General Information

A joint PhD program in Gravitational-Wave Astrophysics

The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) on Gravitational Wave Astronomy offers a doctoral education in all aspects of gravitational-wave physics as well as the behavior of gravity and matter in extreme conditions. The IMPRS has two branches, one in Hannover on experimental and observational aspects of gravitational-wave astronomy, and one in Potsdam dedicated to analytical and numerical relativity, data analysis, astrophysics of compact objects, and multi-messenger astronomy. You are on the pages of the IMPRS-branch in Potsdam, which involves several partner institutes (please see below).

Our goal is to educate well-rounded researchers by providing a unique scientific environment and excellent research and training resources to prepare them for a successful scientific career. It is an English-language program with a course and research curriculum designed for a 3-4 year duration. The curriculum consists of lectures, focus courses, seminars, retreats, and soft skills seminars. Our students receive full financial support for the duration of their PhD. Students also receive support for participation in conferences, and have access to state-of-the-art high-performance computing facilities.

Students will benefit from a large network of regional, national, and international collaborations, and will have the opportunity to join the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the LISA Consortium.

The doctoral degree will be awarded by the University of Potsdam or the Humboldt University of Berlin, after acceptance of the doctoral thesis and a successful thesis defense.

Master Thesis Projects

While we do not offer master thesis projects on a regular basis, IMPRS research groups may occasionally offer thesis projects (typically 6-12 months duration) based on open positions in the groups and the qualifications of the applicant. More information can be found here.

Participating Institutions

The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute/AEI) is one of the world’s leading centers for gravitational physics, with a unique breadth and depth of its approach to the subject. The research topics range from the theoretical, observational and experimental aspects of gravitational-wave physics and astrophysics, to unification of general relativity and quantum mechanics, all the way to geometrical and analytical aspects of the theory. The AEI has two branches, one in Potsdam, and one in Hannover.

The Humboldt University (HU) of Berlin was founded in 1810, making it the oldest of Berlin’s four universities. It has an enrollment of 32,000 students and offers degrees in close to 200 disciplines. The HU counts 55 Nobel laureates among its researchers and alumni.

With more than 20,000 students, the University of Potsdam (UP) is the biggest university in the federal state of Brandenburg. Due its close proximity to more than 40 research institutions in the region, the university closely cooperates with numerous organizations, such as Helmholtz, Leibniz and Max Planck Institutes.

The Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) explores astrophysical questions ranging from the investigation of the sun to cosmology. Its key areas of research are cosmic magnetic fields, extragalactic astrophysics, and the development of research technologies in the areas of spectroscopy, robotic telescopes and e‑Science. The AIP carries out its research within numerous national, European and international cooperative ventures.

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