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-PMPG 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.

To obtain a German Student Visa, students need to show that they have funds of roughly 870 EUR per month (for example, through a funded position, scholarship, stipend, private funding). The great majority of the PhD students at the MPI-MP receive a Max Panck Support Contract for doctoral researchers and come to Germany on a Researcher Visa. 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. 

Housing and living costs

Most doctoral students find a place to live in private accommodation. This may be very different from what you are used to in your home country! They either share a flat with other students or find a small apartment for themselves. Depending on this, housing costs can vary between approximately 400 and 550 EUR per month. 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 than 550 EUR - 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 costs will probably 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-PMPG programme are embedded in a vibrant research community. More than 100 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.

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