M.Sc. in Life Science Informatics
FAQ for Applicants
This section will present some frequently asked questions on topics related to the programme and the application process.
Suggested Introductory Literature
Arthur M. Lesk
Introduction to Bioinformatics
Oxford University Press; 3rd Revised edition (REV). (20/03/2008)
Am I eligible?
You are eligible, if you have earned a first university degree from one of the following areas:
- Computer science
- or a degree from a related course of study.
Is the focus of the Programme on Mathematics/Computer Science or on the Life Sciences?
The focus of this programme is clearly set on Computer Science (programming, algorithmic concepts) and Mathematics. These subjects will make up a substantial part of your studies and your chances to be elected will strongly depend on your past performance in both disciplines from school on.
If you are a life scientist and mathematics was not your favourite topic at your university studies you should re-consider your application for this programme. If you are in doubt, please do not hesitate to contact us.
If you are a computer scientist or mathematician you should have a clear and dedicated interested in the Life Sciences. Again: If you are in doubt, please do not hesitate to contact us.
I have not received the final transcripts yet. Can I apply?
Yes, you can. Please submit all the preliminary and/or intermediate transcripts you have.
What are the general criteria for acceptance?
There are two skill sets which are considered. These are the general skills and the specific skills.
General Skill Set
- excellent learning skills
- substantial interest in science (with an emphasis in the natural sciences)
- highly motivated to learn
- being curious and open-minded
Specific Skill Set
- excellent record in the life sciences from school on
- excellent record of mathematics and/or computer science from school on
- excellent record in the life sciences on the university/college level
- excellent record in mathematics and/or computer science on the university/college level
What is a Statement of Purpose?
The Statement of Purpose is a first sample work with which you present yourself as an applicant to the review committee. You should describe your motivation for studying Life Science Informatics.
The Statement of Purpose should have a maximum of two pages, not more. You should demonstrate that you are able to meaningfully present scientific ideas and convey them in an appropriate scientific language to the review committee.
Here are some ideas of topics that could be included in the Statement of Purpose:
- What brought you to Life Science Informatics?
- What interests do you particularly have in this research area?
- Do you have already any publications in this or a related field?
- Have you attended any courses/conferences focusing on Life Science Informatics?
- Do you have any particular scientific interests? If so, which are these and how are they related to Life Science Informatics and your previous studies?
Why is an English test a mandatory requirement for admission?
The entire programme is taught in English. We want to make sure that difficulties with English as medium of instruction are avoided. This will enable you to completely focus on the subjects taught. This master's programme is aimed at centering on problems of Life Science Informatics and not on language problems.
English was medium of instruction. Do I still need to take an English test?
Yes, you will have to. TOEFL and IELTS are the only tests we accept. The test result must not be older than two years.
Here are the minimum requirements for the English tests:
TOEFL paper-based: 550
TOEFL computer-based: 213
iBT TOEFL: 80
6.0 in the overall band, and no single result below 6.0
You need to take one of the two English tests mentioned above.
Applicants who have graduated from universities/colleges from one of the following countries are exempted from an English test:
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
- New Zealand
Do I need to take the GRE (Graduate Record Examination)?
No, the GRE is optional. It can support your application.
Is a specific format or template required for the CV?
No, there is no specific format or template that is required. But there are some issues that you could consider when you prepare your CV as it is another sample work that should recommend you.
Make sure that your CV contains relevant information for your application in the Master's Programme of Life Science Informatics. Relevant topics may include:
- information about your education at school
- information about your academic education at university or college
- information about your activities to get in touch with the field of Life Science Informatics, such as the attendance of conferences/courses, internships etc.
- list of publication(s) (if available)
- list of talks you have given at conferences/meetings
- your extracurricular activities
Make also sure that the information in your CV is clearly arranged and presented in a meaningful way. It should support your application for the Master's programme of Life Science Informatics. Being able to convey biographical, educational and scientific information in a meaningful way is a skill that will speak for you and will recommend you to the review committee.
After the ranking of all incoming applications the most successful applicants will be invited to an interview with a member of the Life Science Informatics faculty. The interview can be on-site (for applicants from Germany or or neighbouring countries) or can be carried out via Skype (Skype interview). In this interview you will discuss with a staff member about the following topics (list is not comprehensive!):
- What motivated you to apply for Life Science Informatics?
- What raised your interest in the area where you obtained your Bachelor's Degree/ first university degere?
- What is Life Science Informatics in your opinion?
- How would you relate the area of Life Science Informatics to your previous studies?
As can be seen from the topics listed above, the interviewee will discuss his or her previous and future scientific education with a staff member of the programme.
There are subsequently no right or wrong answers and the interview is no exam.
Letter of Recommendation
The Letter of Recommendation has to meet the following formal requirements and to cover the following topics:
- Issued by a university professor
- Written on paper with the institutional letter head
Topics to be covered:
- How long has the issuer known you?
- Which classes did he/she teach you?
- When (in which year, semester) did he/she teach you these classes?
- Assessment of your mastery of basic knowledge in the field
- Familiarity with and ability to use laboratory techniques (if applicable)
- Adaptability to new practices
- Willingness and ability to work hard
- Potential for future growth in science
Any more questions?
If there are any more questions, do not hesitate to contact us.