Faculty of Engineering SciencesMatter to Life – Master

This is a joint Master’s program between Heidelberg University and University of Göttingen, with the courses taught by the Heidelberg faculty focusing on molecular systems chemistry and engineering. Approaching this topic from different perspectives of physics, molecular systems, bioengineering, and life sciences, ensures a unique multidisciplinary education.

Facts & Formalities

DegreeMaster of Science, Joint Degree
Type of programmeConsecutive
Start of programmeWinter semester only
Standard period of study4 semesters
Language(s) of instructionEnglish
Fees and contributions151.05 € / Semester
Application procedureZugangs- und zulassungsbeschränkter Masterstudiengang Matter to life
Application deadlinesInformation about deadlines can be obtained after you have put together a degree program.
Can be completed entirely in EnglishYes


The Master’s degree program, Matter to Life (MtL), at Heidelberg University and University of Göttingen is part of the Max Planck School Matter to Life and focuses on the areas of chemistry and engineering for molecular systems. This joint degree program provides students with a multidisciplinary education by integrating foundations of chemistry with aspects from the fields of physics, molecular systems, engineering and biosciences.

The curriculum focuses on the following scientific areas:

  • Understanding the chemistry and physics of life and of the components of living systems
  • Quantitative analysis of life
  • Engineering of molecular and nanoscopic entities as the basis of life-like materials.

The aim of the Matter to Life program is to prepare students for a research-oriented career in interdisciplinary and innovative scientific areas. Students are given the tools to construct and theoretically describe life-like molecular systems and components, and to apply chemical-physical principles for describing the nature of complex materials. Students further learn to formulate and solve complex problems and tasks in different set ups such as universities, research institutions and industry, and thereby, gain experience in communicating their findings and expertise in diverse environments.


The curriculum of the Matter to Life at Heidelberg University and Göttingen University was developed with the aim of overcoming the traditional boundaries between the disciplines. The degree program builds on the students’ basic knowledge acquired during their Bachelor’s program and expands it to interdisciplinary concepts in the context of Matter to Life. All lectures and course work are conducted by the faculty of MtL Fellows.

First year
The first semester focuses on basic Master’s level knowledge in chemistry, physics and the biology of living systems including physical chemistry, quantitative analysis, physics of complex systems, biophysics and ethics in synthetic biology.

In the second semester, the emphasis is on the chemistry of molecular systems and the technical approaches to biological problems including macromolecular structures and functions, chemical biology, bioconjugation, imaging in chemistry, genome research, synthetic cells and virology. Periodic examinations, that include both written and oral parts, are conducted to track progress of the students.

Second year (research phase)
The third and fourth semesters take place in research settings wherein students learn by working in the labs of at least two Matter to Life faculty members, and ends with submission of their Master's thesis.

Students also have the opportunity to move directly to a PhD program at the Max Planck School Matter to Life after successful completion of their Master’s with a Matter to Life Fellow as their supervisor.