhD program).

Special emphasis is placed on an all-round advisory service in both academic and extracurricular activities. The Coordination Office of the graduate school will be closely connected with the already existing supportive infrastructure of the International Office of the University of Bonn. This includes extensive predeparture information as well as assistance and advice for managing day-to-day life in Bonn. A mentoring system helps the students to study efficiently, to plan their career in a more focused manner, and to become independent.


The Master's phase of the program comprises lectures, tutorials, seminars, methods courses, and independent research projects (laboratory rotations). It is an interdisciplinary pre-doctoral training program that prepares students to solve scientific problems through both chemical and biological approaches.

Orientation Phase
This phase starts in September and lasts about three weeks - the aim is to provide orientation help to the students and is given by the Coordination Office of the graduate school and by the International Office.

Methods Courses
During the first months (Oct-Dec) of the program, all students participate in a series of introductory methods courses. They learn fundamental techniques applied in current research and meet members of the participating research groups. The methods courses comprise 18 two-day experiments and are conducted in small groups. Supervision is provided by the Ph.D. students of the program. The aim of this phase is to familiarise the students, with the help of short methods courses, with major techniques applied by the research groups that participate in the graduate school program.

Lab Rotations
Starting in January, every student conducts three research projects (lab rotations) in the participating departments, chosen from different fields. Each project is individually supervised. It involves seven weeks of experimental work, followed by one week of data analysis and a written lab report in the format of a scientific research publication. Results of the first two projects are presented in a seminar.

Lectures and Tutorials
Attendance of lectures (4 hours/week) and tutorials (4 hours/week), which are given by the faculty of the program throughout the first year of the Master's program, is mandatory for students of the Master's phase of the program. Ph.D. students supervise the tutorials in the context of their teaching duties.

Basic and advanced language courses will be offered in German and English by the International Office of the University of Bonn. Furthermore, the Asia centre of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Bonn will offer Asian language and culture training to prepare students for exchange with our Asian partners. All language courses are optional and free of charge for students of the Graduate School. Students will obtain advanced training in Biophysical Chemistry, Biochemistry and Membrane Biology, Organic/Medicinal Chemistry, Chemical Biology, Chemoinformatics and Structural Biology, Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Molecular Physiology and Metabolic control, Genetics, Molecular Immunology and Molecular Pathology. Furthermore, additional training in new techniques, such as biological and chemical combinatorial methods, modelling of protein-ligand and protein-protein interactions, chemical and biological approaches to define interaction of partner molecules in vivo and in vitro, small molecule screening technologies in genetic model organisms (Drosophila, mouse) will be taught.

Master's thesis
The Master's phase is concluded by a six-month Master's thesis which is carried out in the Research Groups of the LIMES Institute or its local partner institutes in the Medical Faculty. In the context of scientific collaborations, selected students may also do their Master's thesis (or parts of it) in one of the international partner institutions. The thesis project involves experimental work under the supervision of a faculty member of the Graduate School.

The degree "Master of Life & Medical Sciences (LIMES)" is conferred if and when the candidate has received the required credits for the first segment of the program, has passed the examinations at the end of the first segment, and successfully completed the Master's thesis. The degree is awarded by the Natural Sciences Faculty of the University of Bonn (Division Molecular Biomedicine).

Excellent students who have passed the Master's phase of the program can be selected to enter the doctoral phase (3 years) of the program.


The principal admission requirement for the Master program is the B.Sc. degree (or equivalent) in the biosciences, biomedicine, medicine, chemistry, or related fields. The bachelor thesis must be graded with ECTS grade A (German grade 1,0 - 1,5).

Applicants who are not native speakers of English should demonstrate adequate competence of the English language by acceptable results on an internationally recognised test (Computer TOEFL 213).
Basic command of the German language is recommended.

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 6
TOEFL paper-based test score : 550

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