TU Darmstadt: Who is the master aimed at?
Prof. Torsten Waldminghaus: The Master course is designed for students holding a Bachelor in Biology or related fields with good hands-on lab experience. They need to be brave enough to cross traditional borders between disciplines and open to new concepts of biological science.
What can students expect?
Students will learn concepts in Synthetic Biology in an interdisciplinary context including engineering and mathematical modelling. A main focus is on practical lab work in a learning-by-doing approach.
Are there comparable courses in Germany?
No. Some universities have included individual modules on Synthetic Biology in their Master in the field of Bioscience but this is the first pure Synthetic Biology Master in Germany. Interestingly, also world-wide there is a surprisingly small number of Synthetic Biology Master courses.
What are the job opportunities for graduates?
I anticipate excellent chances on the job market for Synthetic Biology graduates. The new concepts, modern methodologies, the interdisciplinarity and internationality as characteristics of the Master course are key points on the list of head hunters.
In which areas can graduates work?
Graduates will have to choose between working in small start ups with crazy innovative ideas or in big pharmaceutical companies. Many will also develop modern science at Universities or other research institutions. However, there are several other options like science communication or technology assessment.
Master's program in Synthetic Biology (teaching language English)
The English-language Master's program in Synthetic Biology teaches students about various methods and approaches in synthetic biology that enable biological systems to be equipped with novel molecular functionalities. With this new course, TU Darmstadt is forging a link between the life sciences and engineering. The aim of synthetic biology is to construct new biomolecular systems with innovative properties. It takes an engineering approach and generates functionalities in cellular and cell-free systems by coupling simple, well-characterised molecular building blocks. The programme is aimed at bachelor graduates in biology and related disciplines who wish to further their scientific education in an interdisciplinary and international environment. The practical and research-oriented Master's programme is divided into four semesters. The first semester is an orientation semester.
The MSc in Synthetic Biology is the first of its kind in Europe. Graduates will uniquely combine expertise from the engineering sciences with the life sciences and bring a new constructive, engineering mindset to biology. Given the foreseeable significant increase in the importance of the life sciences, such profiles will be in high demand in academia and industry and will be crucial for the transition to a sustainable, climate-friendly economy.