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The Major "Cancer Biology", which is part of the Master Program "Molecular Biosciences" of the Faculty of Biosciences, University of Heidelberg, has been designed to cover all relevant aspects of cancer research. It offers an outstanding environment for Master thesis research and, at a later stage, also for doctoral thesis research. It provides splendid interdisciplinary training and research opportunities in basic, translational, and clinical cancer research. The fields which are covered include molecular and cellular tumor biology, biophysics and medical physics, structural and functional genomics and proteomics, systems biology, tumor immunology, tumor virology, tumor epidemiology, toxicology, and translational oncology.

Many DKFZ laboratories are incorporated into our innovative Major "Cancer Biology" Program. This allows the students to experience cutting edge science and to interact with internationally leading scientists at a very early stage of their career.

General Organization

The regular study program comprises 4 semesters

Schedule and Calendar

heiCO calendar (in progress)

new system heiCO: Heidelberg Campus Online

Heidelberg University is in the process of installing a completely new administrative system, which from summer term 2024 on will replace the previously used calendar and announcement system for teaching modules, LSF.
Use the link on the right for an overview of the courses offered by Major Cancer Biology in the summer term 2024 via the new heiCO system (note: registration for courses is not yet possible via heiCO).

LSF calendar (expiring soon)

previous system LSF:
Teaching, studies and research - Information system of the University of Heidelberg

Special Note on Modalities

Major Cancer Biology is currently not affected by the Corona pandemic:

  • all lectures and practical courses are back to in-person in-classroom teaching
  • access to DKFZ is no longer restricted to fully vaccinated individuals; infected individuals have a 7-day access ban
  • standard safety and hygiene concepts must be obeyed

Semester 1: 'Frontiers in Biosciences' (Winter Term 2023/2024)


"Crash Course"

  • Theoretical and Practical Training in Basic Laboratory Methods and Techniques  - mainly for incoming students with little practical experience in standard molecular biological methods
  • Participants are identified and assigned to the course during the Welcome Events
  • Dates and location: week 23.-27. October 2023, DKFZ Teaching Lab
  • Instructors: Dr. Richard Harbottle and his team from the DNA Vector Lab

Lecture Series and Tutorials on Molecular Biosciences

mandatory for all Master students of all Majors, centrally organized by the Faculty of Biosciences

  • 1st Lecture period (Frontiers I):
    18. October - 5. December 2023 [lectures paused: 1-7. and 22.-28. Nov.]
    date of written exam: 18. December 2023; retake: date t.b.d./t.b.a.
  • 2nd Lecture period (Frontiers II):
    8. January - 8. March 2024
    Week 1: Core Competencies: i.a. Epigeum Course: Research Integrity, responsible conduct of research; Science Communication, Ethics and statistics, the replication crisis (mandatory attendance)
    Weeks 2 - 9: all 7 Majors of the program organize 2-week modules ("Minors") of lectures and tutorials (choice of two topics, preferably different from their own Major, is mandatory for all students)

Lectures and tutorials take place from 8:15 - 9:45 am; mode: in-classroom

3-week Practical Courses with Student Seminars

Detailed Descriptions of Practical Courses

two out of seven are mandatory for each student, one before (module Frontiers-I) and one after (module Frontiers-II) the Christmas break

  • HP-F1: Molecular, Genetic and Bioinformatic Approaches in Cancer Research
    date: 20. November - 15. December 2023 [pause: 4.-8. Nov.]
    capacity: 8 students
  • HP-F2: Applied Tumor Immunity, Bioinformatics, and Stress Response in Stem Cells
    date: 8. November - 1. December 2023 [pause: 13.-17. Nov.]
    capacity: 8 students
  • HP-F3: Epitranscriptomics, Crystallography, and Organoid Cancer Models
    date: 30. October - 8. December 2023 [pauses: 6.-10. Nov., 20. Nov. - 1. Dec.]
    capacity: 8 students


