Why is math included in biotechnology



Key data

Bachelor of Science
Start of studies:
Winter semester
Normal period:
6 semesters
ECTS points:
180More information

What do you mean with that?

ECTS are credit points that measure the workload during the course.


entry requirements

  • Abitur or an equivalent HZBMore information

    What do you mean with that?

    General university entrance qualification (Abitur), subject-specific university entrance qualification or a university entrance qualification recognized as equivalent (HZB)

  • Language skills in GermanMore information

    What do you mean with that?

    To enroll in this course, you must prove that you have knowledge of the language of instruction. The examination regulations regulate the details.

Admission for freshmen

NC for winter semester 2021

Admission to higher semesters

NC 2.-6. Semester

Enrollment requirements

  • SelfAssessmentMore information

    Self Assessment

    The RWTH Self Assessments are online advisory procedures to help you decide on your degree. Participation in one (rarely two) of these self-assessments is compulsory. You can read which Self Assessment has to be completed for this subject in the course description under "Requirements". To enroll (not already for the application), proof of participation in the subject-specific self-assessment must be provided. You can print out the certificate of attendance yourself.

Dates and deadlines

Anyone who likes to eat yoghurt or who appreciates a good glass of beer knows what microorganisms can achieve. The smallest living things have been used to produce food for centuries. One of the tasks of biotechnology is to turn them into more and more efficient “microbial factories” in the future.

The metabolism of microorganisms is increasingly used, for example, to generate energy from biomass or to produce customized enzymes or other molecules. On the other hand, targeted disruption of the cell metabolism or suppression of reproduction can contribute to the successful control of dangerous microorganisms.

As an interface between biology, chemistry, bioinformatics and process engineering, biotechnology offers an interdisciplinary research platform that makes microorganisms predictable and usable for specific purposes in a controlled manner. The skills that aspiring biotechnologists acquire at RWTH Aachen University are correspondingly diverse. The spectrum ranges from microbiology and genetics to bioprocess engineering.

In favor of this intensive basic training, only limited opportunities for specialization are offered in the bachelor's degree. In the subsequent master’s degree, the students choose one of the four classic directions in biotechnology:

  • The term white biotechnology describes the biotechnology used in industry. For example, it deals with the technical production of tailor-made products from the cellular metabolism and the industrial increase in the yield of modern bioreactors.
  • The aim of red biotechnology is medical application. For example, it aims to produce therapeutic proteins, tailor-made enzymes, reagents, drugs and vaccines. She is also developing new strategies for combating diseases that can disrupt the pathogen's metabolism or reproduction.
  • In green biotechnology, the focus is on plants and plant biomass. It aims, for example, at plant resistance, increased yields or the production of microbially supported processes for generating energy from biomass and for using the degradation products.
  • Bioprocess engineering develops innovative biotechnological production processes, partly in cooperation with mechanical engineering. Your range of tasks extends from the digestion of the biogenic raw material to simulation and reactor technologies through to tailor-made products.

Life Sciences at RWTH

RWTH Aachen is one of the leading technical universities in Europe. It maintains numerous international relationships and is part of the Bioregio Rhineland with its life science activities. For the life sciences, an interdisciplinary forum and the "LifeTec Aachen-Jülich" were set up at RWTH Aachen University. The Jülich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA) exists between RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Jülich. There is also a Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology in Aachen and the materials research institute DWI (German Wool Research Institute) of the Leibniz Association. The size and diversity of RWTH Aachen University allows students - like hardly any other university - a special focus within the chosen subject that is tailored to their own needs and abilities. Biotechnology at RWTH Aachen University is represented in many national and international research associations such as the excellence cluster “Tailor made fuels from biomass” and the major EU project “Pharma-Planta”. More information is available on the website of the Department of Biology.

Aachen Biology and Biotechnology Day

  1. The Aachener Biologie und Biotechnologie, abbreviated ABBt, provides information once a year about their courses. Lectures, demonstrations and personal discussions with members of the institutes offer insights into studies and work. To the events of the Department of Biology

Course of studies

The course offers many institute internships and first-class laboratory training. External internships or theses in companies or at cooperating research institutions, for example the Fraunhofer Institutes and the Jülich Research Center, provide important practical experience

Study structure

Biological modulesBiotechnological modulesMathematical, chemical, and physical modules

Cell biology,

Basics of biotechnologyInorganic chemistry (including internship), mathematics
2Microbiology, genetics, quantitative biologyOrganic chemistry (including internship), physics
3Bioinformatics, bioanalysis, basic microbiological internshipMolecular Biotechnology, Enzyme Technology, Computational BiotechnologyPhysical chemistry, physical internship
4Microorganism PhysiologyProcess engineering, bioreactor technology and arithmetic exercisePhysico-chemical basic internship
5Immunology iComputational Biotechnology, reaction engineering and arithmetic exercises, immunology, interdisciplinary block internship in biotechnology / bioprocess engineering
Economic basics and presentation of results, additional qualifications

Block internship in molecular biotechnology, project-oriented method internship, bachelor thesis and bachelor lecture colloquium

Programs abroad

Research institutions around the world work on biological issues of global importance. It is therefore an irreplaceable experience for students to take part in cooperation programs with international universities or research institutes during their training. The specialist group for biology offers study and practice opportunities worldwide. In the EU mobility program ERASMUS + alone, it maintains partnerships with 32 renowned European universities. Further collaborations enable study or practical phases in North America, South America, Canada, China, Japan, Korea, other Asian countries and Australia.

