International Programmes 2021/2022

Molecular and Developmental Stem Cell Biology (iSTEM) Molecular and Developmental Stem Cell Biology (iSTEM)

Ruhr-Universität Bochum • Bochum

Master of Science
Teaching language
  • English

All courses are held in English.

Programme duration
4 semesters
Winter semester
Application deadline

Non-EU applicants (visa required): 15 May to 15 June for the following winter semester

EU applicants (no visa required): 1 June to 15 July for the following winter semester

late application period for EU citizens ("Restplätze"): 16 July to 15 September

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

This interdisciplinary Master's degree course is oriented to cutting-edge research and current markets. The course combines traditional basic disciplines such as cell biology, histology, biochemistry and pathology with recent progress in epigenetics, bioinformatics and developmental biology to secure a broad understanding towards innovative translational approaches in medicine.
Stem cells have a major impact on nearly all disciplines of life sciences dealing with eukaryotic cells or organisms. Predictably, a strong demand for young scientists who are able to cope with a highly interdisciplinary approach will arise in the near future. Participants should learn to integrate different types of knowledge such as the chemistry of small molecules, bioinformatics of nucleic acids, protein networks, biochemistry of transcription factors, genetics and epigenetics, systems biology and applied medical sciences from bench to bedside for treating degenerative diseases of the brain, muscle, liver and skin etc. Recently, it has become possible to reprogramme patient-derived cells opening up new perspectives for cell replacement therapy and patient-specific drug development. Defined combinations of transcription factors may even allow transdifferentiation of fibroblasts into neurons. The application of nanoparticles may be useful to enhance penetration of regulatory proteins into cells thus avoiding DNA for reprogramming cells. In general, gaining knowledge in epigenetic mechanisms controlling gene expression is on the priority list of teaching. Inspection of differentiating stem cells with a super-resolution microscope (stimulated emission depletion, STED) will help to advance our knowledge in this rapidly evolving field of molecular stem cell biology. All of the above mentioned aspects will be covered both in theory and in hands-on practical courses in an international environment.

Course organisation

During the first year of the programme, students acquire a fundamental understanding of developmental processes that are linked to the current progress of stem cell research. This theoretical knowledge is further deepened and expanded on by hands-on experience during practical modules. The inclusion of guest lecturers gives students the opportunity to get in contact with programme-associated researchers and learn about prime examples of current topics in stem cell research. This practical knowledge is further expanded by the inclusion of a mandatory bioinformatics course. During the second year, the curriculum switches in part to application-oriented courses that confront students with stem cell based approaches to the treatment of various illnesses as well as future prospects. During the course of the third semester, students also get the opportunity to visit our partner institutions abroad. The fourth semester is reserved for the Master's thesis.
It is also mandatory for the students to successfully complete a language course. Other acquired skills include a basic understanding of bioethics and legal aspects of biomedical work, skills in good medical practice and grant writing skills.
The Master's course comprises a four-semester programme providing a broad base of knowledge of the subjects studied including their methodology and theory. The average workload is calculated at 900 hours of work per semester of study, approx. 30 credit points per semester and a total of 120 credit points.

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International elements
  • International guest lecturers
  • Training in intercultural skills
  • Projects with partners in Germany and abroad
Integrated internships

Due to the practical nature of our programme, practicals and internships are part of almost all of the offered modules, however, students are also encouraged to choose practicals according to their interests. Therefore, we offer a variety of different practicals for students to choose from. During the first semester, students have to choose four two-week introductory practicals out of around 20 practicals offered. During the second semester, students are expected to complete two four-week internships in our associated laboratories and finally to complete the module ''Lab Bench Project and Grant Writing'' that consists of an internship in preparation of the Master's thesis.
Aside from the required internships, students are also encouraged and supported in finding additional opportunities to get practical experience by applying for internships at our large number of associated laboratories.

Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Semester contribution

Social fee of approx. 340 EUR per semester, including a semester ticket covering public transport in the entire state of North Rhine-Westphalia

Costs of living

Minimum of 850 EUR per month to cover personal and living expenses

Funding opportunities within the university
Description of the above-mentioned funding opportunities within the university

Students with outstanding academic performance who are involved in special social activities can receive 300 EUR per month for a year from the Ruhr-Universität Scholarship Fund “Deutschlandstipendium”: International students with good to very good academic performance who need financial support during the final phase of study can receive a graduation grant of 400 EUR per month for four months from the International Office at RUB:

Academic admission requirements

Applicants are required to hold a top Bachelor's degree in the life sciences (e.g. BSc in biology, microbiology, biomedicine, molecular biology) or a state examination/Master's degree in a medical subject. The course is thereby ideally suited for graduates of biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, molecular biology, biomedicine, molecular medicine, human medicine, veterinary medicine, dental medicine and equivalent specialised programmes such as tissue engineering.

As a precondition to enter the Master's programme the candidate has to provide knowledge of cell biology worth a minimum of 5 credit points in lectures and 12 credit points in practical exercises, as well as molecular-genetic knowledge worth a minimum of 5 credit points in lectures and 12 credit points in practical exercises.

Proof of good basic mathematical skills is required, as is proof of English language skills (see language requirements).

Language requirements

Applicants need to provide proof of their proficiency in English, for example your successful completion of one of the standard tests (TOEFL 550 [written], 215 [computer based], 79 [internet based] or IELTS 6.0).
Other qualifications, for example a study programme completed in English before, will be reviewed by a committee.

Application deadline

Non-EU applicants (visa required): 15 May to 15 June for the following winter semester

EU applicants (no visa required): 1 June to 15 July for the following winter semester

late application period for EU citizens ("Restplätze"): 16 July to 15 September

Submit application to

Online application


In the city of Bochum, you can find a variety of affordable and pleasant accommodations. On average, students in Bochum pay approximately 350 to 400 EUR per month for a single apartment, which is below the average rent in Germany. A room in a shared apartment is available from around 250 EUR. 

About 5,000 students in Bochum live in 18 student halls close to the campus, which are run by the Akademisches Förderungswerk (AKAFÖ). In the halls, students have their own single room and share a kitchen and bathroom with other students, they rent an apartment with a private bathroom and kitchen, or they share an apartment with one or several flatmates. 

More information on the student halls can be found at and

In addition, eight private and church-affiliated student halls accommodate up to 1,000 students: and

Specific specialist or non-specialist support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Welcome event

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

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