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:

Compulsory Elective Modules of the 1st and 2nd Semester

Module No
Name Working Group
Module 8 a/b Molecular Basis of Synaptic Plasticity I/II

Heine, Bikbaev

(Funktional Neurobiology)

Module 9 a/b Sensory Processing: Concepts – Neural Circuits – Tools / Mechanisms of Visual/Olfactory Processing

Silies, Martelli

(Developmental Neurobiology)

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


(Molecular Cell Biology)

Module 11 a/b/c Neuronal Basis of Behavior I/II/C


(Neurobiology I)

Module 12 a/b/c From Ion Channels to Behavior I/II / Cellular and Molecular Basics of Motoric Behavior


(Neurobiology II)

Module 17 a/b/c Molecular Medicine I/II/c


(Cilia Biology)

Module 1c Protein Bioinformatics and Programming



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


(Funktional Neurobiology)

Module 23 c Cellular and Circuit Mechanisms of Rodent Behavior


(Leibniz-Institut für Resilienzforschung (LIR) gGmbH)

Module 24 c In vivo Analysis of Neural Circuits

Silies / Martelli

(Developmental Neurobiology)

Module 25 c Information Processing in Neuronal Networks


(Functional Neurobiology)

Module 26 c Introduction to Functional Neuroanatomy of the Mammalian brain


(Functional Neurobiology)


Compulsory Modules of the 3rd and 4th Semester

Module No Name Module Officer
Module EQ Advanced Qualifications Prof. Dr Thomas Hankeln
Module PA Project work Dean of the Department of Biology
Module MA Master Thesis Dean of the Department of Biology

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:
Proof of required language skills in English at least at level B2.

3) The final step in the application cycle is a personal online interview with the teaching professors. 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.
In the course of your application, your transcripts will be evaluated by our Student Service Center. Please note that fees will be charged for this and processing will take approximately 6 weeks.
For more information please visit the application website of JGU.

Application Period:
please klick here for more information

Confirmation admission:
Depending on your home country you might need a student visa for Germany. We advise to apply for the visa at your local embassy as soon as you have received your certificate of enrollment at JGU.

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.

Student Service Center
+49 6131 39-22122 (hotline)
Forum universitatis, entrance 1, 1st floor
Johann-Joachim-Becher-Weg 2
55128 Mainz, Germany
For more information please visit the application website of JGU.

Service hours:
Mon-Thu, 9:00 am–12:00 noon and 1:00 pm–4:00 pm
Fri, 9:00 am–12:00 noon


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

Academic Counseling: Dr. Günther Ochs

Examination Office: Dr. Peter Schubert