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When will the next call for applications be opened?

The ninth call for applications is now closed. The next call will open in the Fall of 2019.

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Do you accept international applications?

We welcome also non-German students to apply. More than half of our graduate students is actually not from Germany.

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Which scientific background can I have?

We invite students from various backgrounds, including neuroscience, mathematics, physics, computer science, (bio) chemistry, biology and medicine to apply. If you do not have a background in neuroscience, it is even more important to motivate your choice to do a PhD in our IMPRS.

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How do I apply?

We offer an online platform where you can register, you can upload supplementary materials and two referees can upload their letters of recommendation as well as evaluate.

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I want to apply as a fast-track student. How does this work?

Fast track students can apply like students holding a Master’s as their highest degree.

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Do you offer a Master’s in neuroscience or related fields?

No, the IMPRS does not offer any Master’s. The Goethe University however does. See also the websites of the INS Master and other Masters.

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Can I send my application via email?

No, you can only apply online.

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Can I save my application and work on it later?

No, the system does not offer this function. It is advisable to copy the text before applying.

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Do I need to send proof of language skills?

No, you need to motivate your language skills in the application.

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I received two registration codes. What happened?

You probably pressed the submit button twice. Please contact the coordinator to solve this.

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I haven't received a registration code.

Please have some patience and regularly check your spam folder. If you did not receive an email after eight hours, please contact the coordinator.

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When is my application complete?

Your application can be evaluated if we received your supplementary materials (in the correct format) and two letters of recommendation. Only in exceptional cases, we evaluated an application with only one letter of recommendation.

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When is the deadline for the letters of recommendation?

The deadline for the letters of recommendation is also December 1, 2018. You might want to inform your referees about this and give them time to submit (e.g. do not apply too close to the deadline).

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What happens after my application?

A selection of about 25 students is made who will invited to an interview symposium.

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When will the interview symposium take place?

The interview symposium will take place on February 6-7, 2019. We have invited all 25 students to the symposium.

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I do not have time to attend the interview symposium.

The symposium is an integral part of the selection procedure. This means that attendance is obligatory.

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When will I receive a conformation to attend?

You will be informed at least three weeks in advance, allowing time to arrange visa etc. Update: We have invited all the students to the symposium.

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Is the symposium free of charge?

Yes, all travel and accommodation costs will be reimbursed as well as the majority of meals are offered by the Institute.

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When can I start?

We currently recruit for the positions starting in the Fall of 2019. Students who are selected can start in August, September or October.

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How is funding arranged?

We offer a contract for one year (funded via the graduate program). Afterwards, you will be paid by your lab of choice and for the remainder of your doctoral studies.

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How long does a PhD in Germany take?

A PhD in Germany is three years. Usually, it takes doctoral students longer to graduate.

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I read that the program offers rotations. How are these organized?

We offer rotations in the first phase of the doctoral studies (until Thesis Proposal Day in April/May of the next year).

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What happens at a Thesis Proposal Day?

At the Thesis Proposal Day, you are asked to report about your rotations and describe your future project. The lectures are attended by IMPRS Faculty members, fellow IMPRs students as well as others interested in your talk.

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Is there an exam?

We do not offer an entrance examination. We do however offer one directly after the Thesis Proposal Day.

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How is progress monitored?

IMPRS organizes Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) meetings. Directly at the start, a advisory meeting will be organised to discuss the educational needs and future rotations. The next step is the Thesis Proposal Day where you present your rotations and your plans.

Here are the checkpoints during the PhD:

  • Checkpoint 1: Thesis Proposal Day (April or May in the year after starting)
  • Checkpoint 2: Project progress (within 12 months after Thesis Proposal Day), a Statement of Agreement will be signed. 
  • Checkpoint 3: Project progress and outlook (within 24 months after Thesis Proposal Day)
  • Checkpoint 4: Project progress (within 36 months after Thesis Proposal Day)
  • Checkpoint 5: Final meeting (more than 36 months after Thesis Proposal Day

During the TAC meeting. the minutes are made by the coordinator in a checkpoint form, which will be signed at checkpoint meeting 2.

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Who is in a TAC?

A Thesis Advisory Committee consists of at least three members, including your supervisor, who can not chair the meeting. At least two members should be IMPRS Faculty members.

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Who will award the degree?

The Max Planck Society can not award doctoral degrees. You will receive the degree from a German university, usually the Goethe University (Frankfurt).




Dr. Arjan Vink

Coordinator IMPRS for Neural Circuits

T: +49 69 850033-2900
M: +49 175 2647988