Welcome to the Graduate School Life Science Munich: From Molecules to Systems: The Graduate School Life Science Munich (LSM), founded in 2009, offers an international doctoral programme in life sciences covering areas of Anthropology, Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Ecology, Evolution, Genetics, Microbiology, Plant Sciences, Systematics and Zoology to outstanding motivated and qualified researchers.

The programme is taught entirely in English and provides comprehensive scientific training in one of Europe’s top ranking universities. The members of the Graduate School are part of the Faculty of Biology and the Faculty of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmacy of the Ludwig-Maximilans-Universität München (LMU). The faculties are ranked among the top biology and biochemistry educational institutions in Germany.

The research training on a specific project will be supplemented by seminars, retreats, methods courses, training in transferable skills and participation at least in one international conference. The doctoral programme is open for students that hold either a Master or Diploma degree or, in exceptional cases, a 4-year Bachelor degree. Successful students of the graduate school will be awarded a doctoral degree (Dr. rer. nat.) by the LMU after 3 to 4 years. Candidates need to prove a strong qualitative background as well as interest and ability to conduct independent research.

More than 39 research groups, internationally recognized for their innovative research approaches and technologies, form the core faculty of the Graduate School. Using state of the art approaches, these groups aim to answer essential questions relevant to basic and applied biological and biochemical research.

Within their own research group or in collaboration with a specialized research group on campus, LSM doctorates are given the opportunity to learn and command a variety of techniques. Thus, the doctoral students at the LSM are provided with thorough training in advanced methods in life science.

The purpose of the programme is to teach not only the technical expertise necessary for success in research, but also to impart skills that are indispensable for every thoughtful and responsible scientist. The latter include the ability to communicate in simple language, and a willingness to engage with bio-ethical issues and participate in the public discourses they may provoke.

Additionally, in-house German language courses including intercultural aspects are offered for foreign students to facilitate integration. Successful students complete their graduate studies after approximately three to four years and are awarded their doctorate (Dr. rer. nat.) by LMU.

With over 50 research groups from the Faculty of Biology, the Faculty of Medicine, the Veterinary Medicine Faculty, and the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy of Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) München, the LSM in its prominent location within the HighTechCampus in Martinsried south of Munich contributes to the enormous possibilities for support, interdisciplinarity and constant scientific input from the surrounding laboratories.

Available research projects cover areas from Biochemistry, Biophysics, Cell and Developmental Biology, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Microbiology, Pharmacology, and Plant Sciences.

Requirements doctoral programme

If you intend to apply for the doctoral programme at the LSM please take note of the following requirements:

Entry level for doctoral students:

Applicants to the doctoral programme are required to hold either a Master’s degree (MSc) or (a German university Diploma)and/or in exceptional cases a Bachelor’s (BSc) with honours (4-year degree with a written thesis) in biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, medicine or in another related discipline.

If you are an exceptional student with a Bachelor of honours, this must have been awarded with the final grade of first class degree, and in very extenuating cases with an upper second class degree (UK standard). During your BSc (4-year degree) you must have completed a research project with a written thesis, written or oral final examinations and at least six months to one year of advanced course work, respectively.

It is not necessary to hold the BSc/MSc degree at the point of application. However, the degree will have to be awarded before 31.07.2024. A final decision regarding eligibility can only be made after submission of a complete application and requires the approval of university officials.

Language skills:

All courses, lectures, and seminars at the LSM are held in English. Thus, selected candidates have to be fluent in both written and spoken English, proof of proficiency in English will be required. Therefore, a “Test of English as a Foreign Language” (TOEFL) or a test by the “International English Language Testing System” (IELTS) is strongly advised.

You do not need one of these tests if:

  • you are a native speaker of English or;
  • your entire education has been in English;
  • you have studied at least six months at an English-speaking school or university or;
  • you can prove your proficiency in another way (for example, through your German “Abitur” results);

Please note:

These documents are strongly recommended, but not compulsory. They will increase your chances of being positively selected, but they are not a criterion for exclusion.

