Bachelor & Master Chemical Biotechnology
with the focus on: Chemistry – Molecular Biology – Process Engineering
One of the key technologies for making industrial processes more ecological and cost-effective and developing renewable raw materials for industrial use is industrial biotechnology, more appropriately referred to as chemical biotechnology. It uses biochemical, chemical, microbiological and process engineering methods to produce organic basic and fine chemicals using optimized enzymes, cells or microorganisms. By replacing conventional industrial processes with biotechnological processes and using biological raw materials instead of fossil raw materials, both energy requirements and the use of raw materials can be minimised or put on a bio-based basis. Process development in biotechnology requires the interaction of biology, chemistry and process engineering.
This complex topic calls for new scientists and technologists who are able to work on an interdisciplinary basis and master the challenges of process engineering as well as economic and ecological aspects thanks to their expertise in the field of scientific fundamentals. The aim of the course is to gain comprehensive knowledge in the field of biotechnological chemical-material conversion processes by combining chemistry, engineering and biosciences (areas of focus: Enzyme Engineering / Metabolic Engineering). By being able to choose modules from the field of economics, among other things, the specialist knowledge can be placed in a larger, economic context.
Bachelor Chemical Biotechnology
Standard Duration of Studies
(Number of Semesters) / Credits
- 6 semesters / 180 credits, full-time studies
- Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.)
Start of Degree Program
- Winter Semester (October)
- 15 May to 15 July
Required Language Proficiency
Language of instruction
The Bachelor’s programme in Chemical Biotechnology requires a general higher education entrance qualification or a subject-specific higher education entrance qualification in the fields of technology or agriculture, biotechnology and environmental technology.
Costs per semester/financing
In the first two semesters mathematical, scientific and economic basics are taught. Starting in the third semester, students will deepen their knowledge in engineering and natural science subjects (technical basics, chemical-chemical use, biological basics) as well as in economic topics (economics and economic policy, circular economy, management). In the fifth semester, a focus can be set on the basis of optional modules. The interdisciplinary elective module in the sixth semester combines two departments in order to work on concrete problems in a structured and interdisciplinary way. The course concludes with a Bachelor’s thesis.
- Subject Examination and Study Regulations (only in German)
- Course Documentation (only in German)
- Module Plan (only in German)
- Module Manual
Mathematics | Microeconomics | General Chemistry | Physics | Cell and Microbiology | Environmental Management
Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry | Statistics | Introduction to Computer Science | Macroeconomics | Advanced Microeconomics | BWL 1 – Controlling and Supply Chain
Green Chemistry | Fundamentals of Thermodynamics | Forestry and Wood | Production of Biogenic Resources | BWL 2 – Accounting and Entrepreneurship | Material Flow Analysis and Life Cycle Assessment
Methods of the Empirical Bioeconomy | Introduction to Environmental and Resource Economics | Policy and Innovation | Circular Economy | Resource and Energy Management
Bioprocess Engineering | Management Science for Bioeconomy | Elective Modules (total 20 ECTS)
Evidence-based Management and Policy | Governance of the Bioeconomy | General Elective Module (total 5 ECTS) | Bachelor’s Thesis
Competences and skills
In concrete terms, graduates of the Bachelor’s programme in Chemical Biotechnology acquire the following skills:
- they master mathematical and scientific methods in order to abstract and analyse problems in their basic structure
- they have comprehensive engineering and scientific basic knowledge and know methods for analysis, modelling, simulation and design and are able to apply them
- are able to carry out experiments independently and interpret the results
- they have acquired a holistic problem-solving competence in order to be able to successfully deal with synthesis problems under balanced consideration of technical, economic, ecological, social and ethical boundary conditions
- they have become acquainted with selected fields of technology and have built a bridge between engineering and natural science basics as well as occupational field-related applications
- they have acquired non-technical qualifications by way of example and are thus sensitised to the non-technical requirements of a vocational activity
- they are able to plan projects independently due to their interdisciplinary knowledge in the field of chemical biotechnology and are able to take up a correspondingly oriented professional activity in industry and research
For the rapidly growing tasks in bioeconomics, university graduates with interdisciplinary understanding are needed. Bioeconomics graduates can support and shape a sustainable bio-based economy. In addition The complex conversion of the raw material base from fossil resources to renewable raw materials in energy production and the chemical industry is a major challenge. Bio-economists are in demand in areas that deal with the production, use and economy of biogenic resources as well as with the establishment of sustainable processes.
