Picture on top of page: Students of all three Max Planck Schools at Kick-off-symposium of the Max Planck Schools in September 2019. © David Ausserhofer


Be part of the Max Planck Schools and explore your Passion For Science with our excellent and fully funded PhD programs!

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts" – this is the underlying idea of the Max Planck Schools. We take graduate education in Germany to a new level, creating uniquely attractive PhD programs for ambitious and promising candidates from all over the world.


„We want to pool Germany’s excellence in growing research fields in order to attract and train the best PhD candidates worldwide and enable them to make lasting contributions to a worthwhile future.“ - Prof. Martin Stratmann, President of the Max Planck Society

Since 2019, the Max Planck Schools are offering a visionary graduate program to exceptional PhD candidates. The faculties of each School unite the best scholars in their field to teach and work with highly motivated doctoral candidates, all embedded in a unique network spanning across universities and non-university research organizations.

The Max Planck Schools are looking for highly talented applicants with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from all over the world, aiming to further develop their research skills and network in one of the most innovative graduate programs in Germany. Their applications are screened in a multistage process to identify high potential candidates. Over the course of three to five years, candidates will earn their PhD. Close contact to faculty and fellow students is ensured via regular seminars and lab rotations as well as innovative (digital) teaching.

Our program offers innovative formats and exceptional mentoring by our Fellows in order to attract the best young researchers to conduct their doctoral studies in Germany. Supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the pilot phase of the Max Planck School serves as a platform for educational reform that aims to advance the system of doctoral education in Germany.

Currently, there are three Max Planck Schools in the fields of Cognition, Matter to Life, and Photonics.

Are you looking for an exciting and challenging graduate program to kick-start your academic career, or do you want to join the interdisciplinary faculties of the Max Planck Schools as a Fellow? Check out the Schools’ programs and partners and become part of a unique network of outstanding scientists!

Our Mission
At the Max Planck Schools the brightest minds in their fields have come together from within the scientific community to interconnect in faculties. Our selected PhD candidates benefit from these unique networks through close personal exchange, excellent mentoring and early access to first-class infrastructures. more
Our Fellows are leaders in their respective field and provide both excellent and close supervision within the framework of a structured PhD program. Doctoral candidates gain early access to high-class infrastructures and benefit from the stellar expertise of our faculty.
The Fellows of the Max Planck Schools, leading scientists in their respective fields, mentor our young researchers and accompany them throughout their PhD studies. Learn more about the outstanding scientists in our program. more
Each Max Planck School is steered by distinguished researchers as Speakers and supported by a head office that is responsible for program implementation and administration of the respective School
Each Max Planck School is steered by distinguished researchers as Speakers and supported by a head office that is responsible for program implementation and administration of the respective School. more
At the Max Planck Schools, PhD candidates enjoy a wide range of benefits. First and foremost, the unique, Germany-wide network of leading scientists in three interdisciplinary future oriented fields: Cognition, Matter to Life and Photonics.
The Max Planck Schools offer exceptional PhD programs with fully financed PhD positions for Bachelor and Master Graduates in an excellent scientific environment. more



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