Degrees of applicants from foreign countries will have to be approved by the admissions and registration office of the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich. Applicants without a German “Abitur” (high-school graduation) or a German university degree are strongly advised to include a GRE subject test in either biochemistry, biology, chemistry, or physics in their application. A GRE subject test is recommended if you come from a non-EU country, as this will strongly support any application.

Recommendation letters:

For your application, two letters of recommendation are mandatory. One of the letters has to be provided by your Bachelor or Master supervisor (whichever is the case of your last degree awarded). The letters of recommendation are submitted electronically by the referees. Further instructions are given in the online application system. Please be aware that your application can only be processed after we have received both letters of recommendation.

All applications which lack these letters will be considered incomplete and will therefore not be processed any further. It is your responsibility to make sure that the referees submit the letters of recommendation to the online portal in due time. The deadline for submitting the recommendation letters is November 6th, at 12:00 o’clock midday CET

Application form

After registration to the LSM online application system, eight different tabs allow you to enter all required information and to upload corresponding documents. Before submission, your personal application form can be revisited and modified at any time. Make sure that your application is complete before you submit by clicking the “submit” button in the upper menu. After submission, you will no longer be able to edit the entries (except name, password and email). However, you will be able to view your submitted data throughout the application process.

The submission of an application is only possible, if all required fields (marked with a yellow triangle) are complete. Non required fields are optional, but it is recommended to fill out all those fields which support your personal application. The more information you provide, the better we will be able to assess your application.

Once you have submitted your application, the LSM coordination office will check whether your application is complete (i.e. check whether you have uploaded all required documents). The status of your application is summarized in the first tab of the application form. Deadline for submitting your application is October 31st , at 12:00 o’clock midday CET.

It is important to choose your programme correctly:

In the general information tab (the first tab), you will be required to choose from two options; internal candidate or external candidate.

For internal candidates, you are applying to the graduate school only, as you have already started your doctoral studies within an LSM group member. Cut off period for internal candidates is 1-year into their project, proof of the 1st TAC must be submitted with the application form!

Documents for the application to LSM doctoral programme.

Required documents are:

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV);
  • Transcript of records (record of study) and degree certificate of bachelor degree (minimum of 240 ECTS points), Vordiplom or equivalent degree;
  • Transcript of records (record of study) and degree certificate of master degree, Diplom or equivalent degree (if applicable). If your degree programme is not yet completed, please provide temporary transcripts;
  • two letters of recommendation (more details see above);
  • High school degree transcripts or equivalent.
  • Letter of Motivation (max 1 DinA4 page) specifically addressing why the selected projects were chosen. Please note that non-specific motivation statements like “LMU is high ranking university” or “ I want to increase my knowledge” are not appropriated.

Recommended documents are:

  • certificate of proficiency in English (recommended if not native English speaker or education was not in English);
  • scholarships, prizes and awards (if applicable);
  • portrait picture (optional);
  • A GRE subject test in either biochemistry, biology, chemistry or physics.  A GRE subject test is recommended if you come from a non-EU country, this will strongly support any application (for applicants from India we also accept GATE).

Selection process:

Applications will be independently reviewed by several faculty members of the Graduate School. Based on academic qualification, research experience, motivation, scientific background and the letters of recommendation, candidates will be selected for the interview days (January 2023).

If you are applying for one of our scholarships, you will have to go through an extra review by an independant panel. Once you are accepted by the LSM Graduate school, you will need to submit another complete application form to the funder of the scholarship, who will make the final selection decision.

Successful applicants will be offered a doctoral study position, which generally is financed by third-party funds of the supervisor. The monthly salary is ca. 1850 EUR. For the scholarships, the monthly salary is between 1200 EUR and 1350 EUR.


Deadline for submitting your application is October 31st , at 12:00 o’clock midday CET.

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