Master Chemical Biotechnology
Standard Duration of Studies
(Number of Semesters) / Credits
- 4 semesters / 120 credits, full-time studies
- Master of Science (M.Sc.)
Start of Degree Program
- Winter semester
- Summer semester
- Winter semester 2020/21: 01.04. – 31.05.
- Summer semester 2021: 01.10. – 15.01.
Required Language Proficiency
Language of instruction
Students should have a broad and integrated knowledge and understanding of at least two of the three fields of biology, chemistry and engineering. Since the programme is also aimed at international students and therefore all compulsory modules as well as some optional modules of the programme are only offered in English, a good knowledge of English is required.
Costs per semester/financing
- Subject Examination and Study Regulations (only in German)
- Course Documentation
- Module Plan
- Module Manual
Applied Microbiology and Metabolic Engineering | Enzymatic Biotransformations | Conceptual Design of Bioprocesses | Specialized and interdisciplinary elective modules
Artificial Intelligence for Biotechnology | Summer school: Advanced scientific planning based on current research | Specialized and interdisciplinary elective modules
Research internship | Specialized and interdisciplinary elective modules
Subject-specific optional modules
Micro- and Molecular Biology
Enzymes Engineering | Genetic Engineering and Synthetic Biology | Methods of Synthetic Biology | Regulation of Microbial Metabolism | Plant Biotechnology
Chemistry of Enzymes | Glycomics | Interfacial Chemistry | Sustainable Chemistry | Phytopharmacy and Natural Products
Advanced Downstream Processing | Biorefinery | Electrolyte thermo-dynamics | Gas-based bioprocesses | Mechanical Process Engineering, Plants and Equipment
Comprehensive specialist knowledge / specialisations
Advanced Analytics for Biotechnol-ogy | Advanced Concepts of Bioin-formatics | Electrobiotechnology | Biological materials in nature and technology | Materials science
External and general education modules such as languages and soft skills round off the profile of the Master’s programme.
Competences and skills
After completion of the studies one possesses a basic technical and methodical knowledge and understanding of the field of chemical biotechnology. For example, you will be able to apply biotechnological methods, test or modify isolated enzymes and entire microorganisms, participate in the development of biocatalysts and plan biotechnological equipment and plants. In addition, one can get to know the field of electrobiotechnology and acquire knowledge in the field of materials science.
One is also able to directly methodically apply the current approaches dealt with in the modules with the aid of the corresponding specialist literature, i.e. to further optimise an existing fermentation process on the basis of literature data, for example. Furthermore, one is able to identify problems independently and to develop suitable ways for the processing of the corresponding research ideas via the appropriate selection of research methods.
In addition, as a graduate you can combine your engineering and natural science basics with professional applications. Thus, thanks to his interdisciplinary knowledge in the field of chemical biotechnology, he is able to initiate research projects, plan independently and, depending on the field of activity, develop new biobased products/active substances or new processes for the production of these biobased products or new processes for the recycling of waste products.
The company is also prepared to transfer processes developed in the laboratory to large-scale production.
You can work successfully in a research group, critically question and communicate your research results and deal early with the different perspectives and interests on the topic of sustainability and how these are to be taken into account in the biotechnological development of products.
After all, by taking interdisciplinary elective modules, one acquires non-technical qualifications and is thus sensitised to the non-technical requirements of a professional activity.
After graduating, students will have comprehensive specialist and methodological knowledge and an understanding of the field of chemical biotechnology. Sufficient practical training sensitizes and prepares students for their professional environment and the interdisciplinary diversity prepares them for different professional fields. Depending on the field of activity, graduates develop, for example, new bio-based products/active substances, new processes for the production of these bio-based products or new processes for the recycling of waste products. The degree qualifies for a doctorate in a field of biotechnological research. The path to biotechnological industry is also open to one. The biotechnology sector is constantly growing in terms of total turnover, the number of companies as well as the number of employees. The declared political consensus to support a progressive structural change towards a biobased economy is expected to lead to further growth in this sector.
