Doctoral Training

Doctoral Training

Our IMPRS is an interdisciplinary doctoral programme devoted to scientific excellence in plant biology, with a focus on plant systems biology and plant genomics. Research is at the core of the doctoral programme.

IMPRS Curriculum Details

The curriculum consists of different elements: lectures, seminars, practical courses, complementary skills courses, teaching experience, conference visits etc. Doctoral students should collect at least 20 credit points (CP) within the curricular activities. The table provides you with an overview of how the CPs are distributed: 13 CPs are awarded for compulsory training elements, the remaining 7 (or more) CPs can be distributed over selectable elements. Details on the training elements are given below.


The CPs are a measure that follows the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). 1 CP is awarded for 25-30 working hours (on average). This includes approximately 16-18 h presence during a course and time needed for study before and after a course.

CPs can be collected for training activities offered within the doctoral programme and outside.


1. Compulsory core elements

Progress reports: 5 CP
Written and oral progress reports allow the students, their supervisors and  PhD advisory committees to evaluate the progress of the thesis project. In addition, they are an opportunity to practise scientific writing and communication skills.
Oral presentations should be given yearly within the seminar of an institute, department, research network etc. 1 CP is awarded for each presentation; a total of 3 CPs has to be collected.
At the end of the first and second year (12 and 24 months, respectively), the students write a report on the progress of their research project. The reports are the basis for the yearly meeting with the PhD advisory committee. 1 CP is awarded for each written report; a total of 2 CPs has to be collected.

Scientific skills: 4 CP
Students should regularly attend lectures, seminars and colloquia offered within the institute, department etc. In addition, they attend courses and workshops on scientific skills. At least 2 CPs should be collected for these activity within the three years.
The active attendance of conferences is part of the doctoral training. The presentation of a poster or a talk will give students the opportunity to discuss their work with a wider audience. At least 1 CP should be collected for active conference attendance.

Transferable skills: 2 CP
Training in complementary/transferable skills is an important element of our curriculum. Students will benefit from this training not only during their doctoral research but also in their future careers. We offer courses on, for example, scientific writing and presentation, intercultural communication, team dynamics, and ethics in science. We collaborate with the Potsdam Graduate School to complement our course offers, for example with regard to professional knowledge about entrepreneurship and business management. 2 CP should be collected for participation in transferable skills courses.

Teaching: 2 CP
Teaching and supervision of other students during practicals, courses or workhops allows the development of communication and training skills. At least 2 CPs should be collected for teaching activities. The University of Potsdam requires doctoral candidates to gain teaching experience. The experience is teaching is expected in the form of assistance during University practical courses or tutorials. This required teaching is awarded with the required CPs within the doctoral programme.


2. Selectable training elements

The 7 or more CP collected within the selectable training elements can be awarded for different activities. The students can distribute the CP depending on their individual needs and interests. An emphasis should be placed on attending training courses that complement a student's university degree background, and extend his/her scientific skills to strengthen his/her research and promote career development.

The following activities qualify for CP in selectable training:

  • Lectures, seminars, workshops and practical courses offered within the doctoral programmes
  • Attendance of seminars, colloquia or conferences without active contribution
    (up to 2 CP additional to the compulsory ones)
  • Conference attendance with poster presentation or talk
    (up to 2 CP additional to the compulsory ones)
  • Lab visits and external workshops or courses
  • Transferable/complementary skills courses
    (up to 2 CP additional to the compulsory ones)
  • Career workshops/courses
  • Teaching
    (up to 4 CP additional to the compulsory ones)
  • Language courses (up to 2 CP)

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