General questions about the EESLMU Master's program
When does the EESlmu Master's program start?
If you apply for the program now and are accepted, you can start in October 2012. Students need to be in Munich by October 1, 2012 for a two-week orientation session. Teaching starts on the 15th of October. The deadline for applications is January 31 for international students, and May 31 for EU citizens.
Is it possible to start in the summer semester?
No, students will only be admitted to the program in the winter semester.
How can I find out more about coursework for the EESlmu Master's program?
Please go to the Courses Overview page for descriptions of all of the EES coursework.
How can I apply for the EESlmu Master's program?
For details on the application process, go to Application Procedure.
Do I need letters of reference for the application?
No, you don't need to send us letters of recommendation. In fact we would have to ignore these letters, because we will not have them from most applicants.
Do I need to take a knowledge test (like the GRE for USA Universities)?
No, you don't need to take any tests (except to prove adequate knowledge of English). What you need to apply is stated on our Application Procedure page.
Do I need to apply to the LMU separately?
No, you don't need to apply to the LMU separately. The EES program and the central admissions office of the LMU collaborate and this means that one application, to the EES program directly, is enough.
Is there an application fee?
No, there is no application fee.
Do I need to get my documents translated into German?
No. When you apply to our program, you will need to include copies of your diplomas and transcripts. If the documents are in a language other than English, German, or Spanish, you must also include English translations.
If you are accepted into our program, we will ask you to mail us certified copies of your official documents (diplomas, transcripts), which we then send to the LMU International Office for approval. At this stage, the following languages are acceptable without translation: English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, or German.
For more information, please see the Application Procedure page of our website.
What is the language of the EESlmu Master's program?
All courses of the EESlmu Master’s program are taught in English.
Do you require German proficiency to be admitted to this program?
No, but you need proof of proficiency in English.
Do I need proof of German proficiency to obtain a visa?
No, to get a visa, you need to be admitted to the university, and for this you do not need proficiency in German. Note that this is only true for English language programs such as the EES program. For other programs, you do need proof of German proficiency.
Can I take a German course while I am Munich?
Yes, you can. Here are some options (the EES has some funding available to support German language instruction - please ask for more details).
A Ph.D. in Munich
If I would want to continue my studies and do a Ph.D. in Munich, how long will this take?
Normally, PhD studies in Germany take three years. So it would take 5 years to complete both the Master's and the Ph.D. In exceptional cases it may be possible to do a fast-track program which would allow you to do a Master's and Ph.D. in 4 or 4.5 years. For the fast-track option, you need to apply to the Graduate School Life Science Munich (LSM). It is possible to apply to the EES Master's program and the LSM at the same time.
Can I apply directly to the EES Ph.D. program?
In February 2009, we started a structured Ph.D. program, but it is not possible to apply directly to the EES Ph.D. program. Also, the EES Ph.D. program doesn't provide scholarships for Ph.D. students. You can only apply to join the Ph.D. program if you are a Ph.D. student with one of the EES professors (see EES People). It is possible (since 2009) to apply once per year to the LSM. In your application you can indicate that you are interested in evolution, ecology and/or systematics.
How can I become a Ph.D. student in evolution, ecology or systematics in Munich?
There are now three ways to become a PhD student in Munich. The first possibility is to apply for a Ph.D. position offered by one of our professors. More than half of our Ph.D. students have such a Ph.D. position. Positions are usually linked to a specific project. They open up at irregular times and are advertised by the individual professors. The second way to become a Ph.D. student is to apply for a grant in your home country or at the DAAD (German academic exchange service). For this you usually have to be in contact with the professor with whom you would like to work. The third way is to apply to the LSM.
Special program for Chinese students who want to do a Ph.D. in Munich
If you are Chinese and you are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. at the LMU, here is information on the Scholarship Program with the China Scholarship Council.
EES novel teaching methods
What is the EESlmu mentor system all about?
Each student in the EESlmu Master’s program will choose a personal mentor from the EES core faculty. Each mentor will meet with his/her students in an informal setting at least twice per semester and will be available to address problems and questions at any time. He or she will advise the student on research and career plans, discuss choices of courses and lab rotations, and mediate in case of conflicts. The mentor can not be the advisor of the Master’s thesis. If the student chooses to conduct a thesis in her or his mentor’s lab, he/she must select a new mentor.