FAQ Application and Enrollment
FAQ Master Chemical Biotechnology
- What are the requirements for the Master
The Master has the following qualification requirements:
- at least 140 credits earned in a Bachelor’s degree; the Bachelor’s should ideally cover two of the three fields of biology, chemistry and process engineering
- adequate knowledge of the English language (proof through a test, if you have not already studied your Bachelor’s degree in English or Bachelor Thesis in English or 12 ECTS in English)
- if you do not have any knowledge of German, you must take a German language course within the first year of your studies
- I want to apply for next year winter semester. How do I go about it? (is it an online application or through Uniassit)
You should apply online (https://www.tum.de/en/studies/application-and-acceptance/online-application/) and via uni-assist (https://www.tum.de/en/studies/application/uni-assist/) at the same time.
The application portal for the winter semester opens on January 1 and is open until May 31, for the summer semester it is open on October 1 until January 15.
- How do I apply correctly
Please go to: https://www.tum.de/en/studies/application-and-acceptance/online-application/. Then scroll down to: Start the online application and then click on “online application” to open the corresponding link.
Once you have gone through all the points in the application, you can download the application for admission as a pdf file, print it out, sign it and upload the signed application back into the application as a scan.
- What documents are required for an application
For the admission to the study program you need the following documents (everything can be uploaded to the applicant account):
- Application for admission
- Identity card
- Subjects and transcript of grades from previous studies (certified copy) - English language certificate (English language Bachelor or 12 credits from English language modules or Bachelor thesis in English or TOEFL or IELTS or Cambridge Main Suite)
- Complete and up-to-date curriculum vitae
- Letter of motivation
- Preliminary examination documentation (VPD) or confirmation of the application for VPD in due form and time by uni-assist e.V.
- Should applicants who have acquired their academic qualifications (e.g. a Bachelor’s degree) in a country outside the EU/EEA apply via uni-assist or online
You should apply via both at the same time.
- When are the respective application periods
Summer semester: 1 October to 15 January
Winter semester: 1 January to 31 May 2020
- I have written my thesis in English, but it is not yet finished by the end of the application period. Can I still apply for the Master’s degree with it?
No. If the English-language thesis is to count as proof of language ability, it must be completed by the end of the application period.
- Is there a restriction on application via Numerus Clausus (NC) or GPA?
No. However, the better your bachelor’s degree matches the master’s degree in chemical biotechnology, the less decisive the final grade will be, there is no special requirement for the GPA.
You get up to 20 points for the motivation letter, up to 45 points for the grade (German System: 1,0 = 45 points, 1,1 = 43,5 points …. 4,0 = 0 points) and up to 35 points for the course-specific knowledge.
If you gain 70 points or more, you are admitted and between 50 and 69 points you have an interview (stage 2 of the qualifying procedure). Less than 50 points means that you are not admitted.
- How is the course-specific knowledge calculated or how is it classified
for the points in course-specific knowledge we compare the catalogue of compulsory courses of our Bachelor Chemical Biotechnology (see below) with all the courses you performed in your bachelor and you get points for courses with equivalent contents (max. 134 points). Let´s say two third of your courses are equivalent (you achieve 90 points), then its calculated as follows: (90 : 134) x 35 = 23,5 (we round up), so you will get 24 points for your course-specific knowledge.
Group of subjects Credits TUM Basics
(Mathematics (5), Physics (5), Statistics (5), Foundations of Computer Science (5)
(General Chemistry (5), Physical Chemistry (5), Practical course General Chemistry (5), Organic Chemistry (5), Practical course Organic Chemistry (6), Instrumental Analysis and Spectroscopy (8), Advanced Organic Chemistry(5)
39 Molecular biology
Cell- and Microbiology (5), Practical course Microbiology (6), Bioinformatics (5), Biochemistry (5), Practical course Biochemistry (6), Molecular biology and Genetics (8), Enzymes and their reactions (5)
40 Process engineering
Mixture thermodynamics and mass transfer (5), Chemical reaction engineering (5), Fluid separation processes (5), Practical course Process Engineering (5), Bioprocess Engineering (5), Practical course Bioprocess Engineering (5), Process design project (5)
35 Sum 134
- With a grade point average worse than 2.5, do I have a chance
With an average worse than 2.5, the maximum level in the aptitude test is 2.
