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Application Requirements and Procedure for the M.Sc. Matter to Life

Explore the subject-specific admission requirements and our expectations on your application for the Master program Matter to Life. Apply online via the Max Planck School admission portal:

Max Planck School Matter to Life
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The start of the degree course Matter to life is only possible during the winter semester.

An important admission requirement is to have a minimum of six semesters of a qualified Bachelor's degree obtained at a German or a foreign university, or at least an equivalent degree in an engineering or natural science-oriented degree program. In regards to the qualification of the university degree, the admisions commission will decide on the acceptance based on acquired competencies - Details can be found below. Applicants from the Bachelor Degree Program in Physics at the TUM must also take part in the general application process.

Furthermore, all applicants must demonstrate knowledge and skills in science by completing the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Subject Test with a focus on "Biology", "Chemistry", "Mathematics" or "Physics".

Applications are accepted via the admission portal of the Max Planck School Matter to Life.

Date and deadlines in the application process

Application period

       September 1st until December 1st in the year before

December 1st is a firm deadline. Until then the online application process must be completed and your documents must have been received at TUM.

Selection procedure schedule

First stage
Results of the first stage of the aptitude assessment are announced approximately eight weeks after the application deadline.
Second and third stage
Applicants who score over 70 and over 101 during the second and third stage, respectively, are invited to a selection interview. The dates will be determined following the announcement of the results of the first stage. Individual dates will be arranged with the applicants.

Required documents

A list of the documents you have to send as paper copies is written on the application form that you will get at the end of the online process. Please send the documents, together with the signed application form, to TUM's enrollments office. Please consider the information given by TUM Student Admission.

The following list contains some additional information on some of these documents:

Curriculum vitae

The submitted CV must be current and complete without chronological gaps. The document can be uploaded during the application

Letter of motivation

The written grounds for the choice of the master program Matter to Life at TUM must be written by yourself in English and should not be longer than three DIN A4 pages (6000 characters). In it, please outline the specific talents and interests that make you particularly suitable for the Master's degree program and the research goals that you want to pursue in the area of Matter to Life. Pay close attention to the suitability parameters defined in the first step of the aptitude procedure. The particular suitability and willingness to perform must be justified, for example, by explanations of course-specific vocational training, internships, stays abroad or subject-related further education in the bachelor's program, which has gone beyond the time of attendance and compulsory courses. This may need to be documented by attachments.

GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Subject Test

The GRE subject has to be completed, with at least 700 points, with a focus on "Biology", "Chemistry", "Mathematics" or "Physics". The test result must not be older than two years at the time of application for admission.

Academic records of Bachelor's degree¹ (or equivalent)

A proof of your qualifying university degree must be submitted as a certified or notarized copy.
If you are applying before completing your Bachelor's degree, please send us the certified official transcript of records together with a formal list of the courses to be completed by the time of graduation (a link to the corresponding position on the official website of your university is sufficient). Provide us with your degree certificate as soon as possible, at the latest five weeks after starting your studies at TUM.
If your Bachelor's degree is from a non-German university, please fill out the analysis of your curriculum and also provide official descriptions of all your completed courses - a link to the relevant website of your university may also be sufficient. If you have a diploma with more than 120 credits at the time of the application, the assessment will be carried out as on the basis of the best graded modules amounting to 120 credits. In this case, include a list of these modules and grades, insuring the accuracy of the information provided.

Language proficiency

Please read the information language proficiency

Special condicion for certain countries

Special requirements apply for documents if you come from one of the following countries: China, Georgia, Iran, Mongolia, and Vietnam.

(¹: Not required to add if you have completed your Bachelor's degree at TUM as the documents will be already available.)

Health insurance
For enrollment you also need a certificate of health insurance

Academic requirements

The requirements for admission to the Master "Matter to life" are:

  • You have submitted all the required documents on time to the TUM Enrollment Office .
  • You scored at least 700 points in your GRE subject test.

Only if these requirements are met, you will be admitted to the aptitude assessment. This is carried out in 3 stages.

