Max Planck School Matter to Life

Max Planck School Matter to Life

The Max Planck School Matter to Life (MPS MtL) is an interdisciplinary, top-class graduate school offering a 5-year Master to PhD Direct track Program. The program is structured in two phases, a two-year master phase at one of our two partner Universities and the subsequent PhD phase, which can be conducted at any of the nearly 50 MPS MtL faculty labs.

To be admitted to the MPS MtL and thus to the 5-year Master to PhD Direct Track program, Bachelor graduates apply for the master program “Matter to Life”, which is offered in three different focus subjects:

  • “Complex Systems and Biological Physics” at the University of Göttingen or
  • “Molecular Systems Chemistry and Engineering” at Heidelberg University

Hence the master phase offers you a unique environment to study in an interdisciplinary setting with students of different scientific backgrounds.

The application portal is open NOW!

The MPS MtL supports students with a generous scholarship, annual MtL Spring & Fall Days, and mentoring by experienced faculty members from the large MPS MtL network.

More about the program

The MPS MtL aims to educate a new generation of scientists who will one day find answers to questions like “What exactly is life?”, “How can life be quantitatively described?” and “How do you best build artificial life?”.

This will be achieved through intense mentoring by an exceptional group of scientists and scholars, and by access to the most advanced instruments for reverse engineering of living systems in Germany; students will learn how to operate these, how to interpret the data, and how to extract the information necessary for making a blueprint of life. Hence, the curriculum has been developed to overcome the traditional borders, which have grown historically between fields. It addresses the roots of life in chemistry and physics, which form the basis for understanding life processes and provide the means to engineer life-related processes.

The curriculum for educating young scientists in the field of Matter to Life will bring together elements from synthesis, structural studies, physical-chemical and biological studies: all fields that were traditionally regarded as distinct disciplines. The curriculum will emphasize – and enable a convergent understanding of – common physical principles, methods, and experimental techniques, thereby allowing students to overcome disciplinary language barriers.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

The MPS MtL is also offering 10 week-long research internships for excellent undergraduates every year within June – November. For more information click here.

The MPS MtL was initiated at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in 2018 by Joachim Spatz, director of the Institute and chair of the MPS MtL. Currently, three directors of the MPI for Medical Research are part of the MPS MTL faculty and support the Max Planck School Matter to Life with their expertise: Stephan Hell (who is also a Fellow of the Max Planck School of Photonics), Kai Johnsson and Joachim Spatz.


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