What are Individual Research Training (IRT) modules?
The IRT modules of the EESlmu Master's program are essentially lab rotations that provide students with individualized research experience. There are three such modules (IRT1-3) of increasing scale (6, 8, and 10 credit points out of 30 per semester) in the first three semesters. The fourth semester is entirely devoted to the Master’s thesis.
Each IRT module consists of two elements:
(1) An one-on-one intensively supervised practical course in one of the research groups (“lab rotation”) that includes a small independent research project. (2) A complementary course for learning basic academic skills, including literature searches, presentations, and scientific and grant writing.
In the first semester, one day per week (Wednesday) is explicitly kept free for the lab rotation, but students will be encouraged to come to the lab at any time. In the second and third semesters, students are expected to plan the time for their IRT individually. Students are also encouraged to work on their projects during the semester breaks. IRT rotations can be supervised by any member of the core faculty or the extended faculty (upon application, extended faculty members can also be an advisor of a Master’s thesis). Students will present the results of all projects in a written report and an oral or poster presentation. Each IRT module has a different focus. Please see next section for more information, or click here to see our web page on IRTs.
What are the differences between IRT1, IRT2 and IRT3?
IRT1 “lab report”: The goal of the first semester is to introduce students to a lab environment and research in practice. Students will learn about the motivation and background of the group’s research and the techniques used. They will conduct a small independent experiment that will contribute to that particular lab's broader research interests. They will present the results of their work in a short internal lab talk, which will not be graded. During IRT1, students will write a lab report about the research they conducted in their host lab (sections on: motivation and background, scientific questions, materials and methods, own experiments and results, discussion of preliminary results and further steps). This report will be reviewed and returned for revision by the lab advisor, who acts as the “communicating editor.” Download a PDF listing the IRT1 guidelines.
IRT2 “research paper”: The goal of the second semester is to conduct a larger (semester-long) independent research project, to write a manuscript about it and to present a poster. The second lab rotation must be in a different lab from the first one. Projects will usually be suggested by the lab advisor, but should be developed further by the student. As part of their IRT2, students prepare a short manuscript (abstract to discussion), that is graded by the lab advisor. Students need to revise this manuscript until it is accepted. Students also prepare a poster on their project, which is presented in the poster session of the EESlmu Conference in October (see below). Both, manuscript and poster count towards the grade. Download a PDF listing the IRT2 guidelines.
IRT3 “grant proposal”: For the third lab-rotation, the student should by default choose the research group, where he/she plans to do his/her Master’s thesis. This can be one of the labs visited in the first year, or a new lab. The goal of this semester’s IRT is to prepare and write a grant proposal for a Master’s project. As part of this module, students will take a weekly course on grant-writing, where they will learn about how to write effective proposals. During this semester, students should also collect preliminary data, which should be included in their proposal. The proposal contains all elements of a usual grant application. In particular, it describes the available lab resources and may request a limited amount of extra funding. A total budget of € 4,000 per year will be available. When they submit their grant proposal, students must also submit a letter of support from their lab advisor. Students must also present a 15-minute talk about their proposed research at the IRT3 Conference, which will be attended by the 1st-semester students as well as the IRT3 Committee. This committee is made up of three core EES faculty, who will give each student a grade for the IRT3 (based on their proposal and talk) and will also decide how to allocate the grant funding.
The proposals will be evaluated based on: (1) the intellectual merit of the proposal and (2) the justification of any request for extra funding (“needs”). While the proposal is graded solely according to its merit, the grant money is distributed according to a combination of merits and needs.
Download a PDF listing the IRT3 guidelines.
What is the EESlmu Seminar and Discussion (S&D) module?
With the S&D module, EESlmu introduces a novel seminar concept to its Master’s program. There are two goals in this module:
(1) to foster an integrative picture of evolutionary biology,
(2) to train the students’ communication skills in oral presentations and scientific discussions.
