The curriculum of the MSc Integrated Life Sciences is research-oriented and is closely connected to current research of the participating research groups at FAU and at the MPI for the Physics of Light. Building on a solid foundation in Biology, Physics, and Mathematics, it intensifies education in selected modern biophysical methods in small groups of 2-6 students, providing a fluent passage to cutting edge research within the master thesis in the second year of the master program.

Within the first year of the 2-year MSc program in Integrated Life Sciences, students select two out of the three focal areas or 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 (see below). The master thesis in an active research environment in the second year completes the MSc program. In total, 120 ECTS are required for the successful completion of the Master in Integrated Life Sciences.

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


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 practicals, followed by a research-driven master thesis.

Schedule of MSc ILS
Schedule of MSc ILS



The focal areas or module groups are assigned specific mandatory and elective lectures, seminars, and hands-on practicals. 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

Advanced Module

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.

Master Thesis

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.