- Is an internship required for the application
No, an internship is not required for the application for the Master’s Degree in Chemical Biotechnology.
- My university has a different evaluation system (Cumulative GPA). Is that enough for the application?
All you need for your application is a confirmation that you have completed 140 credits of your Bachelor’s degree. If a different credit system than at TUM applies, this will of course be taken into account.
- Does the transcript of records have to be addressed to the TUM?
No, all that matters is that it is signed by your university.
- Is an aptitude test required in which my knowledge in the fields of biology, chemistry and process engineering is assessed?
No, there is no aptitude test. However, if you are placed in application level 2, a personal interview will take place.
- I am at application level 2 and would need to prepare for my visa application. Can the interview date be brought forward?
We try to offer a date for the interviews before the application deadline, but if it is already full, you will have to wait until after the application deadline. For the winter semester the application deadline is May 31st, for the summer semester January 15th.
- What topics are addressed in the interview?
During the interview you will be asked again about your motivation for the Master’s programme in Chemical Biotechnology. In addition, you will be asked some questions on basic knowledge in the field of molecular and microbiology as well as process engineering. For example, you will be asked which methods you have already mastered in these areas.
- I have only just graduated and will not receive the certificate for a year, but I have a certificate of results. Is that sufficient
It is sufficient for admission and enrolment. It should only be an official document of the university with stamp and signature.
- In which language are the modules of the Master of Chemical Biotechnology taught?
All compulsory modules are taught in English.
- I have no or no knowledge of German. Should I be worried
The compulsory modules of the Master are in English. Parts of the elective modules are also held in English.
However, it is required that you provide proof of your German language skills within the first year of study.
- I took an IELTS test with 6 points. Is this sufficient for a language certificate
No. The IELTS test requires at least 6.5 points.
- I have studied all Bachelor courses in English. Is a certificate from the university sufficient for the language certificate
Yes, that is sufficient.
- Why do I need a language certificate in German
The German language certificate is only required if your native language is not German. You have the first year of study to submit it.
- What language level does the German language certificate have to meet
An A1 level is required.
- What documents are required for an enrolment?
For the enrolment (2nd step after admission) must be submitted (partial upload, partial original or certified copy):
- Application for enrolment
- Current passport photo
- Certificate of student health insurance (issued by a statutory health insurance company)
- Subjects and grade transcript from previous studies
- (Certificate of completion of studies) – 140 Credits are sufficient
- (Graduation certificate) – 140 Credits are sufficient
- What is the deadline for accepting admission?
There is no proper deadline for acceptance of the admission. It would only simplify our planning considerably if you do not accept the admission too late. However, the deadline for paying the semester fee is September 15th for the winter semester.
- I have already sent the necessary documents for the registration by e-mail. But in TUM online I still get a message that some documents are missing. What could be the reason for this?
The admission of the enrolment must be the original. The final certificate and the previous grade report must be available as certified copies. For this reason you have to send these documents by mail.
The passport photo and the certificate of health insurance are sufficient as upload.
- How can I enroll?
They are automatically enrolled if:
- all documents relevant for registration are available
- the study place was accepted on TUMonline
- the semester fee has been transferred
- I have a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. Which modules do I have to catch up on?
In any case, you must expect that your admission will be tied to passing 2 or 3 basic examinations in biology and process engineering (Bachelor level) in the first year of study.
- I was accepted for the Master. However, I was informed that I need the module ‘Introduction to Process Engineering’ as a prerequisite. How can I fulfill this?
Since the Commission for the qualifying procedure found in your curriculum analysis that you still have knowledge gaps in the area of process engineering, especially in downstream processing, you were required to complete the indicated module within your first year of study.
- I have received admission and modules imposed. Do I have to take these modules?
Yes, you will only be admitted if you take and pass these modules in the first year of study.
- I have received a conditional approval (Introduction to Process Engineering, Chemical reaction engineering and Bioprocess Engineering). Are these exams that I have to take before starting my studies or are these courses that I have to take during my studies?
