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Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (MSc)

Taught in German




This consecutive degree course was developed jointly by faculties 7 - 11 of Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU) and faculty 6 of the University of Applied Science Central Hesse (THM, Giessen campus).

The consecutive degree programme offers you a broad, interdisciplinary orientation and is open to you not only with a B.Sc. in computer science, bioinformatics or biology, but also as a graduate of further scientific-mathematical courses (e.g..: B.Sc. Chemistry, B.Sc. Food Chemistry, B.Sc. Agricultural/Environment and Nutrition Sciences, B.Sc. Medical Informatics, Veterinary Medicine, Medicine, B.Sc. Mathematics), if you are interested in Systems Biology and Bioinformatics.

The structure of the contents of the first and second semester (course semester) allows students to achieve their study goals to a great extent independently of the type of previous education in life sciences or in computer science and, together with a research-related education in the third and fourth semester (research semester), to develop specialist competences for a qualified professional future.


The aims of the Master’s programme “Bioinformatics and Systems Biology” are:


1. an interdisciplinary education (based on a basic education in biology, biomedicine, mathematics and computer science) with a focus on:

  • in-depth methodological competence in Bioinformatics/ Systems Biology,
  • special competences in genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics,
  • competences for the development of new algorithms in high-throughput data analysis,
  • competences in in silico modelling of complex biological processes and systems.

2. to offer professional education in 4 main areas, of which the students can deepen 2:

  • Development of innovative algorithms in bioinformatics,
  • genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics ("molecular" systems biology),
  • modelling of complex biological processes and systems,
  • high throughput data analysis.

3. to develop additional interdisciplinary competences:

  • the integration of students into a newly developed, interdisciplinary centre for bioinformatics and systems biology as a cooperation between JLU and THM University of Applied Sciences,
  • the establishment of mixed small learning groups consisting of students with a background in bioinformatics and life sciences,
  • laboratory rotations between the JLU and the THM University of Applied Sciences as well as between the 5 participating departments of the JLU,
  • direct cooperation with the biomedical industry,
  • involvement in strategic research projects of JLU and THM University of Applied Sciences (DFG, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, BMBF),
  • a cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research (MPI) in Bad Nauheim.
Duration of studies 4 Semester 120 Credit Points (CP)

Duration of Studies

4 Semesters - 120 Credit Points (CP)


since 23 June 2005

Composition of the Study Programme


Composition of the Study programme

The programme combines research and application-oriented aspects and is divided into two course semesters and two research semesters. In the research semesters you will complete your education in a research-related environment in direct contact with several working groups of the two universities. 

In order to familiarise students with an international professional field, an internship abroad of up to 12 CP is possible and desired, but not mandatory. In addition, starting in the second semester, courses are taught in English so that students become more accustomed to obtaining information from foreign language sources and communicating in English. 



1. Semester2. Semester
Fundamental Calculus and Statistics (6 CP)

Core areas

You choose 2 core areas:

  • Specialisation area I:
    Bioinformatics Algorithms Part 1 and 2 (each 6 CP)
  • Specialisation area II:
    Molecular systems biology Part 1 and 2 (each 6 CP)
  • Specialisation area III:
    Applied modeling of complex biological processes and systems part 1 and 2 (each 6 CP)
  • Specialisation area IV 
    Analysis of High- Throughput Data Part 1 and 2 (each 6 CP)

Module a or module b:

a) for students without previous knowledge in bioinformatics: Computer Science (6 CP)

b) for students with previous knowledge: Biology (6 CP)

Methods seminar (3 CP)
Introduction to core areas of the master programme (12 CP)
  • Bioinformatics Algorithms
  • Molecular systems biology
  • Applied modeling of complex biological processes and systems
  • Analysis of High- Throughput Data
Lecture series Modern Aspects of Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (3 CP)

Additional Qualifications I/II (in total 6 CP)

You choose from the modules below, a total of 6 CP can be reached.


Additional Qualification I:

a) Statistical models for bioinformatics and systems biology (3 CP)

b) Object-oriented Programming (6 CP)

c) Special course on ComputerScience (6 CP)

d) Design of Small Molecule Drugs (3 CP)


Additional Qualifications II:

a) Methods in Biology (3 CP)

b) Design of Biologic Drugs (3 CP)

3. Semester4. Semester
The majority of the 3rd semester is dedicated to working in working groups. Master-Thesis with the previously elected supervisor
Laboratory Rotation 1 (6 CP)

Laboratory rotation in a working group in which the thesis is not written.

