Frequently Asked Questions about the IMPRS-BAC application

May 26, 2021

Q: I already have a doctorate. Can I apply to the IMPRS?

A: In Germany, you cannot receive another doctorate in the same field twice. If in doubt, contact the PhD coordinator. However, the majority of our PhD students come to us for their first doctorate.

Q: I have a bachelor's degree. Can I apply to the IMPRS?

A: Yes, if you have a bachelor's degree in the computational/mathematical sciences and are aiming for a doctorate in those fields. In that case, you may apply to the "preparatory program". You can tick a box to that effect in the application form. In the preparatory program you will be required to take lectures for the first year, and then take an oral qualifying exam. Upon passing this exam, you may start your doctoral project. You will not gain a master's degree in the preparatory program. Depending on your background, some knowledge of German may be essential, as some lectures at that level are given in German only. If your degree is in the biological sciences and you are aiming for a lab-based doctorate, unfortunately we cannot offer you entry into the preparatory program.

Q: I have a 5-year combined bachelor and master degree. Can I apply to the IMPRS?

A: Yes.

Q: My degree will be granted in January/February/March... . Can I apply to the IMPRS?

A: You must have completed your master's degree by the time you start your doctoral project. We would like all new students to attend a Welcome Week in November of each year. This means that in most cases, your degree should be granted by October. Exceptions may be possible.

Q: Do I need to apply for funding separately?

A: No. All accepted candidates will receive an offer of funding.

Q: Do I need to contact a potential supervisor before submitting my application?

A: No. You may contact them, e.g. if you have a scientific question about a proposal you are tailoring to fit their group. However, a lack of response does not mean that this PI is not interested in you - they may simply not have the time to reply to everyone.

Q: Do I need to use one of the short proposals given on your website?

A: No. You may use them as a starting point for a longer proposal but you can also submit an idea of your own. Please make sure it is within the scope of our research school.

Q: What should a proposal include?

A: It should be about 2-3 pages long and include a brief introduction to the field, the research question you wish to ask, some methods you would use to answer this question and, if possible, some speculation as to the impact of the potential results.

Q: Do I need to provide several proposals if I am interested in more than one group?

A: No. You can indicate your interests in the other groups in the "Research interests" section. You can also include a note in your motivation letter or at the top of your research proposal, explaining that this is just one of the projects you are applying for, mentioning the others.

Q: Why do I need to provide the names of the PIs I am interested in at point of application?

A: This way we can ensure that your application will be seen by the most suitable faculty members. If you are invited for interview and your prefences change in the meantime, this is not a problem and you will have a chance to speak to the PIs whose research is most interesting to you at that point.

Q: Are all faculty members recruiting this year?

A: No. You can assume everyone who has provided short proposals here is interested in hiring a student this year. But there may be other faculty members who are also recruiting. As this may depend on available third-party funding, this information is liable to change up until the interview days.

Q: I may not be able to attend the interview days. Is this a problem?

A: We would prefer it if everyone who is invited to the interview attends them in person. However, in some cases, visa processing times may not permit attendance and we will interview you via video call. During the pandemic, personal interviews may not be possible at all.

Q: Will you pay for my trip to attend the interview days?

A: Yes, up to a reasonable limit, if interviews take place in person (depending on the pandemic). We will also provide accommodation for the duration in Berlin-Dahlem.

Q: I missed the deadline, can I still apply?

A: Not through the application platform. We have one central admission round per year, which is open from October to January, with selection taking place in March/April. Successful candidates can start between April and November (exceptions possible). If you are looking for a PhD position at short notice, you can try to contact participating PIs directly.

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