Due to a lack of previous knowledge in the field of process engineering, you have to take the three modules mentioned above in the first year of the master’s programme. However, Chemical reaction engineering is held in German. Therefore, you will have to work out the script in English yourself.
- Where in TUM online can I find the courses imposed on me?
These courses are listed in the study status/study plan under obligations.
- Are the modules only offered in Straubing? In the module plan it is stated that you can take a semester at another campus.
All modules in the module plan are offered in Straubing. However, if these are not sufficient for you, you can take modules at another campus.
- Regarding the field of Chemical Biotechnology, what are some of the prospective jobs in this field?
The prospective jobs regarding the field of Chemical Biotechnology depend on the field of your specialisation, but I would say that you:
- apply biotechnological methods – these include chemical, biological and process engineering methods
- test genetically modified microorganisms and participate in the development of biocatalysts
- develop and optimize fermentation processes
- plan biotechnological apparatus and plants
- transfer processes developed in the laboratory to the industrial scale
- develop new drugs / new processes for the production of food / new processes for the disposal of waste… (depending on the field of your specialisation)
- I am currently studying for a Master’s degree and may be excluded from it. Can I get modules credited?
Yes, you can have up to 60 credits transferred, provided they match the module descriptions, the only exceptions are the final thesis and project studies
- I wonder if I can enter a professor’s laboratory to do long-term research (two or more semesters), or if entering a laboratory is mandatory for Master students to complete our work?
Yes, this is possible, as there is even the compulsory module “Research Internship Master Chemical Biotechnology” (CS0014) in the Master program. We would like you to do this mainly before you start working, but you can start working earlier if you have collected 60 credits.
- Does the programme work together with industry and provide us with some special internship places, or do we have to look for internship places ourselves?
You will have to search for internal/external internships yourself, but regarding external internships some of our professors have contacts in the industry and can help you with this search.
- Is there a scholarship or financial support?
Please follow this link: https://www.tum.de/en/studies/fees-and-financial-aid/ and please contact the persons mentioned on the respective pages, they can help you with this question.
- For a visa application the German consulate requires the Zulassungsbescheinigung der Universität. However, I am not sure whether both types of documents (Zulassung zur Immatrikulation or Zulassungsbescheid Masterstudiengang Chemische Biotechnologie) are valid for the German consular officer. Can these documents be sent to the German consular officer as Zulassungsbescheid der Universität or do I have to wait for an “official matriculation document”?
We can print out the “Admission Document of the University” as pdf and send it to you.
- When and how can I register for the lectures?
As soon as you are registered (please note that most of the documents for registration have to be sent to TUM by mail in the original or as a certified copy), you can register for courses from October 1 (winter semester) or April 1 (summer semester) at the latest. Registration for courses and examinations is done via TUMonline. You will find corresponding information in the attached IT guide or at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt1N35DWqveSp1XJmhopD9A
- Is it a disadvantage not to be present in the first week of lectures?
Only on the first day the welcome ceremony for the freshmen takes place, on the other days of the week the first courses already take place. However, there are no major disadvantages due to your slightly late start, especially as the materials for the courses are accessible via Moodle.
- Is it possible to do a semester abroad
Due to the small number of compulsory modules, the Master Chemical Biotechnology is very suitable for semesters abroad. Especially for this master’s degree, there are also two places available each summer semester at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.
- Is there a certain number of international students who are accepted
No! A certain point system decides on admission. The bachelor’s degree or specific knowledge in the field of biology, chemistry or process engineering are relevant for admission.
- Which modules include an internship or laboratory work?
In addition to the research internship and the master thesis, the following modules include practical work in the laboratory:
- Applied Microbiology and Metabolic Engineering (compulsory module – WS)
- Enzyme Engineering (elective module – SS)
- Methods of Synthetic Biology (elective module – WS)
- Phytopharmaceuticals and Natural Products (elective module – SS)
- How international are the courses
The majority of students come from abroad.
- Is there a list or similar with topics for the master thesis?
No, for this you have to contact the chair or the professorship.
- Is there a certain number of credits that have to be earned per semester
No. However, if you want to complete the thesis within the standard period of study, we would recommend that you complete about 30 credits per semester.
- Is the Master accredited by IChemE
No, because only one third of the modules come from the engineering field.