(One or both laboratory internships can be replaced by a work placement or a stay abroad.)

Laboratory Rotation 2 (6 CP)
Laboratory rotation in a working group in which the thesis is not written.

(One or both laboratory internships can be replaced by a work placement or a stay abroad.)

Scientific projet work (6 CP)
Methodical preparation for the thesis, is accomplished in the working group in which the thesis is also written in.
Introduction to scientific work and thesis preparation (6 CP)
Practical and conceptual components of planning scientific projects and writing project proposals and scientific publications.
Special seminar I (3 CP)
Modern aspects of bioinformatics and systems biology, or extended methods seminar, is attended in a working group in which the thesis is not written in.

Specia seminar II (3 CP)
Modern aspects of bioinformatics and systems biology, is attended in a working group in which the thesis is written in.


Master-Thesis (after the Scientific project work, usually in the 4th semester)

With the Master's thesis the students will demonstrate their ability to work independently on scientific problems in one of the focus areas of their subject and the course is then completed.


Further Information

A description of the core- and specialisation modules can be found in the special regulations with module descriptions and module plans (in German)

More on this... ("Spezielle Ordnung")


Courses offered in the course catalogue


Commencement of Studies in the Winter Semester

Commencement of studies

Only possible in the winter semester

Application: Entrance requirements

Entrance requirements

The entry prerequisite for the Master’s degree course is a relevant Bachelor`s degree.
Relevant degree courses are

  • Bioinformatics
  • Biology
  • Informatics.

On request, other degrees can be recognised, provided that the attainment of at least 18 credit points in mathematics/statistics, biology and/or computer science can be proven. After that there will be an individual examination in each case.

Application not limited only winter

Application / Enrolment

  • The study programme is not subject to admission restrictions.

  • The enrolment period for the winter semester begins at the beginning of June.

  • The end of the enrolment period is determined anew each year, please enquire in the application portal during the enrolment period.

Different rules apply in some cases for international applicants. More...


Career Options

Career Options

Career Options

Bioinformatics and systems biology are new, up-and-coming and challenging branches of science at the interface of the computer science and life sciences disciplines. Modern molecular biology, biotechnology and medicine rely to an ever greater extent on computer methods; bioinformatics and systems biology are thus essential to the current advances being made in these fields. The goal of the bioinformatics and systems biology course is therefore to train experts at the interface of the computer science and life sciences disciplines so as to advance these innovative emerging disciplines.
In biotechnology, bioinformatics/systems biology are regarded as key technologies. There is high demand for such expertise from industry as it is only by using the methods of bioinformatics that knowledge can be generated from the wealth of biological data (data mining). Large pharmaceutical companies as well as biotechnology start-ups have a high demand for bioinformatics and systems biology specialists.
The knowledge and skills acquired in the technical and methodological modules allow graduates of this course to obtain employment in a variety of professions that can be divided into the following main groups:

  • research institutes dealing with high-throughput analysis and/or modelling of biosystems,
  • molecular and biomedicine-oriented analysis and diagnostics in industrial environments,
  • bioinformatics departments in the pharmaceuticals and life sciences industry,
  • providers of bioinformatics system solutions as a service to the pharmaceuticals and veterinary pharmaceuticals industry,
  • specialist agencies for patent and information technology.

Work placements in a professional field give students the opportunity to familiarise themselves with a potential working environment. In addition, the entire research- and practice-based approach of the 3rd and 4th semester provides students with a good opportunity to become familiar with different working and occupational settings in research and development.



Information about studying at Justus Liebig University Giessen (incomings)

International Office
General counseling of international students
Dr. Saltanat Rakhimzhanova, Patrycja Zakrzewska

Goethestr. 58, Room 38
35390 Giessen

Contact and office hours

International pages

Please have a look at our International Pages for more information in English.

Further Information

Further Information: Documents

PDF documents for the courses of study

Examination- and study regulations


Courses offered in the course catalogue

International pages

Please have a look at our International Pages for more information in English.

Any Questions


Any Questions?

Information- and advisory services of JLU can be found under the category “contact” on this page!


Subject Advisor

Subject Advisor

Dr. Jochen Blom
Heinrich-Buff-Ring 58, room I 0003b
35392 Giessen
Tel.: 0641 -99 35803


Central Study Advisor

Wiebke Blumenthal, M.A.
Central Student Services

Directions and welcome desk