Application and Admission

Application and Selection

The academic program starts with the winter term (mid-October) of each year, admission is by competitive application, the online application gateway is open every year from Feb. 1 to March 15.
For details about the application and selection procedures, necessary documents etc., please read "How-to-apply" and the University's FAQs as well as the supplementary information for Major Cancer Biology applicants:

Special requirements for Major Cancer Biology applicants


Applicants to the Master Program Molecular Biosciences with a preference for Major Cancer Biology are expected to have finished their studies in the field of biosciences with excellent degrees. Their special interest in cancer biology and the DKFZ should be explained in detail in the 'Letter of Motivation' that is a required document in the application process. Further important issues in our evaluation process are the candidate's scientific basis (research experience, special scientific courses, stays abroad, relevant activities in companies), stipends & honours, description of future plans, but we also consider extracurricular activities, social engagement, etc.

If your Bachelor degree is not in the field of biosciences but, for example, medicine, pharmacy, chemistry, etc., this may not have adequately prepared you for our study program. In such cases it is especially important to document to our Selection Committee the contents of your education and whether you have taken additional courses in relevant biological subjects to catch up.
You may also have a look at the students' profiles on our websité to learn about bachelor degree subjects that have been successfully admitted to our program in the past.

Of course, we highly welcome applications from international students who all must meet the same standards of excellence during the evaluation process. The minimum degree for admission to the selection procedure is 2.4 according to the German grade system. International academic degrees, from an accredited institution of higher education, must be equivalent to a German BSc; this will be evaluated and grades will be transformed during the validation procedure by the International Relations Office of the University of Heidelberg, in accordance with the guidelines of Anabin (refer to to learn about the equivalency of your academic education and degree).

If you already hold a Master degree that would enable you to apply for a PhD program directly please consider carefully whether you really wish to apply to our program.

Please understand that we do not have the capacitiy to do pre-evaluations to decide whether a candidate's application would potentially be successful!

2021 Calendar of Application and Selection for October intake

(the following links will only become activated during the application/selection period; exact dates of the various steps will be added at the time; changes caused by Corona pandemic restrictions may apply at any time)

Step 1: Submission of online application

Important! - Note added on 10th February:

Heidelberg University has decided to change their policy regarding the required format for application documents for the current 2021 application/selection round:

All applicants are allowed to submit their University diplomas, transcripts, etc. as simple photocopies/scans from the original, an official certification is not required. Authenticity will be checked after admission during the enrollment period.

Supplementary information for Major Cancer Biology applicants

Step 2: Shipment of all required application documents to the University of Heidelberg by postal mail

Step 4: Evaluation and Pre-Selection within Major Cancer Biology [month of April]

Note to all applicants with a preference for Major Cancer Biology:

If you did not receive an invitation e-mail from us on 27. April this means that unfortunately your pre-evaluation ranking was not high enough to place you on the short-list and that your application is no longer considered for Major Cancer Biology. We are very sorry about this but please understand that again competition was extremely strong, decisions were really hard to take and the results again very tight, but there is a point were we have to make a cut-off as, in the end, we have only 24 places to fill so regrettably a lot of very fine candidates cannot be invited.

But maybe the Major of your alternative preference will invite you!? Please follow the process on the University's admission page.

Step 5: Short-listed candidates are interviewed [interview period: 3.-14. May]

University Admission for Master program Molecular Biosciences:

Admission letters are sent by the University of Heidelberg's national (ZUV) and international (AAA) academic offices, by postal mail (candidates residing in Germany) or via personal HeiBox download (international candidates; additionally by postal mail if requested by the candidate)

Cost/Tuition Fees

University fees
All students must pay a standard fee of 171,75 €/semester to the student union for common facilities, administration and Studentenrat. There is no difference in fees between German, EU, and non-EU students.
The contribution consists of the following individual fees:

  • EUR 70 for Administrative costs
  • EUR 54 for Social contribution for student services (Studierendenwerk)
  • EUR 10 for the Constituted student body
  • EUR 37.75 for the complementary financing of Public Transportation services (regional transit pass "Semesterticket" and Nextbike)

Tuition fees for international students
As of Winter semester 2017/18, tuition fees amounting to 1,500 €/semester for both Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes at higher education institutions in Baden-Württemberg, to which the University of Heidelberg belongs, have been introduced by the Ministry of Education for international students from non-EU/EEA countries and international students without a German university-entrance qualification ("Abitur") from Germany or a German school abroad.


Further information, legal definitions, exemption possibilities

Financial Support for MSc students with Major Cancer Biology

The Helmholtz International Graduate School for Cancer Research (HIGS) of the German Cancer Research Center DKFZ has been able to offer a limited number (max. 4/year) of competitive MSc fellowships to outstanding applicants from all over the world, enabling them to enroll in the MSc program Molecular Biosciences with Major Cancer Biology. Continuation of this fellowship program is expected for the next selection round in spring 2021.

The DKFZ HIGS MSc fellowships include the following benefits:

Finanical support:

Amount: approximately 8000 € per year (minimum)
Duration of the support: 18 months (resulting in a total support of approx. 12,000 € [minimum])
(for further details and conditions see explanations and requirements as outlined on the Application Form)

Associate Member status at the Helmholtz International Graduate School for Cancer Research (HIGS) of the German Cancer Research Center during the time of your MSc program.

This includes:
- Access to advanced PhD training courses offered by HIGS
- Access to extracurricular and extramural activities offered by HIGS
- Access to the DKFZ-HIGS Career Service

As only a very limited number of students can be supported, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply to other funding agencies, for example DAAD, in parallel!


Application Form for financial support program for students in Major Cancer Biology

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