PhD in Materials Sciences at International Max Planck Research School SurMa, Germany

Publish Date: Jul 28, 2015

Deadline: Aug 31, 2015

The International Max Planck Research School for Surface and Interface Engineering in Advanced Materials (IMPRS-SurMat) is a structured three-year doctoral programme that gives outstanding students from Germany and abroad the possibility to pursue a PhD. It provides a unique combination of excellent research conditions plus an intensive and interdisciplinary teaching program. The working language is English.

The research focuses on questions centered on surfaces and interfaces of advanced materials. In this context all projects within the IMPRS-SurMat are interdisciplinary - chemists, physicists, material scientists and engineers work together and the approach to the research topics can be experimental as well as theoretical by modelling and simulation.

The school is a cooperative effort from two Max Planck Institutes and one university all located in North Rhine-Westphalia in the west of Germany.

After the successful completion the doctoral degree is conferred by the partner university. In addition the graduates receive a certificate by the IMPRS-SurMat.


PhD students at the IMPRS-SurMat can be admitted with their own funding or can get a scholarship.

Students that will get or are excepting to get funding by another organisation can apply for the IMPRS-SurMat. This funding can be for example by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), by organisations from other countries like the CSC (China Scholarship Council) or by other project funds from the future IMPRS-SurMat supervisor.

The IMPRS-SurMat provides scholarships of 1.365,- EUR per month according to the regulations of the Max Planck Society. Additional allowances for children, child care or health insurance are possible. The scholarship is offered for 3 years and it is free of tax and social insurance. Health insurance is mandatory and must be paid by the student.

There are no tuition fees for the IMPRS-SurMat. The only fee required is a semester contribution of approx. 270,- EUR (in German: Sozialbeitrag, Semesterbeitrag, Rückmeldegebühren) at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum that must be paid each semester. Included is a ticket for public transportation for whole North Rhine-Westphalia.

Living costs
The living costs differ from city to city. In Bochum the rents for housing are lower than in Düsseldorf. There you should calculate 700,- EUR per month for accommodation, clothing and food while in Düsseldorf you should take into account about 900,- EUR per month for the same.

Requirements for Admission

The admission to the IMPRS-SurMat requires:
  • an excellent master's degree in chemistry, physics, materials science, mechanical engineering or related subjects including a thesis
  • a very good knowledge of the English language

How to apply

In order to apply please use our online application server:

The instructions will guide you through the whole application process. We only consider applications that are sent through this application server. Applications via post or e-mail won’t be processed.


  1. Sign up and activate your account
  2. Make your entries
    You will need the following documents as pdf files:
    - CV
    - all university degree certificates
    - all university marksheets/transcripts
    - certificates of additional qualifying exams, practical training or professional work experience, if appropriate
    - proof of English proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS or equivalent information)
  3. Name your referees
    During the application process you will be asked to enter at least two referees who are able to evaluate your personality and qualifications properly. These referees will be informed automatically by email how to enter the recommendation online. You won't be able to submit your application before at least two of your referees submitted their recommendation.
  4. Submit your application

Please take your time and perform the data entries carefully. Think of suitable referees in advance and inform them beforehand so that they are prepared and make sure, they have time to react within the given time frame.
You can stop and save the sessions in between. Only complete and submitted applications will be considered for further processing.

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