The curriculum of the MSc Integrated Life Sciences is research-oriented and closely connected to current research in the participating research groups at FAU and the Max-Planck-Institute (MPI) for the Physics of Light. Building on a solid foundation in biology, physics, and mathematics, it intensifies training in selected biophysical methods in small groups of 2-6 students, and through cutting-edge research in the master’s thesis during the second year of the master program.

Within the first year of the 2-year master program in Integrated Life Sciences, students select two out of these three module groups:

  • Mathematical Modeling and Systems Biology
  • Bioimaging and Biophysics
  • Biological Structures and Processes

Each of these subjects is associated with mandatory and elective theoretical courses and advanced hands-on trainings. The master thesis in an active research environment in the second year completes the master program. In total, 120 ECTS are required for the successful completion of the Master in Integrated Life Sciences.

Every student selects a mentor at the beginning of the master program. The chosen study program needs to be approved by the mentor.

During the second year, the students perform an independent research project within one of the participating research groups at the University or the collaborating Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Light.


Within the first year of the Master program in Integrated Life Sciences the students take courses from two of the three module groups (each 30 ECTS):

  • Mathematical Modeling and Systems Biology
  • Bioimaging and Biophysics
  • Biological Structures and Processes

During the second year, education in one of these focal areas is intensified in lectures, seminars, or hands-on trainings, followed by a research-driven master thesis.

Schedule of MSc ILS

Schedule of MSc ILS

Apart from the mandatory modules, the students select further elective modules from the two chosen module groups, summing up to 40 ECTS for one module group and 30 ECTS for the second module group. The list of offered modules is updated every year and kept up-to-date in the Module Handbook of the ILS Master. In the following, the mandatory modules (bold face) as well as some of the elective modules are listed:

Module Group 1: Mathematical Modeling and Systems Biology

  • Biomathematics
  • Metabolic Networks, Spatial Modeling of Metabolic Processes, Partial Differential Equations for Life Sciences, Complex Systems, Bioanalytics

Module Group 2: Bioimaging and Biophysics

  • Bioimaging & Biophysics A + B
  • Advanced Optics, Mathematical Image Processing, Biological Physics, Molecular Neurophysiology, Confocal Light Microscopy

Module Group 3: Biological Structures and Processes

  • Interaction of Biological Macromolecules A + B
  • Structural Biology, X-ray and Neutron Scattering, Ion Transport and Signal Transduction, Developmental Biology, Python Programming

The advanced module can be chosen from courses and lectures of the Departments of Biology, Mathematics or Physics. It is designated to be a preparation for the Master thesis. Beside the work on a scientific project, the module can include advanced lectures or special seminars from the respective Department which will be recommended by the advisor.

During the research-focused master thesis, the student works on a scientific question. The duration is limited to six months (30 ECTS). The master thesis finalizes the scientific education of the Master program Integrated Life Sciences. The thesis can be written in the research groups participating in the curriculum of the MSc ILS.