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Translational Medical Research – Master

Translational Medical Research is research conducted at the frontiers between the bench (lab-based experiments), the bedside (clinical research and patient management) and the healthcare system (broad implementation and health economics) with the aim of improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. Innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialisation play a key role in effective Translational Medical Research.

Course Outline

The Master’s degree programme in Translational Medical Research (TMR) focusses on the transfer of knowledge derived from basic molecular and cellular research into new approaches for the diagnosis and therapy of disease, and on the translation of unmet clinical needs into basic research questions that can be addressed through experiments. The importance of innovation and entrepreneurship for effective translation is also addressed. Accordingly, the Master’s degree programme provides students in the interdisciplinary field of translational medical research with the knowledge and skills necessary to participate in research at the frontiers between fundamental laboratory-based experimentation, clinical research and commercial exploitation.

What you will learn

Graduates of the Master’s degree programme in Translational Medical Research ...

  • have a thorough understanding of disease processes at the molecular and cellular levels, and possess up-to-date knowledge of the latest research in the fields of molecular and cellular biology relating to medical disorders.
  • have comprehensive knowledge of clinical study design, drug development, ethical issues and formalities relating to medical research, and of the cutting-edge methods and current problems in the diagnosis and therapy of medical disorders.
  • have an understanding of the players involved in the translational process, and how intellectual property can be protected and commercialised, for example in a start-up company.
  • are able to apply knowledge about the principles of translational research techniques to a broad range of medical questions.

They have acquired the ability to ...

  • write review articles, create a research proposal and evaluate proposals from others.
  • present and defend their research orally using a variety of different media.
  • independently formulate research projects in translational medicine, including identification of a research question, development of a methodology for its solution, and analysis of the impact of results on practice and policy.
  • work autonomously on a specific research project in a laboratory or clinical setting and participate actively in lab routines such as journal clubs, progress reports and academic discussions.

Course Structure

The Master’s degree programme in Translational Medical Research is a one-year programme which consists of two semesters of study. Courses start immediately on September 1.

  • 1st Semester

    During the first semester, students take four modules which reflect the concept “from bench to bedside and back”:

    Module 1 focuses on the basis of medical disorders and disease processes at the molecular and cellular level.

    Module 2 equips students with knowledge about current methods and challenges in the clinical diagnosis and treatment of disease, including the research approaches employed in these areas.

    Module 3 consists of an individual laboratory project.

    Module 4 focusses specifically on translational medicine, including commercial exploitation, the role of stakeholders and clinical studies.

    In Modules 1, 2 and 4, students are able to select short practical courses in which they become acquainted with experimentation in the fields of molecular oncology, neurobiology, vascular medicine or other topics.

  • 2nd Semester

    In the second semester, TMR students carry out original research for their Master’s thesis, write this up, and present their findings orally. Students taking the TMR course as part of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree Programme “International Master in Innovative Medicine” (IMIM) must summarise the research performed during the second semester in the form of a written report or paper, as well as presenting their data orally.

Mobility Options

TMR students can perform their Master thesis work locally or in an academic group or company elsewhere, as long as the topic and content is suitable (semester 2). Additionally, there is a bilateral agreement in the context of the Erasmus+ programme with the University of Naples, Italy (Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II) where students can spend up to 9 months taking courses in the programme “MSc in Medical Biotechnologies”. Early application and Italian language skills at B1 level are recommended.

Students from both the University of Naples (Italy) and Anhui Medical University (AMU) profit from cooperation agreements with the Medical Faculty Mannheim and can join the TMR programme if they are suitable candidates.

TMR Students which are part of the IMIM programme have to spend a 2nd year in one of the partner universities (University of Groningen, The Netherlands; University of Uppsala, Sweden), and can in addition select to spend an internship at one of our Latin American partner universities.

Admission Prerequisites

To be admitted, the following requirements have to be met:

  • Bachelor degree at least equivalent to a European undergraduate degree of 240 ECTS (usually at least four years) with above-average grades. The degree needs to be in medicine or the life sciences (e.g. biology, biochemistry, pharmaceutical sciences, biomedical sciences, genetics, molecular biology, biotechnology or closely related fields). Bioscientific and/or medical content must make up at least 60% of the curriculum studied.
  • proven record of academic and extra-curricular excellence
  • documented research experience
  • strong motivation to pursue a career that incorporates translational, biomedical sciences and research
  • proven English proficiency in accordance with TMR admission requirement

Necessary application documents

All documents need to be submitted via the online application system of Heidelberg University (heiCO) by the application deadline on March 15th . The application period is from February 1st to March 15th of the respective year.

