The International Max Planck Research School for Computational Biology and Scientific Computing Graduate Program 2017, Germany

Publish Date: Jan 24, 2017

Deadline: Feb 24, 2017

What is the IMPRS-CBSC?

The International Max Planck Research School for Computational Biology and Scientific Computing educates students at the interface of computer science and biology. The school is a joint graduate program of the Freie Universität Berlin (FU) and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (MPIMG). The program features a comprehensive training consisting of

  • the PhD thesis work in one of the research groups of the school
  • curriculum comprised of lectures, scientific meetings and workshops in transferable skills
  • the possibility for international cooperations and travel

In a well-proven and successful curriculum built around bioinformatics and scientific computing courses at the FU, students have the opportunity to attend lectures while working on their PhD research. Courses, seminars and joint research work foster the establishment of a close-knit community of graduate students where scientific experience and knowledge is exchanged.

PhD, Preparatory Program and Graduation

The PhD program is designed as a 3-year program, starting in autumn, for students who already hold a Master's degree. Scientific research in the program is accompanied by a training and teaching program in Englishwith the main focus on formal sciences. Students shall obtain the ability to independently conduct scientific research in the fields of computational biology and scientific computing. This will be achieved by a combination of course work and students doing research on their PhD project with renowned scientists and learning directly from them.

While also allowing the students to acquire additional knowledge in biology, the course work is aimed primarily at providing the knowledge in the formal sciences required for modeling and analyzing particular biological questions. The theoretical studies are meant to equip students with the tools to work on a particular applied question. For example, working on molecular evolution and phylogeny requires background in algorithms and in probability and statistics. Likewise, most specializations in com­putational biology and scientific computing have their associated formal methods.

Online Application

Our application platform will stay open until 24th of February, 2017

With the application we ask for 

  • a letter of motivation
  • a formal CV
  • your certificates
  • the names of two referees who will write a reference letter by the deadline
  • and a research proposal

After the deadline, all applications are reviewed by the coordinator and the faculty. A shortlist of around 15 applicants will be invited to the selection symposium, which is held on 18th-19th of May, 2017.

Selection Syposium: The Admission Assessment Days, 18th - 19th of May, 2017

Invited students will stay 2-3 days in Berlin and present themselves and their research in a short talk. After this session, the prospective PhD student is interviewed by the panel of the faculty

On the second day, individual interviews are scheduled on the basis of mutual interests. The applicants can meet the research groups of their prospective supervisors and ask in-depths questions about their future research. Based on the impression of these two assessment days, the faculty chooses students who will be offered a position in the IMPRS.


Selected students can join the school in autumn, best starting on 1st of September. The coordinator will assist with administrative issues and offer support for international students to help with the transition into this exciting phase of life.

Preparatory Program: Exceptional students with a Bachelor's degreewith the necessary background in Bioinformatics or Scientific Computing can apply to the preparatory program and will go through an individually tailored course program based on the two Master programs (Scientific Computing and Bioinformatics) offered by the Freie Universität Berlin. As many of these courses are provided in German, some knowledge of the German language is essential. Bachelor students who do not have the necessary background, (for example a pure computer scientist or physicist) will have additional requirements upon acceptance in the Preparatory Program. 

Students in the Preparatory Program take an oral Qualifying Exam covering topics from the first year of course work. On passing this, students join the PhD-program and start the PhD research directly without finishing a Master's degree.

Degree: The doctoral examination at the end of the PhD program entitles the holder to the German doctoral degree "Doctor of Natural Sciences" (Dr. rer. nat.) which is considered to be equivalent to the international academic degree "Doctor of Philosophy" (Ph.D.). The doctoral degree is, in most cases, awarded by the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science of the Freie Universität Berlin. 

For more information click "Further official information" below.

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