© Felix Noak

Polymer Science, M.Sc.

Program overview

Polymer science is an interdisciplinary science that examines polymers, in other words macromolecular substances. These substances play an important, and often invaluable, role in all areas of life as plastics, active agents, and materials. As an application-oriented and cross-disciplinary field, polymer science encompasses all aspects of the investigation, description, manufacture, processing, and application of polymer materials and macromolecular substances while also drawing upon methods from chemistry, physics, and engineering. It also has a particularly significant impact on contemporary materials science. Polymers are integral components of many functional and intelligent materials and devices.

The Polymer Science master’s program is an internationally-oriented degree program with a strong research focus and is jointly offered by Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, the University of Potsdam, and Technische Universität Berlin. Due to these renowned universities’ location in the science hot spot of Berlin-Brandenburg, the program offers students unique opportunities to network as well as highly skilled teaching combined with an excellent infrastructure and equipment.

The universities’ international relations and their proximity and close collaboration with other science centers in Berlin and Potsdam (Max Planck Institutes, Fraunhofer Institutes, Helmholtz Centers) provide students with numerous career opportunities even while studying.

DegreeMaster of Science
Standard period of study 4 semesters
Credit points120
Program start Winter semester
Admission Restricted admission
Language of instruction English

Admission requirements

As for every other master’s degree program, applicants to the Polymer Science master’s program must possess a first university degree qualifying them for professional work, such as a bachelor’s. Further details can be found in the degree program’s application and admission regulations.

To make it more attractive to foreign students the program is in English. Applicants must submit proof of sufficient language skills at the time of application, for instance with test results from TOEFL (PBT 510 points/CBT 225 points/iBT 90 points) or IELTS (6.5 points) or equivalent.

As this study program is significantly made up of natural science content, you should have knowledge of as well as an interest in this field.

Program structure

This is a two-year master’s program composed of a basic phase with compulsory modules (60 credit points), a specialization phase with elective modules (30 credit points), and a master’s thesis (30 credit points). 

During the first year, you concentrate on the principles of polymer science. These include:

•   Polymer Chemistry/Synthesis (Freie Universität Berlin)

•   Polymer Physics/Characterization (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

•   Polymer Engineering/Processing (Technische Universität Berlin)

•   Polymer Properties/Colloids (University of Potsdam)

The second year includes the following advanced content:

•   in-depth courses and lab work in a special discipline (for the most part at one of the four universities) and

•   the master's thesis (at the same university) and the thesis defense, culminating with an M.Sc. in Polymer Science (jointly awarded by all 4 universities)

Module descriptions for each module provide information about the content and learning objectives, teaching and learning formats, workload, forms of active participation, standard duration, and frequency offered, as well as which institution offers the module. These descriptions can be found in the annex of the study and examination regulations for the degree program.

There is a sample course schedule for the degree program depicting the recommended order of modules for full-time students. This can also be found in the study and examination regulations.

Study and examination regulations:

Content and modules

The curriculum focuses on concepts and experimental and theoretical methods of polymer chemistry, polymer physics and polymer technology as they reflect the current state of research. Specifically, this includes,

•   Polymer characterization, polymerization reactions, and underlying mechanisms

•   Polymer behavior in homogeneous and heterogeneous phases and at boundaries

•   Representation of polymers from a laboratory to industrial scale

•   Material properties of polymer materials

•   Polymer processing

•   Polymer application

•   Economic and social aspects of polymer science

The following modules are to be completed during the basic phase: 

•   Introduction to Macromolecular Chemistry (5 CP)

•   Advanced Macromolecular Chemistry (5 CP)

•   Polymer Synthesis and Characterization Laboratory (5 CP)

•   Polymer Characterization (5 CP)

•   Introduction to Polymer Theory (5 CP)

•   Polymerization Technology (5 CP)

•   Polymer Processing and Surface Science of Polymers (5 CP)

•   Functional Polymers and Colloids (5 CP)

•   Physical and Technical Applications of Polymers (5 CP)

•   Colloids and Biopolymers (5 CP)

The specialization phase during the second year is composed of elective modules in chemistry, physics, and engineering, or from modules in the transdisciplinary compulsory elective component (15 CP) as well as elective modules in research projects (15 CP).

The elective modules are offered by the four participating universities and disciplines. The purpose of the elective modules is to further advance the skills and knowledge gained during the basic phase in a subdiscipline of polymer science (polymer chemistry, physics, or technology) and to prepare the student for writing the master’s thesis.

Students learn experimental techniques in labs and research projects and apply these to current research topics. The master’s program offers opportunities during the elective component for interdisciplinary work within the fields of chemistry, physics, and engineering. Research projects in the master's program are offered in the working groups of the institutes involved in the program to provide students with an understanding of complex and modern experimental and theoretical developments in polymer science. By choosing a working group, students automatically select their topic area. The Examination Board is responsible for deciding whether students may pursue research projects outside of the participating institutes.

To module database


Lab work is generally conducted during the program in the labs of the participating institutes. Labs include both supervised components (e.g. preliminary and subsequent discussion of the experiments) and a larger amount of independent coursework (e.g. independent practical execution of trials, their evaluation, and lab report write-ups). 

During your studies it is also possible to conduct research projects, in which you work on a definitive project from current research. These research projects include a significant amount of independent coursework, e.g. research, analysis of the scientific problem and development of a possible solution, independent practical execution of the tests, write-up of results, and a presentation. Other members of the working group provide support and assistance. Students intensively work with the supervising members of the working group for an extensive period of time. This often takes place on an individual basis or in small groups.

Stays abroad

You can generally complete parts of the program abroad, either in the form of a semester abroad or internships. During your stay abroad, you must take classes and exams for which you can receive credit that can then be attributed to the modules you would otherwise take in Germany during the same period of the program.

The third course semester is recommended as a suitable mobility window.

Acquired skills

As a graduate of this master’s program, you possess in-depth knowledge of all topic areas of polymer science. You are familiar with the terminology, particularities, and boundaries of polymer science and are able to apply your technical understanding to new problems and situations - including in an interdisciplinary context.

Due to your specialization during the second year, you will have mastered polymer chemistry, polymer physics, or polymer technology to a special degree; possess knowledge and practical skills in selected areas reflecting the current state of research; and be able to analyze and critically assess problems in polymer science, autonomously develop solutions, and assess their impacts in a comprehensive context.

Aside from your technical skills, you are also able to independently act and adopt knowledge. You can develop creative solutions for chemical, physical, or technological problems within polymer science and you possess the perseverance needed to find a solution. You are able to combine what you have learned and thus consider interdisciplinary aspects. Further, you are able to - both in oral and written form - skillfully present projects in English, and formulate, critically review, and defend hypotheses.

After your studies

Your degree qualifies you for a professional career in polymer science and the polymer industry. You can, for example, pursue doctoral studies in chemistry, physics, or engineering, or work in research and development, processing and application technology, or production and analytics. Of course, you can also start your own business in these fields.

With a Master of Science in polymer science you are also able to find employment in the patent system, science management, marketing and sales, education, management, IT, consulting, and media.

Further information & downloads

Guidance and choosing the right degree program: Academic Advising Service

Questions about the degree program: Course Guidance

General questions: Student Info Services

Application and enrollment: Office of Student Affairs – Graduate Admissions

Recognition of previously acquired credits: Examination Board