Neuroscience (M. Sc.)

The Master studies course Neuroscience is a consecutive course of studies for the Bachelor degrees in Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Biomedicine, molecular Medicine, Biophysics and Bioinformatics at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (JGU) or equivalent courses of studies at other universities.

The Master in Neuroscience is offered in English only.

Neuroscientists investigate the cognitive abilities of organisms and their underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms. An essential motivation for neuroscience often comes from reflecting on our own behavior. Another motivation is to be able to use the knowledge about the functioning of the nervous system to understand changes in behavior and to develop therapies for pathological conditions. By integrating new methodological approaches, there are now excellent opportunities to experimentally investigate cognitive performance at the molecular and cellular level. This also makes it possible to understand and modulate the enormous computational power of neural networks. The complexity of individual nerve cells and their manifold communication within neural networks via synaptic contacts is the basis for an enormously broad spectrum of research fields. The integration of knowledge from many areas of biology (cell biology, molecular biology, genetics) and other natural and engineering sciences, such as physics, chemistry, and computer science, is necessary to capture this complexity of nervous systems.

The aim of the M. Sc. Program Neuroscience is to train neuroscientists who have a solid knowledge and competencies in the field of molecular and cellular neurobiology.

To this end, we want to teach you the following skills:

  • A sound knowledge of the anatomy and function of the nervous systems of model organisms (fly, mouse, rat)
  • Methodological knowledge for the representation and measurement of neuronal activity; with optical and/or electrophysiological methodsKnowledge of the molecular components that essentially determine the electrical excitability and transmission of information in neural networks
  • Ability to genetically manipulate neural networks
  • Practical knowledge in molecular and biochemical methods (molecular biology, genome editing, protein expression, protein analysis, etc.).
  • Competence in the evaluation, presentation and interpretation of measurement data
  • Competences in the documentation of experiments and their presentation in publications and lectures
  • Compliance with the rules of good scientific practice

Further details on the Master's Program Neursocience can be found here.

The programme is divided into compulsory modules and compulsory elective modules (A/B/C). Two related A/B modules must be selected from the compulsory elective modules, as well as two independent C modules (different from the selected A/B modules). Attention, some modules are only offered in the winter semester or summer semester. A brief description of the content is linked to the individual modules in the table below. The preliminary module handbook (see also Downloads) provides you with further details on the organisation and procedure of the modules.

Overview of Modules:

Module Topic Research group(s)

Module 1c

winter term

Protein Bioinformatics and Programming Andrade (Bioinformatics)

Module 8 a/b

winter term

Molecular Basis of Synaptic Plasticity I/II

Heine, Bikbaev

(Functional Neurobiology)

Module 8 c

summer term

Information Processing in Neuronal Networks

Heine, Bikbaev

(Functional Neurobiology)

Module 9 a/b

summer term

a) Sensory Processing: Concepts – Neural Circuits – Tools

b) Mechanisms of Visual/Olfactory Processing

Silies, Martelli

(Neural Circuits Lab)

Module 9 c In vivo Analysis of Neural Circuits

Silies, Martelli

(Neural Circuits Lab)

Module 10 a/b/c Molecular Cell Biology I/II/c


(Molecular Cell Biology)

Module 11 a/b/c

summer term

Neuronal Basis of Behavior I/II/C


(Neurobiology I)

Module 12 a/b/c

winter term

From Ion Channels to Behavior I/II / Cellular and Molecular Basics of Motor Behavior


(Neurobiology I)

Module 17 a/b/c

summer term

Molecular Medicine I/II/c


(Cilia Biology)

Module 20 c Methods of Applied Bioinformatics


(Computational Systems Genetics)

Module 21 c Rodent Models in Translational Neuroscience


(Leibniz Institut for Resilienz/

Mouse Behaviour Unit)

Module 22 c Fluorescence Microscopy in Cell- and Neurobiology


(Functional Neurobiology)

Module 23 c Cellular and Circuit Mechanisms of Rodent Behavior


(Leibniz-Institut für Resilienzforschung (LIR) gGmbH)

Admission Requirements :

The lawful and binding admission requirements are given in the examination regulations (see Downloads) and shown here shortened for a better overview. For personal assitance you might want to contact the study office (see Contact).

1) Bachelor's degree in biology, biochemistry, biophysics, bioinformatics, molecular biology, biomedicine, molecular medicine or a degree from a university in Germany or abroad that is not significantly different. Admission is also possible with a Bachelor's degree in a natural science subject related to biology. Further information you can get from the examination regulations (see Downloads).

If you do not have a Bachelor's degree by the application deadline, it is possible to apply on the basis of the examination and study achievements that you have gained already. Here you need at least of at least 135 credit points and you should have your Bachelor degree before you start with the Master's studies.

2) Language skills in English are sufficient if they enable you for active participation in courses/lectures given in English, the preparation of written study and examination papers, as well as the reading of scientific articles. Certificates that are recognised are defined in § 7 Para. 5 of the enrolment regulations of Johannes Gutenberg University, see also examination regulations (see Downloads).

3) Selection interview, here you should provide information about the following points:

a) Personal motivation and identification for studying neuroscience.

b) Future or career prospects you associate with a Master's degree in neuroscience.

c) competences you would like to acquire.


Your application is to be submitted through the application portal of JGU Mainz. Please click here to access the portal.

Application Period:

Winter term: 01.04. - 15.05.

Summer term: 01.10.-15.11.

Mainz is an internationally visible location for neuroscience. In this context, the neuroscience research groups in JGU's Department 10 are organized together with groups from the University Medical Center and the Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research in the Translational Neuroscience Research Center. Colleagues interact e.g. through joint seminar series and methodological exchange. In the Rhine-Main region, JGU Mainz continues to be closely linked to the Frankfurt and Darmstadt sites through joint research associations and the 'Rhine-Main Neuroscience Network' rmn2.

The Department of Biology at JGU is organized in three institutes. Some of the working groups of the iOME and the IDN are already located in the new building BioZentrum I, others partly also at the IMB. Since the end of 2020, some working groups of the iMP are located in BioCenter II. Planning for BioCenter III, into which the remaining working groups from all three institutes will move, is underway. It is planned to move in by 2025.

Also on the JGU campus is the Institut für Biotechnologie und Wirkstoff-Forschung (IBWF) and the Institute for Molecular Biology (IMB), a centre of excellence in the life sciences founded in 2011, which is funded by the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation and the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The IMB focuses on innovative research fields of modern biology such as epigenetics and developmental biology.
There is also close cooperation with the University Medicine (FB04), the Department of Chemistry, Pharmacy and Geosciences (FB09), the Department of Physics, Mathematics and Informatics (FB08) as well as with the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPIP) and the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (MPIC).


It is expected that most of the graduates of the Master's program in Neuroscience will pursue a doctorate. There is a wide range of doctoral opportunities at the Faculty of Biology, the IMB, the other natural sciences faculties, the University Medical Center and at affiliated research centers such as the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research or the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry.

Responsible for Studies course/Recognition of certificates: Prof. Dr. Martin Heine

Academic Counseling: Dr. Günther Ochs

Examination Office: Dr. Peter Schubert