Master in Biology Faculty of Natural Sciences February 2010

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1 Master in Biology Faculty of Natural Sciences February 2010

2 University of Ulm There are many good reasons to pursue a master degree at the University of Ulm. One of the most important ones, alongside the program profiles themselves, is the attractive research environment. It provides a solid base for sound instruction with a practical focus, as well as a basis for challenging master theses, possibly leading to dissertations. And regardless of which program you choose, you can benefit from the all-round modern infrastructure, including the Language Centre, International Office and children s daycare facilities. Find out more! Regardless of whether you would like to stick to a specific field or prefer interdisciplinary studies, there are many opportunities available in the near vicinity: at University institutes with strengths in research, highly specialised associated institutes and industrial research institutes. The same thing goes for high-performance and, for the most part, globally active companies in the region.

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4 In a nutshell What is a master in biology? The master degree is comparable with the diploma degree previously awarded by universities. The two-year master program in biology is research-oriented to give you a strong background for independent and responsible work in biology. It builds on the comprehensive basic education in biology you received during your bachelor program and aims to deepen your knowledge, especially in one of three specialty areas of your choice. A substantial proportion of lectures and classes is taught in English. The master degree is the basis for pursuing a doctoral thesis.

5 Study objectives You aim to receive an advanced education in biology in one of the following areas of your choice: molecular bioscience, neurobiology, ecology/biodiversity. To complement these studies, you select modules either from another area in biology or biophysics, or from one of the following areas in medicine: biochemistry, pharmacology/ toxicology, virology, human genetics, medical neuroscience. Further, you broaden your knowledge outside the life sciences by choosing modules in areas such as computer science, business administration, mathematics, chemistry or philosophy. In the research orientated master program Biology at the University of Ulm practical work in small groups is an intrinsic attribute, independent of the chosen main focus. You will work in comfortably small groups with extensive mutual exchange, in many cases integrated in ongoing research projects. We encourage our students to take part in exchange programs (e.g. via ERASMUS) and study at one of our partner universities or do some practical work in collaborating institutions outside the University of Ulm.

6 Focus Molecular Biosciences Having chosen Molecular Biosciences as main focus, you have to take two out of four main modules offered. The modules focus on either Microbiology (Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology), Molecular Botany (Institute of Molecular Botany), Genetics (Institute of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology) or Developmental Neurobiology (Institute of General Zoology and Developmental Neurobiology). Each of these modules comprises a lecture course, a seminar, and a six-week practical laboratory course. The lectures and seminars will provide the theoretical background for the practical work and additionally introduce to current topics of the respective subject areas. The practical work in the module Microbiology comprises topics related to ongoing research, e.g., physiology and regulation of solvent and biofuel formation from syngas by clostridia, biochemistry of vitamin B12 synthesis in bacteria, biofilm formation by Listeria, molecular biology of probiotics and physiology and regulation of amino acid and dicarboxylic acid production with corynebacteria. The practical work in the module Molecular Botany deals with current research on amino acid metabolism in plants, RNA metabolism in plant mitochondria and RNA metabolism in archaea. The practical work in the modul Genetics focusses on cell biology of yeasts, including defined gene deletations, protein-protein interactions and observation of cellular structures by use of fluorescence and electron microscopy. The module Developmental Neurobiology is in the

7 process of being established. Further, the two lectures National and International Patent Law and Quality management complement the curriculum. In preparation for the master thesis, you take an advanced laboratory course in your selected research area. In the master thesis you pursue your own research project with a scientific question connected to the research areas of the respective institute. With a master degree in biology focussing on Molecular Biosciences you are competent to work independently in all areas of molecular biology. You are qualified to apply for positions in the pharmaceutical, biochemical, biomedical and biotechnological industry in general, in quality control and management of food and cosmetic industry, in companies producing and testing equipment for Molecular Biology, in research institutes studying any subject on molecular biology, molecular biotechnology or molecular medicine. A master degree with honors opens the possibility to pursue a doctoral thesis in one of the institutes belonging, for example, to the Molecular Biosciences at the University of Ulm and, of course, at other Universities, Max-Plank institutes and Research Centers.

8 Focus Neurobiology The major modules are about special areas in neurobiology and behavioral physiology. Both modules (21 credit points each) contain lectures, seminars, and laboratory courses. The lectures and seminars provide the background for and deepen the practical work. The practical work in the module special areas in neurobiology are about (a) modern electrophysiological recording techniques from single neurons and clusters of neurons in the brains of invertebrates and mammals, (b) modern immunocytochemical techniques to label activated neurons to be identified in brain slices, and (c) modelling of functional sensorimotor and motor networks of small neural clusters using specific computer programs. The practical works in the module behavioral physiology are about (a) learning experiments and neurobiological bases of learning in invertebrates and mammals, (b) quantification of instinctive behavior and orientation behavior in invertebrates and mammals, and (c) neuronal mechanisms of behavioral control, especially motor control, also by using computer programs for modelling. In the master thesis you pursue your own research project having a scientific question derived from the research areas of the Institute of Neurobiology and the research cooperations within the Neurocenter of the University of Ulm.

