Industrial Biotechnology M. Sc.

Producing plastics from carbon dioxide (CO2), silk with bacteria from renewable raw materials or liquid fuels from organic waste? The Industrial Biotechnology (IBT) program is all about industrial substance production using new biocatalysts and biotechnological processes.

IBT uses enzymes, microorganisms or cells as biocatalysts for industrial substance production. Products include specialty and fine chemicals, agricultural and pharmaceutical precursors, auxiliary materials for the processing industry and, increasingly, large-volume chemical products, materials and fuels. IBT also relies on renewable raw materials to selectively convert them into value-added chemical products using biological systems. As a highly interdisciplinary field, it involves on the one hand the life sciences (molecular biology, biochemistry, microbiology and bioinformatics) to arrive at new biocatalysts. On the other hand, the methods of (bio)process engineering and technical chemistry are required in particular to be able to technically exploit the potential of the newly designed biocatalysts and to arrive at new and sustainable production processes on an industrial scale. Therefore, industrial biotechnology is also considered to be the future technology of the third millennium - it is considered to be of outstanding importance, especially for the European economy.

Your profile

The qualification for the master's program includes a proven qualified bachelor's degree of at least six semesters or an equivalent degree from a German or foreign university in the subjects of biochemistry, (molecular) biotechnology, biology, bioprocess technology, bioinformatics, chemical engineering, chemical biotechnology, technology and biotechnology of food, brewing and beverage technology, renewable raw materials, mechanical engineering, engineering sciences or comparable courses of study. In addition, there is an eligibility process.

What you'll learn

In the fundamental part of the program, students are first introduced to the classical natural sciences of physics and chemistry as well as to mathematics and technical electricity. Students should be able to describe processes both qualitatively and mathematically-quantitatively and to apply laws or formulas to defined problems. 

This is expanded by basic subjects specific to mechanical engineering: Technical mechanics teaches students the ability to independently formulate and solve mechanical problems at an abstract mathematical level. Within the framework of the fundamentals of machine drawing and machine elements, this knowledge is transferred to complex technical drawings, so that students can work out solutions for a production-, load- and assembly-compatible design of components, select suitable machine elements and represent them using CAD systems. Elementary principles of information technology such as computer architecture, the analysis of real-time systems for given control systems and the programming language C are part of the course. On the basis of probability theory, the ability to model engineering problems with consideration of uncertainties is trained. The basic studies are completed by means of the modules materials science, control engineering, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics and heat transport. With this sound knowledge regarding scientific principles, theories and methods, students are able to successfully work on specified problems of mechanical engineering with a clear solution path.

Study information

In the first two semesters graduates with bachelor's degrees in science or engineering are taught the interdisciplinary fundamentals, based on a specially tailored curriculum. The program continues with scientific training in the following four key areas: enzyme engineering, metabolic engineering, bioprocess engineering and bioseparation engineering.

The design of the Industrial Biotechnology master's program (IBT) study program at TUM School of Engineering and Design is unique in Germany and one of the first of its kind in Europe. Successful completion of the Industrial Biotechnology master's program offers graduates a seamless transition to a PhD, especially in the Research Center for White Biotechnology at TUM. Alternatively, graduates of the program can choose from a variety of challenging careers in research and development, production, manufacturing, plant and equipment manufacturing, consultancy and management. In addition to the chemical industry, key industry sectors for graduates of this program include the biotechnology sector, plant and equipment manufacturing the pharmaceutical industry and the environmental technology sector. 

In the first two semesters, the focus is on interdisciplinary expansion and supplementation of existing prior knowledge. For this purpose, an individual study plan is compiled together with a mentor based on the respective bachelor's degree.

Starting in the 2nd and also in the 3rd semester, this is supplemented by subject-specific training in the focus areas of Enzyme Engineering, Metabolic Engineering, Bioprocess Engineering or Bioseparation Engineering.

Through elective modules in the first three semesters, there is also the possibility of supplementing one's own competence profile with content according to one's own interests through content from the wider range of courses offered by TUM or another scientific university.

The program is completed with the Master's Thesis in the 4th semester.

The qualification for the Master's degree program in Industrial Biotechnology must be proven by 

  • a qualified Bachelor's degree of at least six semesters (Bachelor of Science) obtained at a domestic or foreign university or a degree of at least equivalent value in the courses of study Biochemistry, (Molecular) Biotechnology, Biology, Bioprocess Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Energy and Process Engineering, Engineering Sciences, Chemical Biotechnology or comparable courses of study.
  • In addition, students who have earned at least 140 credits in one of the above-mentioned bachelor's degree programs may be admitted to the master's program upon application. The bachelor's degree certificate must be submitted by 5 weeks after the start of lectures for the master's program.

Admission to the program is decided by a two-stage aptitude procedure. The application for admission must be submitted online during the application deadlines. Detailed information on the application can be found under application documents.

In the first stage of the aptitude procedure, an evaluation is carried out based on the following criteria:

  • Average grade of the bachelor's degree certificate or certificate of achievement.
  • Professional qualifications
  • Letter of motivation
  • Points are awarded for the evaluation of professional qualifications by comparing the applicant's competencies with those of a graduate of a comparable course of study at TUM. The learning objectives of the individual modules and their scope (ECTS) are taken into account.

Candidates with very good to good results are admitted directly, those with poor results receive a rejection. All those for whom no clear result can be determined in the first stage go through the second stage of the suitability procedure.

As part of the second stage, candidates are invited to a selection interview lasting approximately 20 minutes. Both the average grade of the Bachelor's degree certificate and the result of the selection interview are equally decisive for the final suitability of the applicant.

After receipt of the complete application documents including the printed and signed application form, applicants will be informed whether they will be admitted to the selection interview or rejected. Suitability interviews for the winter semester take place at the beginning of July and for the summer semester at the beginning of March. The invitation to the aptitude interview will be sent by email at least one week before the interview date.

Mentoring program: Throughout your studies, the head of the program is available to you as a mentor. In consultation with the mentor, you will compile your personal schedule (elective modules) to ensure a meaningful qualifying study plan.

Excursions to scientific conferences, such as the DECHEMA Ascension Conference, are offered on a regular basis.

In addition, students can include an (international) research internship in the curriculum (max 10 ECTS). Students are supported in finding a research internship.

Industrial internships are supported. Evonik Nutrition & Care offers internships especially for students in the IBT program. Further cooperations with industrial companies are being established.

Further information is available by e-mail.