Frequently asked questions

Do I have to be a German or European citizen to apply?


No, we encourage and welcome applications from candidates of all nationalities and all backgrounds. As we receive applications from close to 100 different countries, please try to help us understand your education / academic achievements / your country’s grading system in the relevant sections in the application system.

Do I receive financial support through the graduate school?


Yes, you will be paid a salary according to German public tariff laws by the lab that you join. This will easily cover your student expenses and living costs in Berlin. The funding source may differ depending on the project you end up with.

What are my chances of getting accepted?


As a rough estimate we can tell you that we usually receive around 100-150 applications per position. We make our decision solely based on the quality of the applications, so please take the time to demonstrate your qualities and make your application stand out! Around 5-6 candidates will be invited to the online panel sessions.

I hold degree XYZ – am I eligible to apply?


If you fulfill the criteria mentioned in our eligibility section (excellent German MSc, Diploma or international equivalents in a discipline related to our research) then you are eligible to apply. You do not have to have completed your degree at the time of application but before starting with us (we cannot give you a work contract before you finish your degree). If you hold an MD, DVM or other related degrees, you will need to demonstrate extensive laboratory skills, epidemiological experience or bioinformatics knowledge in order for us to consider your application. Our recommendation is to always go for an application if in doubt! Please accept our sincere apologies that we cannot analyze individual situations at this stage.

I indicated my degrees but once I want to submit, the message “missing degree” appears and submission is not possible.


A submission is not possible if you have not indicated a BSc degree. In case you did an integrated Bachelor/Master program or a diploma equivalent with equivalent qualification, please contact us to help submit your application once ready manually from our side.

Are the English language certificates for non-native speakers mandatory for the application, and if yes, what level of language is required for the certificate?


It is advantageous to have a language test result (TOEFL or IELTS). Alternatively, if you have studied in English or have been abroad, you can indicate this in the application system. In this case, please upload a letter of the university stating you studied in English (also indicate course length/hours). It is not an obligatory requirement to have taken a language test, however we expect excellent command of spoken and written English from all our applicants and providing a language test result helps us with the assessment. If we have doubts about an applicants’ English skills, we may conduct short phone calls or online pre-interviews at a later application stage.

My referee is not around – can they submit their reference letter later?


Submission of reference letters is possible until December 4th. If your referee does not provide the reference letter until this date, your application is automatically discarded (only applications with 2 submitted references will pass to the assessment stage). So please make sure to advise your referees on time and make sure from your end, they submit your reference on time.

My referee did not receive the request for reference, what may be the problem?


Please make sure the indicated e-mail address is correct before you contact us. The coordination office can change your referee’s email and generate a new reference request.

My referees gave me the recommendation letter directly to submit. I have attached their recommendation letters in the section “additional documents”. Will my application be considered, if my referees do not write me an extra recommendation letter?


We do not accept reference letters provided directly by the candidate. If your referee is unable or not willing to upload the reference letter to our system, this is fine, but it is required that the recommendation is sent directly by your referee (from their professional email address) to us. So please ask them to send the letter to us by e-mail in this case and we will add it to your application. If they are unable to provide a letter this way, please change your referee.

When will I learn about the results of the application process?


We will keep you up to date with the application process. Assessment will only start after the call has closed. You can expect a first individual feedback on your application by mid / end of December 2023. Candidates progressing further through the selection process will be kept informed. We may keep a number of applications on the waiting lists in the early assessment stages, and will inform you accordingly. A final decision will be made by the end of March.

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


The vast majority of students join the IMPRS-IDI for their first doctorate. We do not exclude applications from candidates with a PhD in a different discipline, but please explain your situation clearly in the motivation statement. If in doubt, contact the coordinator.

I missed the deadline, can I still apply?


No, after midnight CET on November, 30th 2023 our application system will automatically close. No further application is possible. We have one to two central admission rounds per year. If a call is closed, we will normally not recruit until the next central call.

Is there a fee for doing a doctoral degree in your institute?


In order to graduate you have to enroll at a Berlin university. The universities will charge a semester fee (no tuition fee) which is around ~150 € per term plus public transport ticket. Please check the detailed cost at the relevant university’s websites (HU, FU, TU, Charité). Neither the graduate school or its affiliated institutions under the IMPRS-IDI program will charge a fee.

Is the employment full time? And are the positions paid?


Yes, employment is full-time. The salary of each position will vary slightly depending on the institute you will be employed by (chosen PI). PhD candidates at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology receive a contract equivalent to 65% public tariff level E13 step 1. This salary already includes health insurance and social security, students currently receive ca 2045 Eur net/month).

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