© David Ausserhofer


Explore your Passion For Science and become part of an exceptional graduate program to start your career learning and collaborating with leading scientists across Germany!


What is life? Do you want to better understand human (and non-human) cognition? And what will be the next technological quantum leap shaping our societies? Find answers to these questions with your PhD project at the Max Planck Schools! The Max Planck Schools are a joint graduate program of currently 24 universities and 34 institutes from non-university research organizations and connect Germany's leading scientists within one doctoral program. As a member of the Max Planck Schools, you will be able to pursue topics at the forefront of fundamental and applied research.

You will benefit from early access to versatile and first-class infrastructures, close supervision and personal exchange, innovative teaching methods, as well as distinguished career opportunities –Engage in cutting-edge interdisciplinary research in the fields of Cognition, Matter to Life or Photonics and study in the context of a unique network of outstanding scientists, who are leaders in their respective field.

Within our excellent MSc and PhD programs, various institutions throughout Germany will be at your disposal to focus on your specific research interests. Admission to a Max Planck School comes with full funding for up to five years. This ensures that you can focus entirely on your scientific work.


Excellent science requires outstanding researchers. If you aspire to be one of them – join the Max Planck Schools and explore your PASSION FOR SCIENCE!


We offer

  • Combined Master's degree and PhD (or PhD only)
  • cutting-edge interdisciplinary research in the fields Cog, MtL, Phot
  • close supervision by a unique network of outstanding scientists
  • early access to versatile, first-class infrastructures
  • innovative teaching methods (e. g. digital or virtual teaching)
  • Very good connections to the industry, enabling great career opportunities
  • No tuition fee but an internationally competitive funding


Who are we looking for?

The Max Planck Schools warmly invite highly ambitious and promising candidates from all over the world to apply to their excellent PhD programs. The Schools’ different PhD programs are open not only to Master’s, but also to talented Bachelor’s graduates who want to lay the groundwork for their scientific careers within the unique scientific network of the Max Planck Schools.


How to apply?

Applications are accepted exclusively via our online Application portal. Applications must be submitted to the respective Max Planck School on the basis of the specific requirements of each school. Applications via email can unfortunately not be accepted. In order to begin studying at a Max Planck School in autumn of a given year, applications have to be received until December of the previous year. Each School selects their candidates in a competitive multi-stage process.

Details on the recruitment process can be found here

Please make sure to check the FAQ sections, as well.


Admission to a Max Planck School comes with full funding for up to five years. This funding allows you to focus entirely on your scientific work. During the first program phase (usually with a Bachelor’s degree), students receive an attractive scholarship and, if applicable, a subsidy for health insurance and material costs. With the successful completion of the first phase and a contract according to the local Wage Agreement for Public Service (TVöD/TV-L, E 13) in the second phase.


Go to Editor View