In addition to the faculty-specific international programs, RWTH students benefit from the university's strategic partnerships with international universities. For example, they can complete short stays at one of the IDEA League universities as part of their studies. The UROP Abroad program, which is unique in Germany, offers the opportunity to participate in research projects at international universities as early as the bachelor's degree. These stays abroad are partly funded by RWTH-specific financial aid. All RWTH cooperation programs are presented on the exchange program websites. Subject-specific offers are published on the specialist group website for international networking.


In the demanding biological, chemical and physical internships, students acquire the necessary methodological knowledge and practical experience in order to arrive at scientifically sound research results through hypothesis, planning, experiment and evaluation. Students are also supported in gaining further experience in companies or at cooperating research institutions, for example the Fraunhofer Institutes and the Jülich Research Center.


personal requirements

In addition to a keen interest in biological and technical issues, basic knowledge of mathematics, physics and chemistry, or at least the willingness to acquire this knowledge quickly, is urgently required. Prospective students can refresh and deepen their knowledge of mathematics and chemistry in preliminary courses before starting their studies.

Enrollment requirement

RWTH Self-Assessment Field of Study Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Decision support

The bachelor's degree in biotechnology at RWTH is characterized by a high proportion of general scientific education. In addition to a module in mathematics and physics, general and inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and physical chemistry are also completed. In biotechnology, the proportions of mathematics and engineering are higher than in biology. Nevertheless, the focus is on the natural sciences, which distinguishes the course from studying mechanical engineering with a focus on bioprocess engineering, for example. Schoolchildren can get their first impressions of the requirements by attending lectures, at the student university or during the university internship week.

In the biotechnology course, in addition to the basics of biology and the other natural sciences, contents from molecular biotechnology (molecular biology and genetic engineering) as well as from applied biotechnology and process engineering are taught. This is where what the RWTH has to offer differs significantly from that of many other universities. Understanding of economic issues is important for biotechnology because the most important area of ​​work is industry.

The Molecular and Applied Biotechnology course is not primarily intended for students with exclusively scientific and biological interests such as molecular and cell biology, genetics, neurosciences, bionics or molecular medicine. Prospective students who are not yet sure which biological discipline should be the focus should also refer to the biology course at RWTH Aachen University.

Media library

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Career prospects

The interest in biotech products continues and will increase in the future. As an application-oriented science, biotechnology therefore offers a wide range of entry opportunities for graduates.

First and foremost, scientific research should certainly be mentioned here. But the industrial application of biotechnological processes also offers a wealth of fields of activity.

In the medical and pharmaceutical industries, for example, biotechnologists support the development of drugs, vaccines and diagnostic methods. Many biotechnological service providers work for the agricultural sector. For example, you deal with feed optimization or the breeding of stress-resistant crops. In the energy sector, the trend is increasingly towards the sustainable use of existing resources. This is where specialists for energy generation from biomass are in demand. Last but not least, the chemical industry is interested in biotechnological expertise, since biocatalytic processes are being used more and more frequently in production processes.

The Federal Employment Agency publishes annual studies on the labor market for academics in Germany. The current brochures can be downloaded here.

Master's Perspectives

Graduates of the bachelor's degree can continue their studies in the master's program in Molecular and Applied Biotechnology. They deepen and expand their knowledge in one of the aforementioned focal points: process engineering, white biotechnology, red biotechnology or green biotechnology. The course is clearly application-oriented in all areas of specialization. The excellent equipment of the biological institutes makes it possible to offer an internship in almost every module.

Alternatively, an orientation towards biology or ecotoxicology is conceivable. In order to build up the necessary competence profile for a technically different master’s course, adjustments in the bachelor’s phase are advisable. If necessary, admission is linked to technical requirements. If a master’s degree in biology or ecotoxicology is planned, the bachelor’s program must be adapted accordingly. Information on this is available from the academic advisory service.

Examination regulations

Regulations that generally apply to all Bachelor's and Master's degree programs, as well as detailed information on proof of the required language skills can be found in the comprehensive examination regulations of the RWTH. Due to their legally binding nature, examination regulations are only published in German.

The subject-specific examination regulations regulate legally binding study objectives, study requirements, course of studies and exams. In its appendix, it contains the description of the modules that make up the course.


The bachelor's degree in biotechnology is offered by the Biology Department in the Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences.

Information before starting your studies

International prospective students