Degree focus at Göttingen University

Master’s in Matter to Life: Complex Systems and Biological Physics

Years 1 & 2 of the 5-year B.S.-to-Ph.D. program

The Matter to Life (MtL) program at Göttingen University focuses on the field of Complex Systems and Biological Physics. The physics of complex and biological systems provides concepts and tools, both experimental and theoretical, to address life quantitatively and to investigate the physical and chemical principles that can either enable or constrain the emergence of life or life-like behaviors from inanimate matter.

This program will introduce students to the physical basis of biological systems, modern approaches for analyzing complex systems such as living matter, as well as physical chemistry and bioengineering. The first year of the program is dedicated to a combination of core courses that establish a common ground for all MtL students and specialized courses that are chosen by the students individually based on their interests. In the second year, students will focus on lab rotations and performing laboratory work that will be utilized for a written Master’s thesis.  Students are encouraged to work with more than one fellow from the entire MtL network, including those in locations outside of Göttingen.

The preliminary curriculum for the first year is as follows*:

Core Courses

  • Introduction to Biophysics
  • Introduction to Physics of Complex Systems
  • Physical Chemistry of Life
  • Systems Engineering of Life/Biomolecular Engineering
  • Advanced Statistical Physics
  • Ethics in Synthetic Biology
  • Advanced Complex Systems and Biological Physics
  • Modern Experimental Methods

Specialized courses

  • Soft Matter Physics
  • Biophysics of the Cell
  • Statistical Biophysics
  • Biomolecular Physics and Simulations
  • Micro- and Nanofluidics
  • Computational Neuroscience

In addition to the classes held at Göttingen University, students will participate in the annual summer seminars of the Max Planck School MtL, together with students from the other MtL programs at Heidelberg University and the Technical University of Munich.

After successful completion of a Master’s degree at Göttingen University, PhD candidates will continue the last three years of the program performing research with any of the MtL fellows within the network.  

*This curriculum is subject to change.

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