To this aim, S&D combines the formally separate seminars on “evolution”, “ecology” and “systematics” into a single course that runs through the first three semesters of the Master’s. Each S&D module will be co-taught by several EESlmu core faculty members. The module is characterized by the following elements:
- Each seminar is based on a research paper.
- There are two talks per seminar, one short talk of 5 minutes and one longer talk of 15 minutes. Each talk is followed by 5 minutes for questions and the seminar concludes with a general discussion.
- In the 5 minute talk that starts the seminar, a randomly chosen student gives a concise summary of the paper and its content. This informal talk, which mimics a “journal club” setting, motivates students to extract the central message of a paper. The “random speaker” format guarantees that all students are well prepared.
- The student who does the 15 minute presentation will meet with a member of the core faculty to do a trial talk and discuss the content of the paper.
- The goal of the discussion that concludes the seminar is to summarize the context of the research (e.g. the relevant hypotheses), to elaborate the contribution of the paper and points to further research. As a basis for the discussion, every student must prepare three questions on the topic of the paper. Results of the discussion (in keywords) are collected on the blackboard by the discussion leader (chairman).
- For more information, please go to Seminar and Discussion.
What happens during the EESlmu excursion?
In the summer after the second semester, the EESlmu Master’s program offers a multidisciplinary field trip. The excursion is mandatory for all students and follows a novel conceptual framework, which includes
- a comprehensive approach to a habitat,
- small field projects,
- statistical analysis.
During the EESlmu excursion, the Master's students will study a natural habitat using an interdisciplinary approach. Zoological and botanical systematics, ecology and human impact will be taught by four faculty members concurrently at a preselected site (e.g. a high-alpine valley). This should give the student a better understanding of the ecological selection pressures and evolutionary interactions between species. Students will prepare for this excursion during a course on experimental design and statistical data analysis in the second semester. After a multi-day introduction into the fauna and flora of the selected habitat, including identification of the major plant and animal taxa, students will work separately on small research questions. For example while some students study the impact of abiotic parameters (e.g. soil humidity) on the plant-community composition, others will collect data on flower preferences of bumble bees. Upon return from the excursion, students will statistically analyze the data they collected. On a final day, with all instructors present, students will present short talks on their research, thereby putting all of the research into context. For information on and photos of past excursions, please go to the EES Excursions page.
How many students are in a class?
There were six students in our first cohort, which graduated in October 2009. Our second cohort has seven students, and our third cohort (who began their studies in 2009) has ten students. So naturally, the classes are small. In lectures, class size is often larger, since students from other programs join in. If future groups become larger (more than 15 students), we will split the group and offer the tutorials and skills courses twice in parallel.
What is the content of the presentations course?
In the presentations course you practice oral presentations, and you give and receive feedback. You visit and evaluate presentations by others. Every week, the teachers will provide background information on presentations.
Where can I find more information about the EESlmu Summer School?
We have run three EESlmu Summer Schools thus far: one in 2007 on the Evolutionary and Ecological Consequences of Global Change, one in 2008 on the Evolution of Sex Chromosomes, and one in 2009 on Host-Parasite Coevolution. In 2010 we will not run a summer school. The next one will be in 2011.
How much does it cost to study at the LMU Munich?
Since 2007, students in Munich have had to pay tuition fees each semester. Tuition fees are currently € 540 per semester. Cost of living in Munich is roughly € 800 per month, depending on where you live and your lifestyle. You will need to take into account rent, subway/transportation fare, food, health insurance (quite cheap), and any other travel/leisure expenses. Foreign students can apply ahead for grants with the German Academic Exchange Service.
Can I apply for a grant to study in the EES Master's program?
EES cannot offer scholarships/fellowships to study in our program. Foreign students can apply for grants with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). To get a DAAD grant you need to apply very early, usually about a year before you'd start the program. You can apply to the EES a year in advance (and defer for a year, if you like), so that when you apply for a grant you may already have an acceptance letter from us.
Do you know of any other grant possibilities?
The Fulbright Commission gives grants to American students who want to study in Germany.
Are there examination regulations?
Yes, there are. Click here to download the official Studien und Prüfungsordnung. This document contains all of the rules of the program, as well as information on coursework, etc. The document is also available in English.
Housing in Munich
Have a look at the Practical Information for new students.