Application for the IMPRS-PMPG:  Requirements and Procedure

Application for the IMPRS-PMPG:
Requirements and Procedure

The IMPRS-PMPG doctoral programme is open for students from all countries. Once you are accepted into the programme, you will be enrolled as doctoral student at the University of Potsdam.
Below you find information about requirements for the doctoral programme and your application.

The IMPRS-PMPG application call for doctoral projects starting in second half of 2021 is CLOSED.

Please visit this page regularly to find information and dates for our next application call.


Key Information and Dates for the Application Round

The IMPRS-PMPG application procedure is online only. The link to the application portal is on the left hand side of this page.

You can find more information below and on the second page. You can download a PDF with instructions, tips and a field-by-field guide for the online application at "Helpful Hints" on the left. When our application call is closed, the PDF will give you an idea of the information we ask for. Please read all information carefully before you apply via the online portal during application calls.


Key Dates for the Application Round 2020/2021

Application deadline:
The application deadline has passed. The application portal closed after midnight CET of 31 January 2021.

First shortlist (aka "long list"): The long list will be created until mid-February 2021. We will contact your referees in the second half of February if you are on this list.

NOTE: We only solicit references for candidates on the long list. Referees will be contacted by February 19th. We will kindly ask them to send us their reference by the end of February (around February 25th).

Invitations for interviews:
Decisions about whom we invite for interviews will be made in early March. Invitations will be sent out by March 15, 2021.

Interview workshop:
The 2-day selection interviews will be held in mid-April (week starting April 12th).
Dec 2020 COVID-19 Note: We will decide by early March whether our 2021 selection interviews will be held online, via video conferencing, or as an in-person event in Potsdam. We will inform candidates about the format with our invitation. The two main elements of the interviews - a short presentation with questions and an interview by a panel of faculty members - will be the same. Candidates who cannot travel to an in-person event will be given the possibility to be interviewed via video conferencing.

Project start: 
Candidates who are accepted into the IMPRS-PMPG should start their project by December 2021. The programme does not have a fixed start date, students usually start between July and November.
Dec 2020 COVID-19 Note: We understand that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic may affect your plans for completing your MSc degree and/or your travel to Germany if you join us from abroad. We will be as flexible as possible with the start date of candidates who are accepted into the IMPRS-PMPG.


Degree Requirements

To be accepted as a doctoral student, you must hold a Master or equivalent degree in a subject relevant to our programme. In exceptional cases we may accept students with an excellent BSc (1st class honours; 4-year degree) who may need to attend additional courses and seminars during their first year. Additional requirements will be defined on a case-by-case basis.

Language Requirements

The language of the programme is English. Therefore, a very good knowledge of English is absolutely required, both for the selection interview and later for the doctoral programme. A working knowledge of German is very useful for living in Germany but is not required for the doctoral programme.

We encourage you to support your application with scores of internationally valid language exams like TOEFL, IELTS, or other tests. This will make the evaluation of your application easier for us. If you do not support your application with an English test we may conduct a telephone interview with you before the interview workshop in Potsdam.

Institution code (DI code) for the TOEFL test: 4240 (Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology)

Required Documents

At the end of the online application we ask you to upload the following two documents as PDF:

  1. Your CV including a personal statement about your motivation.
    The personal statement is similar to the cover letter you would write in a written application. We would like to hear about your research interests, your background and career goals. With your motivation statement you can tell us why specifically you would like to join our doctoral programme and convince us that you are an ideal candidate.
  2. Your academic degree documents, transcripts and language test.
    These are documents relevant to your application: your Bachelor and Master degree certificates and transcripts, for example. In addition, if you have taken a language test include a copy of the test certificate.
    All submitted documents and certificates must be in English or German. If they are not in either language, please submit a copy of the original document and a translation into English. Candidates who are accepted into the programme will have to show the original documents and, if applicable, certified translations into English when they register with the University.

All documents should be converted into PDF format before uploading them. If possible, try to optimize the size of the PDF.

Please note that we can only consider applications that are complete.

Research Interest

In our application form, we ask you to name three IMPRS faculty members whose research is of interest to you and whose research groups you would like to join should you be a successful candidate. You should explain your motivation for choosing a research group and tell us why specifically you are interested in the research of this group. Moreover, we ask you to write an essay that addresses the research of the group that you would like to join the most. In your essay, you can show us your ability to think independently and creatively about science.

You can find a list of our faculty members with brief descriptions of their research on the “IMPRS faculty” page. If you click on the name of a faculty member, you are guided to their websites where you find more information about the research in the faculty member’s group and department. Please note that some faculty members may not be available for new projects during specific application calls.

Evaluation and Selection Procedure

All applications will be reviewed during the application time frame. A shortlist will be created based on the best applications and excellent reference letters. Please do not send references directly to us, we will contact your referees. We may contact your referees before the application deadline, and we may also contact you if we have any questions regarding your application.

The best candidates will be invited for our two-day selection workshop. The workshop will take place about 8-10 weeks after the application deadline. On the first day, candidates will give a 10 minute oral presentation about their previous scientific work (e.g. their Masters thesis) and are then asked questions by the audience for 5-10 minutes. On the second day of the workshop, there will be half hour interviews with faculty and coordinators. We may provide you with one or two publications as preparatory material for the interviews 10 days in advance. During the workshop, you will have the chance to visit research groups and talk to group members. You will also get the chance to meet students from the doctoral programme and get a guided tour to learn more about the Institute and University of Potsdam.

Final decisions for the awarding of doctoral fellowships will be within three weeks after the selection workshop.


Important tips for the different steps in the application and selection procedure are on the second page - please read on!

A PDF with instructions, tips and a field-by-field description of the online application form can be downloaded - have a look in the column on the right!

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