Molecular and Applied Plant Sciences majorCurriculum

 Heidelberg is home to a very active community of plant researchers that are based at the Centre for Organismal Studies (COS). All researchers involved in MAPS are world renowned leaders in their fields and addresses the global challenges of food security, green technology and climate change. The range of topics studied is wide: sulfur biochemistry, cell wall biology, cellular transport and trafficking systems, stem cell behaviour, root development and plant defences. In this research environment, MAPS has developed into an internationally distinguished master program that provides students from around the world with a high-level education at one of the leading universities in Germany. The MAPS curriculum covers a broad spectrum of topics and is integrally taught in English. The program is focused on intensive stays in the labs. Already by the second semester students spend most of their time actively doing research. The lectures and practical allow students to study the biochemistry, cell biology, physiology or developmental biology of plants using advanced equipment for high-end microscopy, genomics, transcriptomics and metabolomics. A key strength of the program is the international network of academic and industrial host labs that the program has built over the years. This offers many opportunities to our students to discover an even wider range of topics and methodologies.

First semester – Frontiers in Biosciences I & II

[30 Credit points]

Lectures

5 weeks in each module

 

Participants: all students of the Master Molecular Biosciences program
Performance record: written exam in Frontiers I, Presence only in Frontiers II

Seminars

2 x seminars (run in parallel with practical courses):

 

Frontiers:

Molecular Plant Science

introduce recent important discoveries in molecular plant biology, ranging from cell biology, biotechnology and metabolic networks to molecular evolution.

Participants: all students of the Major Molecular Plant Sciences
Performance record: 100% presentation, participation

Practical Courses

Frontiers I + II Courses (combined):

2 x 3-weeks

Participants: all students of the Major Molecular Plant Sciences.

Performance record:  50% lab protocol + 50% lab performance

In the 1st semester students of all majors in the Master Molecular Biosciences program participate in the modules “Frontiers of Bioscience I & II”, providing a strong background in advanced molecular biosciences. Each module consists of a practical course with accompanying seminar and a lecture with accompanying tutorial. The lectures provide the theoretical information and cover a broad range of topics. At the end of Frontiers I  you have to pass a written exam, which is based on the content of the lecture. The results of the written exam as well as the lab and seminar performance contribute to final grade of the module.

Second Semester – Focus Bioscience I & II

[30 Credit Points]

Lecture

5 weeks in each module (topics are listed below)

Participants: all students of the Molecular Plant Sciences Major
Performance record: 100% written exam

Seminar

2 x seminars

Participants: all students of the Molecular Plant Sciences Major
Performance record: 100% presentation

Practical Course

Focus I + II Courses:

2 x  3 weeks minimum long lab rotations in Research Group of choice
(groups have to be selected from Lecturer list in the Major "Molecular Plant Sciences")

Performance record:  50% lab protocol + 50% lab performance

 

The modules “Focus Bioscience I & II” in the 2nd semester have a very similar structure to the “Frontiers” courses, whereas the teaching content is specific to the chosen major. All students of the MPS Major visit the lectures, which are supported by the practical courses, where the topics reflect the particular field of research of the various hosts/lecturers.

Focus  Bioscience I

The following topics will be covered:

  • Methods in Plant Cell Biology
  • Trafficking of Receptors and Transporters
  • Nanosensors for vivo analysis of ions and metabolites
  • Cell Polarity
  • Cellulose and Pectin Biosynthesis
  • Cell mechanics and mechanical signalling
  • Control of cell behaviour in the shoot meristem
  • Evolution of the flower
  • Sexual and asexual plant reproduction through seeds
  • IncRNA and Epigenetics
  • Specification of cell identity in roots

Focus Bioscience II

The following topics will be covered:

  • Chloroplasts
  • Mitochondria and Peroxisomes
  • Analysis and Integration of Metabolism
  • Light Signalling
  • Phytohormone Signaling
  • Strigolactones
  • Brassinosteroids
  • Ethylene
  • Jasmonates
  • Compartimentation of secondary metabolism
  • Cellular redox control
  • ABA

Focus Bioscience I & II - Practical Courses

Focus Biosciences practical courses can be undertaken with all COS groups working on plants or plant cells or with the groups of our cooperation partners. For information on current research topics and open positions please contact your group of interest directly:

COS groups:

  • Michael Büttner
  • Jan Lohmann
  • Thomas Greb
  • Michael Raissig
  • Guido Großmann
  • Thomas Rausch
  • Rüdiger Hell
  • Anja Schmidt
  • Marcus Koch
  • Karin Schumacher

Cooperation partners:

  • Jochen Bogs, DLR, Neustadt
  • Michael Wassenegger, AlPlanta, Neustadt

See Lecturers page for details

It is also possible to do your practical courses with other COS work groups, however this requires prior consultancy of the Major Speaker.

Third Semester – Biolab & Working in Bioscience

[30 Credit Points]

Seminar

“Biolab” Seminar:

Lab seminar in Research Group of choice
(groups have to be selected from Lecturer list in Major “Molecular Plant Sciences")

“Working in Bioscience” Seminar:

Lab seminar in Research Group of choice
(groups have to be selected from Lecturer list in Major “Molecular Plant Sciences")

Performance record: Group seminar presentation

PRActical course

“Biolab” Course:

1 x 6-weeks lab rotations in Research Group of choice
(groups have to be selected from Lecturer list in Major ”Molecular Plant Sciences")

“Working in Bioscience” Course:

1 x 6-weeks lab rotations in Research Group of choice
 (external and abroad possible)

Performance record:  50 % lab protocol + 50 % lab performance

 

During the 3rd semester you take part in the modules “Biolab” and “Working in Bioscience”. These modules deepen your knowledge and experience in Molecular Plant Biosciences and prepare you for the master thesis project. Like in the previous semester you choose two labs for six-week practical courses, where you participate in the current research projects and attend the seminars of your host lab. You conclude the lab rotations with a written lab report.

For the lab rotations the same groups as listed above for the “Focus Biosciences” practical courses are available. One of these lab rotations has to be within the MAPS Major, whereas the other can be done in an external research institution.

Heidelberg offers a vast array of opportunities, please refer to the links to the right.

 Alternatively students can take advantage to gain experience outside of Heidelberg and are highly encouraged to ask our lecturers for contact possibilities with national and international collaboration partners. All external practicals have to be registered in advance with the Major Speaker. and require grading by a MAPS lecturer.

Fourth semester – Master Thesis

Your master studies will culminate in your master thesis project in the lab of your choice. Here you will pursue your own project for six months within the research field of your host group, which you will document in your thesis and present in your final defense.

The final MSc grade is the mean of the grades (points/100) of all modules, weighted according to their respective numbers of credit points (CP).

Modules 1-6: each with 15 Credit Points (each counts once).

Module Masters Thesis/oral defence: 30 Credit Points (counts twice).

Final grade for MSc is calculated as:

((SUM of module 1-6) + (2 x Masters Thesis/oral defence)) / 8