About us

The International Max Planck Research School on Gravitational Wave Astronomy is a collaboration between several institutions, including the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) at Potsdam and Hannover (Germany), the Leibniz Universität of Hannover and the Laser Zentrum Hannover. It aims at educating a new generation of researchers in the emerging field of gravitational wave astronomy. The education will cover the complete scope of the field from classical interferometry on the ground and in space to advanced and nonclassical interferometry, from source modelling and perturbative studies to fully nonlinear numerical simulations and data analysis. Our campuses are located in Hannover and in Potsdam.

The Curriculum

Our IMPRS curriculum ensures a high-quality and comprehensive graduate education. In addition to regular university courses, special courses focusing on the school's chosen research are given by institute staff members or long-term visitors as semester or block courses. The courses are tailored to address the current research, technology, and methods relevant to the PhD work.

Highlights of the curriculum are:

  • Regular seminars on the topics of modern research, providing opportunities for discussion and exchanges between the IMPRS students, lecturers, and researchers
  • Three times a year, students come together for a lecture week, learning other topics of gravitational wave astronomy they do not specialize in
  • Students participate in summer schools organized by the IMPRS or by other research institutions in Europe or overseas
  • Students may also visit an international institute to carry out data analysis or theoretical research as well as experiments for a period of several weeks
  • The IMPRS offers a series of practical training sessions for "transferable skills" in areas such as presentation of scientific results, or the preparation of job applications
  • Students participate in at least one international conference and one German research conference or workshop presenting their thesis results



We welcome applications from students of all countries. A Diploma, Staatsexamen or a Master's degree are equivalent qualifications for admission. Exceptionally good students with a Bachelor's degree (e.g., BA with honours) will be given the possibility of obtaining the diploma degree at the University of Hannover. It will be expected that candidates also work towards acquiring some basic knowledge of the German language.

Successful applicants will receive a working contract that includes contributions to health insurance, pension funds and is taxable competitive stipend commensurate with local pay scales. Graduation will normally take place at the Leibniz Universität Hannover or the University of Potsdam. Procedures to obtain joint PhD degrees with the Universities in Glasgow, Paris, and Trento are already in place.

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