The IMPRS for Astronomy and Astrophysics and its partners, the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, the University of Bonn and the University of Cologne, offer PhD research contracts funded for three years, which include attractive benefits. Funding is available to attend workshops and conferences. Training in professional skills such as presentation techniques is part of the curriculum. IMPRS researchers have their work place at one of the three partner institutes.
Talent, creativity and passion – those are the qualities the Max Planck Society relies on. We select and support applicants irrespective of their gender, nationality, religion, disabilities, age, cultural background or sexual identity. Applicants must have (or are about to obtain) a degree equivalent to a German university Diploma or Master of Science including a written thesis in Astronomy, Physics, Engineering or a related field. Candidates should have a background in Astrophysics and must be proficient in English. Persons with severe handicaps are especially encouraged to apply (you may mention this in your application).
Applications received until November, 15 24:00 CET of each year will receive full consideration. The research contract can start at any time during the following year. You should be familiar with the research topics offered at our website. You are encouraged to contact beforehand the supervisors of your preferred research topics by email. You may also contact our IMPRS office (email@example.com) or present IMPRS students, who are happy to answer any questions related to studying in Germany.
The application process is via our electronic application portal.
When applying, please ensure you have at hand the following information and documents as PDF files (in English (preferred) or German).
- A motivation letter (2-4 pages), including a description of your skills and research experience and mentioning your preferred research topics. You can also suggest a topic not on our list. A template for a motivation letter can be downloaded here. This document should be named surname_letter.pdf.
- Your CV; this document should be named surname_CV.pdf.
- Provide the names and email addresses of two or three professional references, who know you well and who have agreed to write a recommendation letter (recommendation letters received by November, 22 will receive full consideration). We will instruct them where to upload their recommendations. You will receive a confirmation once your referees upload their letters.
- Documents in the following sequence: B.Sc. transcripts, M.Sc. transcripts (in English or German, please provide a translation to English for other languages, an official translation is not necessary at this stage), this document should be named surname_bsc_msc_transcripts.
- Optional: Any publications including theses that resulted from your previous research concatenated to one pdf file. This document should be named surname_docs.pdf.
The application portal will be opened beginning of August, deadline for applications is November 15th
- Applications are evaluated by our Selection Committee.
- The top-ranked applicants are invited (physically or via Skype-conference) to an interview and an oral presentation of their thesis work (January).
- The Selection Committee recommends a final ranking to the IMPRS board. This list still may contain more candidates than PhD thesis that can be offered.
- Supervisors will start negotiations with the most highly ranked applicants.
- You will be notified whether or not your application has been successful. Please be aware that the admission to our IMPRS is very international and highly competitive, so that we sometimes have to reject candidates with an excellent CV.
The next application deadline will be Nov 15th 2018
This video shows you how to do your research at a Max Planck Institute.
PhD Projects and Supervisors
Some representative PhD projects at the IMPRS for Astronomy and Astrophysics. Mention in your motivation letter, which projects attract you most, and how you could contribute. We encourage you to contact the PIs of the projects for any questions or suggestions.
If a supervisor is not faculty of of the U of Cologne or Bonn, you normally need a faculty member as co-supervisor.
These students can be contacted for any questions applicants have on living conditions, studies, research conditions etc.
University of Bonn
University of Cologne
Established in 1388, the University of Cologne (German: Universität zu Köln) is one of the oldest universities in Europe and, with about 50,000 students, one of the largest in Germany. [more]