1. completely filled out application form (please use a tool such as Adobe Acrobat Fill and Sign for filling and signing the application form; inserted handwritten signatures are accepted, but typed names are not accepted).

2. a certified* copy of the degree upon which your application is based (your bachelor or master degree), or an official letter stating the expected date of graduation

3. a certified* copy of your transcript of records (including: courses, grades, grading system (grading system can also be explained in an additional document if not included in the transcript), average grade/class rank, and a list of modules still to be completed if not yet graduated)

* Certification of documents: Document copies can be certified by certain authorities such as a notary, university or city hall and have to have an official stamp and original signature. See for further information. If documents are not in English or German, a certified translation needs to be provided. For application, electronic documents are accepted but in case of admission, physical certified copies of the documents are required by postal mail or in-person-delivery during the enrollment procedure.

4. if applicable: APS approval - mandatory for students with education in countries needing APS approval. Prior check of the educational certificates is done by the German academic inspection agency APS (Akademische Prüfstelle). Countries included (at the time of last update) are: China, Vietnam, India. See

5. One of the following tests to prove your English proficiency

  • IELTS – Academic: Minimum overall score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each section

  • TOEFL iBT (Internet-Based Test): Minimum overall score of 92,  with a minimum of 21 in each section

  • TOEFL CBT (Computer-Based Test): Minimum overall score of 237,  with a minimum of 21 in each section

  • TOEFL PBT (Paper-Based Test): Minimum overall score of 580,  with a minimum of 55 in each section

  • Cambridge English Certificates: Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) / Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

Please keep in mind:

  • IELTS and TOEFL scores must be less than two years old (this rule does not apply to CAE and CPE certificates).

  • Only the above-mentioned test modalities will be accepted (IELTS – General Training will NOT be accepted, and neither will be institutional TOEFL tests).

  • You may still apply and be considered even if you have not yet taken an English proficiency test, or while your test score is still unknown, insufficient or too old. In this case, final admission will depend on passing one of the above-mentioned tests before the start of the programme. If you are in such a situation, please inform the admissions office of the date on which you plan to take the test.

Submission of test results:

  • IELTS: Please provide a copy of your score report, we will verify the score online.

  • TOEFL: Please provide a copy of your score report, and submit a request with ETS to allow us to access your test results in the ETS online database (institution code 6446).

  • CAE/CPE: Initially, a copy of the score report can be sent. If you are admitted to the programme, we will require a certified copy of the certificate.


All applicants must provide proof of proficiency in English with their applications (either via uploading a certificate or the filled English test exemption template). Only applicants who meet at least one of the following requirements are exempt from doing so:

  • Native English speakers who have completed their secondary education in any of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK, USA

  • Applicants who have completed their bachelor education in any of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK, USA

Applicants from other English-speaking countries are NOT EXEMPT from providing an  English proficiency certificate. A certificate stating that English is the main language of instruction at the University is not sufficient, unless it is from one of the above-mentioned countries.

6. CV in English

7. a motivation letter in English describing why the applicant wishes to study the MSc programme Translational Medical Research, how the MSc will impact on the applicant’s desired career path, and what experience and qualifications the applicant brings to the programme. These topics are covered in sections 5 and 6 of the TMR Application Form, so if the relevant information is provided there, it is not necessary to submit an additional document. However, applicants have the option to upload a more extended version of a motivation letter as a separate document, if necessary.

8. proof of practical experience in basic bioscientific laboratory methods of at least 1 ECTS credit (~30h), if this is not clear from your transcript of records. (Please note: if all other requirements are fulfilled, missing prior laboratory experience may be waived by participating in a Basic Laboratory Course at the Medical Faculty Mannheim at the beginning of the programme.)

9. copy of the main pages of your passport (ID pages and cover)

10. two letters of recommendation from former supervisors or employers, preferably university professors or similar. Please keep in mind that only two letters of recommendation will be considered. They should be sent directly by your former supervisor/employer via email to the TMR administration office ( Please provide the contact details of your referees via upload of the filled referee contact template to the online application portal heiCO. Please note that it is the applicant’s responsibility to arrange with their referees that the letters of recommendation are sent to the TMR administration office before the application deadline.  

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