First stage of the aptitude assessment

In the first stage, the admission board rates the submitted documents on a scale from 0 to 100 points, where 100 points is the best possible result and the following scheme is applied:

  • Qualification's score:
    The curricular analysis is carried out by comparing the expertise acquired in your Bachelor's program with the following modules from TUM Bachelor's programs:
    Subject GroupPoints
    Introductory Experimental Physics
    (Mechanics, Electrodynamics, Thermodynamics, Oscilations, Waves and Optics, Quantum mechanics)
    Benchmark: The following mandatory modules of TUM's Chemistry or Biochemistry Bachelor Degree programs
    Introductory Mathematics
    (Fundamentals of linear algebra, Basic course in Analysis)
    Benchmark: The following mandatory modules of TUM's Chemistry Bachelor Degree program

    Introductory Chemistry
    (Principles of general, inorganic and organic chemistry, core concepts of biochemistry)
    Benchmark: The following mandatory module of TUM's Physics Bachelor Degree program


    Introductory Biology
    (Biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology)
    Benchmark: The following mandatory modules of TUM's Bioinformatics Bachelor Degree program


    If it has been established that there are no significant differences in the skills acquired, a maximum of 40 points (maximum 10 points per subject group) will be awarded. In the absence of part of the equivalent competences, points will be deducted proportionately. Only integer points are awarded. The resulting points are included in the later aptitude assessment as a base score.
  • Final grade point average: for each tenth of an integer grade that the test performance, corresponding to 120 credits, is better than a grade of 3.0 (German grading system), 1.5 points are awarded (max 30 points). There are n't negative points. For international degrees, the grades will be converted using the "bavarian conversion formula". If you have a diploma with more than 120 credits, the assessment will be made using the modules with the best grades accounting to a total of 120 credits. The applicant has to provide a list of these courses and assure in writing the veracity of the information provided. The average is calculated from the best graded examinations amouting to 120 credits. The final grade point average is calculated as the weigthed average of grades from individual modules. The weight of the individual grades correspond to the allocated of credits. The final grade will be given with one decimal place, without rounding.
  • Your motivation letter will be assessed by two members of committee and will be graded between 0 and 30 points. The arithmetic average of these two values is calculated and rounded up to integer points. The following aptitude parameters will be uses as a basis
    1. Discussion of the qualification in relation to the requirements of the study program and the admission requirements (max. 15 points),
    2. Discussion of the goals in the chosen study course (Master study phase); applicants should demonstrate that they are already familiar with the chosen course of study and have at least made a rough selection as to which areas of the large selection offer are of particular interest to them (max. 5 points).
    3. Discussion of possible experimental goals during the planed PhD-phase in the Matter to life program, ideally as a short proposal (max. 10 points).
The total score is the sum of all 3 individual scores.

If you achieve more than 70 points, you will be invited to the second stage of the aptitude assessment via a video conference.

Second stage of the aptitude assessment (selection interview via video conference)

The date and time of the interview will be notified at least one week before. If you are prevented from participating in the selection interview for reasons beyond your control, a late appointment can be granted if you present a justified request, at the latest two weeks before the beginning of the lecture.

The interview will last 15 minutes. The following topics will be discussed:

  1. Special motivation for the Master study course Matter to life according to the criteria given above for the motivation letter (max. 5 points).
  2. Discussion of your qualification regarding the program's and admission's requirements, in particular personal experience in relevant experiments and theoretical methods (max. 10 points).
  3. Basic knowledge in the fields of Matter to life and understanding for the relevant questions and correlated problems. The assessment will be based on the outline of the solution to an exemplary problem, for example, based on your motivation letter (max. 10 points).
  4. Communications skills in English (max.10 points).

The submitted documents might also be discussed.

The selection interview will be carried out by at least 2 committee members and it will be scored between 0 and 35 points. The total score will be the average of the individual scores and will be rounded to an integer value.

The total score from the first two stages (max. 135 points) is the sum of the points achieved in each stage. Anyone who achieved more than 101 points will be invited to the third stage of the aptitude assessment, which is a interview in person.

Third stage of the aptitude assessment (personal interview)

The exact date and time for the personal interview will be arranged after a consultation with you. If you are prevented from participating in the selection interview for reasons beyond your control, a later appointment can be granted if you present a justified request, at the latest two weeks before the beginning of the lecture.

The interview will last 30 minutes. Three days before the interview, you will receive a scientific text, which content will be discussed during the interview. The conversation will cover these topics:

  1. Ability to partake in a scientific discussion (max. 15 points)
  2. Ability to reflect on scientific questions (max. 15 points)
  3. Ability to conduct scientific work (max. 20 points)
  4. Ability to communicate / ability to work in teams (max. 15 points)

The selection interview will be carried out by at least 2 committee members and it will be assessed between 0 and 65 points. The total score will be the average of the individual scores and will be rounded to an integer value.

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