Living and Research in Germany - FAQ

Living and Research in Germany - FAQ

If you are accepted into our doctoral programme, we will offer you support for practical matters such as obtaining your visa, housing, health insurance, and registration at the University of Potsdam. The answers to some of the questions that may arise can be found here. The links on the left will lead you to websites that are useful if you want to find out more about living in Potsdam and Germany and the research landscape around the MPI-MP.

Funding and tuition

IMPRS doctoral fellowships are awarded for 3 years. The fellowships cover living expenses and include a bursary for conference travel, lab visits etc. For your living expenses, you will have approximately 1,400 EUR per month. Bench fees and consumables are covered by the hosting lab. In exceptional cases, a bursary for bench fees and consumables will be granted. This will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

There are no tuition fees for doctoral candidates at the MPI-MP except for the Semester Fee charged by the University of Potsdam for immatriculation. There are two semesters per academic year in Germany, the Winter Semester (October to March) and the Summer Semester (April to September). More information about the semester fee and registration as doctoral student with the University can be found at University Enrolment.

The great majority of the PhD researchers at the MPI-MP (including IMPRS members who are funded by the MPI-MP) receive a Max Panck Support Contract for doctoral researchers. The Max Planck Support Contract is taxed and includes German public health insurance and social security contributions. The net income (after taxes and all other deductions) of doctoral researchers with a Max Planck Support Contract is rougly 1,400 EUR per month. 

International PhD researchers may need to apply for a visa before coming to Germany, depending on their nationality. Information on who needs a visa and which visa is applicable is given on the FAQ Visa for Germany website of the German Federal Foreign Office. In general, PhD researchers with a Max Planck  Support Contract for doctoral researchers come to Germany on a Researcher Visa.

Students who plan to come to Germany on a Student Visa need to show that they have sufficient financial means through a scholarship, stipend, or private funding to support themselves (amount as of January 2023: at least 11,208 EUR per year, i.e. 934 EUR per month). Please visit the DAAD website for more information about proof of financial resources for a study visa

Housing and living costs

Most of our PhD researchers find a place to live in private accommodation in Potsdam or Berlin. This may be very different from what you are used to in your home country! Our PhD researchers either share a flat with other students or find a small apartment for themselves. Depending on this, housing costs can range from under 500 EUR to 650 EUR per month or more. There are a few privately-run places in Potsdam that offer furnished student apartments. The monthly rent for these "all inclusive" places may be  a bit more costly - please explore the links on the left. Please note that doctoral students are not eligible for accommodation in student housing run by the Potsdam Student Services (Studentenwerk Potsdam). The website of the University of Potsdam Welcome Center is a good place to start informing yourself about housing opportunities in Potsdam and Berlin (please note, however, that they will not be able to find accommodation for you).

Housing /accommodation costs will most likely be your largest monthly expense. The following two websites curated by the DAAD give a rough overview of other living costs:

DAAD - Costs of education and living
Study in Germany - Cost of living 

The University of Potsdam also provides a rough overview of living costs: UP - Living costs at a glance 
Note that the estimates given here are for a "student life style", i.e. low cost living of a single person, often in shared flats (in German: Wohngemeinschaft) where the rent for the flat is shared, and everyone has their own room and shares kitchen, bathroom and other facilities. 

Campus life

The doctoral students in the IMPRS and at the MPI-MP are embedded in a vibrant research community. More than 80 doctoral candidates study under the guidance of our faculty, their groups, and departments. The Potsdam Science Park in Potsdam-Golm hosts three Max Planck Institutes, two Fraunhofer Institutes, the University of Potsdam, and a centre for start-up companies. This provides an excellent infrastructure for modern cross-disciplinary training and you will have many opportunities for discussion and exchange of ideas.

You can take a 360° virtual tour of the Potsdam Science Park, starting at the Golm Campus of the University of Potsdam here: 360° Tour Science Park

Sports and Culture

Several sports and other cultural activities take place on campus - you can join the Institute's football team or enjoy a game of beach volleyball, for example. The Science Park Potsdam-Golm is located in Potsdam, an attractive city with a population of 150,000. Potsdam is home to the famous Sanssouci Palace, many lakes and beautiful parks, and offers a wealth of cultural life. Within Potsdam, it is easy to get around on foot and by bike or public transport. Berlin, the multicultural capital of Germany, is only a stone's throw away from Potsdam and well connected by public transport.

Go to Editor View