Faculty of Engineering SciencesMatter to Life – Master

The main focus areas in the subject Matter to Life are molecular systems chemistry and engineering. The subject provides a multidisciplinary education as it comprises not only chemistry but also topics associated with physics, molecular systems, engineering and life sciences.

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 contributions186.35 € / 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 programme Matter to Life (MtL) at Heidelberg University and Göttingen University 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 programme provides students with a multidisciplinary education by integrating foundations from chemistry with aspects from the fields of physics, molecular systems, engineering and biosciences.

The interdisciplinary curriculum focuses on the following scientific areas:

  • Physical chemistry and physics of life 

  • Quantitative analysis of life 

  • Hierarchical combination of molecular and nanoscopic units as the basis of lifelike materials

The aim of the Master’s degree programme Matter to Life is to qualify students for a research-oriented professional career in interdisciplinary and innovative scientific areas. Students learn to incorporate scientific knowledge of formulating and solving complex problems and tasks in universities, other research institutions and industry and gain experience in communicating their expertise in multidisciplinary environments.

Students are enabled to construct and theoretically describe lifelike molecular systems and materials and to apply chemical-physical principles for the description of the nature of complex materials. Students learn to actively shape opinion-forming processes in society in regard to scientific questions and problems and to present own research results and complex facts and situations.


The curriculum of the Master’s degree programme MtL at Heidelberg University and Göttingen University was developed with the aim of overcoming the traditional boundaries between the disciplines. The degree programme extends the students’ basic knowledge acquired in the Bachelor’s programme to include interdisciplinary questions.

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. The second semester culminates with the Master’s examination.

Second year (research phase)
The third and fourth semesters take place in excellent theoretical and/or practical labs with at least two Matter to Life faculty members (each member in the entire Matter to Life network) and end with submission of the Master's thesis.

Students also have the opportunity to move directly to a doctoral programme at the Max-Planck-School programme Matter to Life after submitting their Master's thesis with a Matter to Life lecturer as their supervisor.