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Medical Life Sciences

Course Description

Medical Life Sciences is an English-taught two-year Master’s programme in molecular disease research and bridges the gap between the sciences and medical studies. You will get to know clinical research from scratch; you will learn how to investigate diseases/disease mechanisms, how to translate research results into prevention, diagnosis and therapies of diseases.
From the basics of medical science to lab experiments for the Master’s thesis, individual scientific training takes first priority. Experimental work in state-of-the-art research labs is essential in Medical Life Sciences; clinical internships, data analysis, lectures, seminars and elective modules complement the Medical Life Sciences curriculum.

To lay the foundation for working in medical research, Medical Life Sciences (MedLife) provides basic knowledge in courses on clinical manifestations of diseases, human biology, molecular pathology and immunology. Lectures, seminars and tutorials in molecular biology, bioinformatics, clinical cell biology, medical statistics, and human genetics broaden your knowledge and make the interfaces between medicine and the sciences visible. You will learn how to acquire knowledge, verify and use it, all of which are important skills in research.

Focus Areas

From the second semester, you additionally specialise in one of the following focus areas:

INFLAMMATION takes you deep into the molecular mechanisms of chronic inflammatory diseases, the causal network between inflammatory processes and disease, genetics and environment. New research results for prevention, diagnosis and therapy will be presented and discussed. An internship in specialised clinics helps to see how “bed to bench side”, i.e. translational medicine, works.

EVOLUTIONARY MEDICINE looks at how interrelations between humans and their environment have led to current disease susceptibility. Why do we suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity? Is our lifestyle making us sick? Why are certain genetic variants maintained in populations despite their disease risk? Evolutionary medicine focuses on bridging the gap between evolutionary biology and medicine by considering the evolutionary origins of common diseases to help find new biomedical approaches for preventing and treating them.

LONGEVITY focuses on molecular mechanisms that seem to counteract the detrimental effect of ageing. The disease resilience and metabolic stability of extraordinarily fit people well over 90 years of age are of special interest. This research is complemented by experiments on model organisms. You will also look at the molecular pathways of ageing, and which role genes and the environment play. How the intricate web of counteracting effects triggering ageing and/or longevity works stands as the central focus of this area.

ONCOLOGY delves deep into molecular research on malignant diseases, the interplay of genetics and environment, cell biology of tumours, and many other aspects. You will achieve a better understanding of unresolved problems and opportunities of current research approaches.

Scientists and clinicians will make you familiar with these topics in lectures and seminars. You will discuss different research approaches, perspectives and the latest developments in medical research. Lab practicals in state-of-the-art research labs, a lab project, and the experimental Master's thesis will provide ample opportunity to be involved in real-time research projects.


To widen your perspective, you choose one of three electives designed to complement the focus areas. The schedules are designed so that you can take part in more than one elective if places are available. Tracing Disease through Time looks at disease etiology by analysing biomolecules, diets and pathogens in archaeological specimens. You may opt for Epidemiology to immerse yourself in epidemiological approaches with special emphasis on cardiovascular diseases, one of the greatest health threats in modern societies. Another option is Molecular Imaging, which gives you insight into the world of high-tech imaging in medical research.

Additional electives such as Neurology, Tissue Engineering or Epithelial Barrier Functions and Soft Skills courses such as Project Management, Career Orientation and English Scientific Writing are integrated into the curriculum during the entire duration of your studies.

Visit the Medical Life Sciences page on the Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Medical Life Sciences only starts in the summer semester (April) and is limited to 25 places/year. There is a two-stage ability assessment applicants need to pass. To apply, students need to have a Bachelor degree in a discipline as e.g. biology, biomedicine, biochemistry, molecular medicine. A very good knowledge of English is as essential as a sound basic knowledge of molecular biology. Applicants whose native language is NOT German need to have sufficient knowledge in physiology (documented by official course description). Please check requirements on View Website. The application deadline for each summer semester is published on the website in August.

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Recipient: Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel
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