Elite Master Program Human Biology

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03 Entrance exam

If you fulfil all requirements (step 01) and you have successfully submitted your online application (step 02), we will invite you to an exam (step 03).

The entrance exam for the master’s program starting in autumn 2024 will in principle take place online and is expected to be scheduled in the first half of April 2024. Applicants will receive detailed information about the entrance exam (modalities, exact date, potential fees for proctoring) with the invitation.

As far as the content of the exam is concerned: The 90 minutes examination will be given in English. It will contain questions about different biological topics regarding the human and molecular biology methods, similar to the online SAT Biology Subject Test. It will consist of multiple-choice questions in the area of biological sciences and human anatomy and physiology. Additionally, you should have a good understanding of principles of health and disease, including cell biology, molecular biology, epigenetics, molecular oncology, cardiovascular diseases, neurobiology and microbiology. The exam questions will be at a bachelor’s level, so any relevant textbook at a bachelor’s level can help you in preparing for the exam. In the following you can find a list with literature recommendations on each topics, and a overview about which topics could be covered in the exam (i.e. not all topics will necessarily be covered, but this list will give you an idea of topics that you could encounter in the exam).

Recommended textbooks:

  • Molecular Cell Biology (eds. Lodish et al)
  • Molecular Biology of the Gene (ed. Watson)
  • Biochemistry (Stryer)
  • Principles of Biochemistry (Lehninger)
  • Cell Biology (Pollard, Earnshaw et al.)
  • Anatomy and Physiology (Tortora and Derrickson)
  • The Human Body (ed. Faller)
  • Color Atlas of Human Anatomy
  • Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain (Bear et al)
  • Animal Physiology (Knut Schmidt-Nielsen)
  • Physiology and Biochemistry of Prokaryotes (ed. White)
  • Biology of Microorganisms (Brock)
  • The Biology of Cancer (Robert A. Weinberg)
  • The Hallmarks of Cancer, Review, Robert A. Weinberg

Overview of topics, which could be covered in the exam:

  • Cell biology: Understanding the structure and function of cells, including their organelles, membranes, and cytoskeleton.
  • Biochemistry: Understanding the chemical processes that occur within cells, including protein synthesis, DNA replication, and metabolic pathways.
  • Genetics: Understanding the principles of inheritance, including Mendelian genetics, DNA structure and function, and gene expression.
  • Molecular biology: Understanding the techniques used to study DNA, RNA, and protein molecules, including PCR, cloning, sequencing, and gene editing.
  • Epigenetics: Understanding the role of epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation and histone modification, in the regulation of gene expression and their contribution to cancer development.
  • Stem cell biology: Understanding of properties and classification, including embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells, and induced pluripotent stem cells. You should also be familiar with methods used to isolate, culture, and differentiate stem cells in vitro, as well as the ethical considerations associated with stem cell research.
  • Microbiology: Understanding the diversity of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi, and their interactions with other organisms.
  • Neuroscience: Understanding the structure and function of the nervous system, including the brain and the mechanisms of synaptic transmission.
  • Tumor biology: Understanding the characteristics of cancer cells, including their abnormal growth, invasion, and metastasis.
  • Oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes: Understanding the role of genes that regulate cell growth and division, and how mutations in these genes can lead to cancer.
  • Signaling pathways: Understanding the basic signaling networks that control cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis, and how they are disrupted in cancer.
  • DNA damage and repair: Understanding how DNA damage and mutations can occur, and how cells respond to these insults through DNA repair pathways.
  • Biostatistics: Understanding the principles of statistical analysis and their application to biological data.
  • Anatomy and physiology of the major human organ systems, including the cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, and digestive systems
  • Pathophysiology of major diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurological disorders
  • Research methods in human biology, molecular biology, cell biology including experimental design and statistical analysis

After you have taken the entrance exam, a combined score is assigned according to your exam grade (70%) and your grade point average from your bachelor’s degree (30%). You will be invited to an interview (step 04) if your combined score is less than or equal to 2.0 (according to the German grading system with 1 being the best and 4 being the minimum pass grade).