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Master's Thesis in the M.Sc. Matter to Life

In the last year of the master's program Matter to Life, you will further advance the research experience you had previously gathered in lab rotations to independently work on a research project. You can choose from a variety of workgroups and projects within the Matter to Life Max Planck School.

 Aliaksandr Bandarenka and a Master's student in his group discuss about their research. Foto: TUM.PH/Eckert. The research phase constitutes one thematic block, culminating in the dissertation of the Master's thesis.

Research Phase

The build-up of the research phase

A research topic from a subfield of Matter to Life should be investigated using the scientific method within the specified time (maximum 6 months). The result are described in the form of a written master's thesis.

During the research phase, the fulfilment of an independent scientific work is tighly connected with the acquisition of additional skills, such as project management, team work as well as the depiction and presentation of scientific results.

Finding a topic

Students should contact on their own with the working groups and potential supervisors, in order to agree on a topic for the research phase/master thesis. Additionally to this, supervisors have the option to announce topics in the section below (supervisors see "Access for supervisors" on the right). However this possibility is not used by all institutes and not all topics are listed. Therefore it is recommended to ask the professors or in the institutes for topics.

Furthermore, it is recommended to start early (at least one semester in advance) to search for an appropriate topic. Having face-to-face interaction with the group, you can see if you like the topic and if you feel comfortable in the group (you will be working one year there!). We discourage you from simple e-mail exchange, as it is usually not successful.

Filtering in the offers for possible theses

You can search through the offers of Master’s thesis topics at the Physics Department.

Offers of Master’s thesis topics


Registering the research phase

The registration of the Master’s Thesis is done at the Dean's Office (Dekanat), normally at the beginning of the fourth Master's semester. When doing this, the certificate of mentor counseling has to be included. After agreeing on a topic with the future supervisor, students can print out the registration form in the student access.

Handing in the thesis and getting the grade

Before handing in the Master's thesis, you must fill in the final titel of the thesis in the database (student access) and upload an electronic copy (PDF-file). Afterwards, you have to hand in two printed versions in the Dean's Office (Dekanat). You have to hand in the thesis at the latest on the deadline, please keep this on mind.

Extension of the deadline is only possible for good reasons. See FAQ on Thesis extension.

The Master's thesis will be evaluated by the supervisor and a second examiner. The second examiner is appointed by the examination board on suggestion of the supervisor (after official registration of Master’s thesis).

The supervisor and the second examiner will also grade the Master's colloquium, which completes the research phase.

Re-enrollment during the research phase

For any examination you must be enrolled as a student of TUM. Hence you need to re-enroll for one semester more e.g. if you hand in your Master’s thesis or your Master’s colloquium takes place after the current semester ends.

With a due date for your thesis or a scheduled date for the colloquium e.g. in October, you should not forget to re-enroll for the winter semester and the corresponding deadline would be August 15.

The grade for the module Master’s Thesis is the weighted average of the two grades for the written Thesis and the colloquium.

exam partweight
written Master’s Thesis 70
Master’s Colloquium 30

Organization of the colloquium

The Master’s colloquium is organised and conducted by the supervisor together with the second examiner. The Master’s colloquium takes approximately 60 minutes, consisting of a 30 minutes talk and 30 minutes examination. Naturally, the inclusion of the colloquium in a group seminar is possible.

Completing your Master studies

At the end of the semester in which you reach the necessary 120 ECTS in your Master's degree program and passed all required exams you will be exmatriculated (according to §13(1) enrolment rules of TUM). In most cases the Master's colloquium will be the last exam to reach this point.

Taking further exams and final documents

You are principally allowed to take further exams after reaching the 120 ECTS, i.e. to replace previous results in the catalog of the focus areas with better results. Therefore it is generally not possible that the final documents are generated before you are exmatriculated. In case you need the final documents (or even preliminary documents) earlier, you have to request for it explicitly. See the Remarks on end of studies and final documents for further information.

Fnal Grade

The final grade for the Master program is calculated as credit weighted average of all module grades included into the Master program Matter to Life.

Additional exams listed in the appendix of the grade report/Transcript of Records are not included.

PH2228 Synthetic Biology 1 5 4,2
PH1033 Matter to Life: Explorative Research 18 15
PH1079 Matter to Life: Collaborative Research Lab 30 25
Elective Ethics 2* 1,7
Elective Natural Sciences 35* 29
Master’s Thesis 30 25

*You can take more credits than required in the elective catalogs "Ethics" and "Natural Sciences". In this case the modules with the least grades within the catalog, which are not necessary to fulfill the catalog, are moved to the additional exams. If after this procedure still more than 2 CP or 35 CP respectively are assigned within the catalog the CP weight of the respective catalog and the total CPs are higher than given in the table. This results in slight adjustments of the percentages given above.

If you would like to have a different selection of modules than the one chosen automatically by TUMonline contact

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