9 With a master degree in biology with the specialty of neurobiology you are prepared to apply for positions, for example, in the pharmaceutical and biomedical industry in general, in companies producing and testing apparatus and computer programs for research in the neurosciences and the behavioral sciences, in companies and research institutes developing and testing new chemicals for the enhancement of the information processing in and cognitive abilities of the brain, in research institutes studying mental diseases such as Alzheimer s dementia, and in research institutes studying animal behavior. A master degree with honors opens the possibility to pursue a doctoral thesis, for example, in one of the institutes belonging to the Neurocenter of the University of Ulm.

10 Focus biodiversity/ecology The broad education with main emphasis on ecological research in the field and in the laboratory starts with a course on Introduction to Statistics with applications in ecology and with a number of field trips providing knowledge of organismic diversity. Then you select 2 to 3 modules out of following 5 to earn 36 credit points. Modules are composed of lectures, seminars, laboratory courses and/or practical field work in and around Ulm or in fascinating, species-rich tropical ecosystems. The module Chemical Ecology introduces the role of semiochemicals important in interactions among animals and between animals, e.g. social insects, and plants. Key techniques comprise chemical analyses, electrophysiological recordings and behavioral tests. The modules Animal-Plant- / Animal-Animal-Interactions and Tropical Ecology deal with interactions in ecological webs in temperate zones and tropics (e.g. Costa Rica, Panama). Modern recording and analysis techniques range from computer-based documentation of interactions between animals and animals and plants to infrared, high-speed or thermal-image video methods, bioacoustic recordings and playback experiments, as well as physiological or behavioral studies. Our Botanical Garden houses a large selection of plant species, thus providing excellent opportunities for ecophysiological and ecomorphological projects. The module Systematics provides in-depth

11 insights into the evolution of metazoan diversity and associated morphological adaptations at a state-of-the-art level. The module Field Ecology combines zoological, botanical and microbiological expertise focusing on the human impact on marine and terrestrial ecosystems either in the Mediterranean area, or in Costa Rica. Methods range from classical monitoring approaches to complex modern techniques such as ecophysiological and behavioral experiments, use of GPS for radiotracking, modeling and statistical analyses of animal assemblages. Master theses are mostly linked to research at the Institute of Experimental Ecology and the Institute of Systematic Botany and Ecology and their partners in Europe and abroad e.g. at the University of Costa Rica. A master degree in biology with the specialty of biodiversity / ecology prepares for positions in local and global environmental agencies, environmental management in private companies and public administrations, consulting, conservation, risk management in industry, museums, journalism and more. Further, positions in interdisciplinary teams are open with links to molecular biology, medicine, chemistry and engineering. A master degree with honors opens the possibility to pursue a doctoral thesis, for example, in one of the ecology institutes of the University of Ulm and our cooperating partners worldwide.

12 Study contents Overview General overview of the specialty areas to be selected in biology 11 Specialty area in biology: molecular bioscience, neurobiology, biodiversity/ecology (select 1 out of 3) Complementary area in the life sciences: biology, biophysics, medical areas (select 1 out of 8) Complementary area outside life sciences : mathematics, chemistry, business administration, philosophy, computer science (select 1 out of 5) 12 In-depth studies of methods in biology in preparation of the master s thesis 10 Master s thesis 30 Total 120 Credit Points 42 15

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14 Admission requirements and application Study course: Biology Study places per semester: WS SS, limited admission Bachelor: three-year bachelor program with a final mark of 2.5 or better; if the degree has not yet been awarded a grade point average of examination results of 2.5 or better Further selection criteria: bachelor degree in the study course biology or biochemistry or in any study course with essentially the same contents Proof of English proficiency: TOEFL 570 paper-based or 230 computer-based or 88 internet-based; or native speaker of English or university studies completed entirely in English or a minimum of 6 ECTS from courses taught in English at Ulm University see comparison table

15 Other: Assessment of bachelor degree and of other requirements: Department for admission (Abt. II-1) Application deadline: for the winter semester: 15 July for the summer semester: 15 January Selection: Ranking based on marks; if there are equal ranks, the lot decides Selection decision: Presidential board based on the suggestion of the admissions committee

16 Contact Faculty of Natural Sciences Prof. Dr. Günter Ehret University of Ulm Ulm, Germany Phone: +49 (0) Faculty of Natural Sciences Dr. Philipp von Wrangell University of Ulm Ulm, Germany Phone: +49 (0)

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