  • HP-F4: Biomedical Imaging and Radiation Oncology
    date: 8.-26. January 2024
    capacity: 8 students
  • HP-F5: Advanced Methods in Cell Biology
    date: 29. January - 16. February 2024
    capacity: 8 students [4 Major Cancer Biology + 4 Major MCB]
  • HP-F6: 'Oncolytic Viruses' and 'Gene Therapy'
    date: 22. January - 2. February 2024 + 19.-23. February 2024
    capacity: 6 students
  • HP-F7: Transcriptional and Translational Control of Cell Fate
    date: 19. February - 8. March 2024
    capacity: 6 students

Semester 2: 'Focus Bioscience' (Summer Term 2024; will be continuously updated)

Module 1: Molecular Mechanisms of Cancer

Lecture Series and Tutorials on "Molecular Principles of Cancer Development"

Schedule of Lecture Series

Lecture period: 8. April - 17. May 2024

Lectures and tutorials take place from 8:15 - 9:45 am

Location: Buchleither Seminar Room, TP3 Bldg., INF 580

The lecture series recapitulates various chapters of the book "The Biology of Cancer" by Robert Weinberg.

Date of written examination: Wednesday 29th May 2024, 10:00-12:00 (exam time: 90 min)

3-week Practical Courses with Student Seminars

Detailed Descriptions of Practical Courses

one course is mandatory for each student

  • HP-F8: Components and Mechanisms of Signal Transduction; 15. April - 17. May 2024 (capacity: 8 students + 2 from Major MCB)
  • HP-F9: Cancer Genomics, Proteomics and Murine Tumor Models; 3 planning days ahead in March/April, 12 practical days in the period 8. April - 17. May 2024 (capacity: 8 students)
  • HP-F10: Epigenomics and Cancer; 22. April - 10. May 2024 (capacity: 8 students)

Module 2: Tumor Immunology, Virology and Cancer

Lecture Series and Tutorials on "Tumor Immunology and Tumor Virology"

Lecture period:
10. - 28. June 2024 (Tumor Immunology lectures)
1. - 26. July 2024 (Tumor Virology lectures)
Lectures and tutorials take place from 08:15 - 09:45

Location: various DKFZ and TP3 seminar rooms

Date of written examination: Friday 2nd August 2024, 10:00-12:00 (exam time: 90 min)

3-week Practical Courses with Student Seminars

Detailed Descriptions of Practical Courses

one course is mandatory for each student

  • HP-F11: Tumor Heterogeneity and Proteomics; 17. June - 9. July 2024 (capacity: 8 students)
  • HP-F12: Immunological Methods; 17. June - 5. July 2024 (capacity: 8 students)
  • HP-F13: Molecular and Immunological Methods in Tumor Virology; 8. - 26. July 2024 (capacity: 8 students)

Semester 3: 'Biolab' and 'Working in Bioscience'

Overview and Descriptions of "Biolab" and "Working in Bioscience" Internship offers (selection)

Each student undertakes two lab internships - regular minimum duration: 6 weeks lab work (expendable for up to 6 months), followed by report writing time - that consist of a small, hypothesis-driven scientific research project, either in the laboratory of a Major Faculty member (Module 'Biolab'; for choice of supervisor see "Faculty" list in the navigation bar on the left), or in the context of another Major, within a foreign research program, or in a company with oncological research (Module 'Working in Bioscience').

Both projects can be done within the Major, only one of them can be done externally.

External projects require the approval of the Coordinator.

Semester 4: 'Master Thesis and Oral Defense'

The Module 'Masters Thesis Work' lasts six months and is done in the laboratory of one of the teachers in the Cancer Biology program. You undertake a laboratory research project relevant to the Major, write a thesis, and defend it in an oral presentation.

> Do you have questions?

If you did not find the desired information on our websites please send an e-mail with your specific inquiry.

contact the Administrative Office

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