Astrobiology MSc Programme, Hohenheim, Germany

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The University of Hohenheim’s Master’s Programme in

Earth System Science: An Opportunity to Specialize in Astrobiology

Many students of classical subjects such as biology, chemistry or astronomy at some point become interested in the fundamental questions dealt with by astrobiology. Some of them even become inspired to seek a career as an astrobiologist. The Master’s pro­gramme Earth System Science at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany, allows students to specialize in astrobiology.

The City of Stuttgart is situated in the southwest of Germany. The Stuttgart Region has a population of 2.7 million and is one of Europe's most important and most success­ful economic centres. The Stuttgart Region is also one of Germany's top educational and research locations. The University of Hohenheim has 10,000 students in three faculties: Natural Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, and Business, Economics and Social Sciences. The beautiful Hohenheim campus is built around an 18th century palace and provides an attractive and academically stimulating environment.

Earth System Science (ESS), one of currently 24 Master's degree courses offered by the University of Hohenheim, is a 4-semester interdisciplinary, research-oriented pro­gramme. The language of instruction is English. Up to 20 students are admitted annu­ally. ESS focuses mainly on the understanding and the simulation of Earth system com­ponents, such as the regional climate, land use and land management. However, from the second semester on, specialization is possible in the field of astrobiology.

After preparatory courses, mainly in the 1st semester, ESS students can start special­izing in astrobiology by attending the relevant courses:

  • Lectures "Introduction to Astrobiology" and "Key Experiments in Astrobiology"
  • Literature seminar on astrobiology
  • Lecture "Chemical Evolution"
  • Practical laboratory course "Chemical Evolution".


A two-day excursion to the Ries crater ("Nördlinger Ries") is a highlight of the 2nd semester. The 24-km-diameter crater is a relatively well-preserved impact structure
100 km east of Stuttgart. It was formed about 15 million years ago by a large meteorite. The excursion comprises visits to the Ries Crater Museum and to geologically interest­ing locations in the Ries.

The Master's thesis can be chosen from the topics "biosignatures" and "chemical evolution" (at Hohenheim) or other astrobiological topics (in cooperation with external institutions). The degree awarded is "Master of Science" (M. Sc.).


For more information on the Master's Programme in Earth System Science, see: 

Event Date: 
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - 09:00
Event Location: 
Hohenheim, Germany
University of Hohenheim
Event Category: 
Training schools

Events Sidebar


CSO Approval date: 14/11/2013
Starting date: 15/05/2014
Ending date: 14/05/2018

Action Chair:
Dr. Muriel GARGAUD (FR)

Vice chair:
Prof. Wolf GEPPERT (SE)

STSM Manager:
Prof. Nigel MASON (UK)

Web Manager:



Grant Holder Financial Representative:

Mrs Annick Caperan

Science Officer:
Dr. Mafalda QUINTAS

Administrative Officer:
Ms Aranzazu SANCHEZ



A Trans-Domain Action supported by COST.

COST is supported by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020



Involved countries

View the Interactive Map
of Member Countries

Participating Countries
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

COST International Partner Countries
Canada (UQAM), South Africa (Univ. of Johanesburgh), Russian Federation (Institute of Geology, Petrozavodsk), Australia (University of Sydney), United States of America (University of Hawai)

Specific Organisations
European Space Agency (ESA)

Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs)

Aiming at fostering collaboration, sharing new techniques, and infrastructure that may not be available in other participants' institutions or laboratories. STSMs are intended especially for young PhD researchers, but they are open to senior researchers as well. View the documents at this link.

 It should be explicitely noted that Master students are not eligible for STSMs which are for PhD students and more experienced researchers.

The life-Origins COST Project

Life-ORIGINS (TD1308) is a Trans Domain European COST Action dedicated to the scientific investigation of the origins and evolution of life on Earth and habitability of other planets.

The Action has specifically excluded the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life in its portfolio. Creationist theorems are also outside the Action’s remit.

Individuals are not allowed to use the name of the Action, its logo or any corporate identity of COST TD1308 in any communication without prior approval of the Management Committee.

All publications referencing the support of the Action should be sent to the appropriate Working Group chair at the time of submission.