What is the IMPRS-CBSC?
The International Max Planck Research School for Computational Biology and Scientific Computing educates students at the interface of computer science and biology. The school is a joint graduate program of the Freie Universität Berlin (FU) and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (MPIMG). The program features a comprehensive training consisting of
- the PhD thesis work in one of the research groups of the school
- a curriculum comprised of lectures, scientific meetings and workshops in transferable skills
- the possibility for international cooperations and travel
In a well-proven and successful curriculum built around bioinformatics and scientific computing courses at the FU, students have the opportunity to attend lectures while working on their PhD research. Courses, seminars and joint research work foster the establishment of a close-knit community of graduate students where scientific experience and knowledge is exchanged.
PhD, Preparatory Program and Graduation
The PhD program is designed as a 3-year program, starting in autumn, for students who already hold a Master's degree. Scientific research in the program is accompanied by a training and teaching program in English with the main focus on formal sciences. Students shall obtain the ability to independently conduct scientific research in the fields of computational biology and scientific computing. This will be achieved by a combination of course work and students doing research on their PhD project with renowned scientists and learning directly from them.
While also allowing the students to acquire additional knowledge in biology, the course work is aimed primarily at providing the knowledge in the formal sciences required for modeling and analyzing particular biological questions. The theoretical studies are meant to equip students with the tools to work on a particular applied question. For example, working on molecular evolution and phylogeny requires background in algorithms and in probability and statistics. Likewise, most specializations in computational biology and scientific computing have their associated formal methods.
Preparatory Program: Exceptional students with a Bachelor's degree with the necessary background in Bioinformatics or Scientific Computing can apply to the preparatory program and will go through an individually tailored course program based on the two Master programs (Scientific Computing and Bioinformatics) offered by the Freie Universität Berlin. As many of these courses are provided in German, some knowledge of the German language is essential. Bachelor students who do not have the necessary background, (for example a pure computer scientist or physicist) will have additional requirements upon acceptance in the Preparatory Program.
Students in the Preparatory Program take an oral Qualifying Exam covering topics from the first year of course work. On passing this, students join the PhD-program and start the PhD research directly without finishing a Master's degree.
Degree: The doctoral examination at the end of the PhD program entitles the holder to the German doctoral degree "Doctor of Natural Sciences" (Dr. rer. nat.) which is considered to be equivalent to the international academic degree "Doctor of Philosophy" (Ph.D.). The doctoral degree is, in most cases, awarded by the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science of the Freie Universität Berlin.