Application and Admission

Graduate program (Ph.D.)

We typically have one call for applications for PhD positions per year. The application deadline for full consideration is usually in early January of each year. The PhD start date is usually in September, however, other start dates throughout the year are possible.

Occasionally, out-of-cycle PhD positions are advertised in individual research groups, please check the AEI's Careers page.

Successful applicants will conduct their research projects at one of the participating institutions, and they will have to enrol and receive their PhD degree from either the University of Potsdam or the Humboldt University in Berlin. The expected duration of the PhD program is three years, and it can be extended to four years in cases of exception. Applicants are required to have a Master's degree (or equivalent) by the start of the PhD program.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their application well in advance of the deadline, since some time has to be taken into account for the submission of the letters of recommendation. An application must include the following documents:

  • A cover letter (brief description of yourself and your motivation to apply),
  • a CV including: an overview of the applicant’s education (please provide a grade summary), research experience (please include a brief scientific description of each project), an overview of relevant course work (e.g., courses in GR, GW physics, Astrophysics, etc.), a detailed overview of relevant skills and knowledge (e.g., programming languages).
  • Copies of degree certificates like M.Sc. or B.Sc. degrees and translations into English (if applicable).  Please note that for university registration upon arrival in Potsdam (not at application), the original certificates are required.  If the M.Sc. degree (or equivalent) is not yet completed at time of application, the B.Sc. certificate (or equivalent) is sufficient.
  • Copies of official university transcripts and translations into English (if applicable).
  • Contact information of three referees for recommendation letters. Referees will be notified by email on how to upload the letters.
  • A research statement describing the student’s past research experience, future research interests and how they relate to the IMPRS’s scientific mission.

All applications are reviewed by the IMPRS admissions committee. The committee develops a shortlist of applicants. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an on-site visit to AEI Potsdam. Especially for international applicants, there may be a preliminary interview via video conference.

During the on-site visit, candidates are invited to present their Masters thesis research in a short seminar, followed by an interview with potential supervisors and the steering committee of the IMPRS. The Equal Opportunity officers will be invited to participate in all student presentations and interview sessions.

Applicants invited for interviews will receive financial support for travel and accommodation.

In accordance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, all personal information gathered in the online submission system will be deleted after no more than six months.

Master's theses projects

While we do not offer master's 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. If you are interested, please submit:

  • your complete BSc transcripts
  • your incomplete MSc transcripts
  • a CV, and
  • a cover letter, explaining your interest in the research areas of the IMPRS, and – if you have a preferred choice – the research group you would like to conduct your MSc thesis research in
  • indicate two contacts, whom we could approach for letters of reference in case you get selected for a thesis project

Please use our online application submission system and upload your documents as a single pdf-file here.

Please note that we have only very few positions available and receive numerous applications. Therefore, if you do not hear from us within 2 months after submission, you should consider your application unsuccessful.

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