DegreeStudents enrolled in the International Max Planck Research School Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth (IMPRS-PMPG) receive a doctoral degree (Dr rer nat) from the Faculty of Science at the University of Potsdam after they have successfully completed the programme and defended their thesis.Doctoral degree awarded byUniversity of PotsdamIn cooperation withMax Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology and University of PotsdamCourse language(s)All scientific lectures and courses, as well as transferable skills training courses within the IMPRS-PMPG, are held in English. Doctoral candidates can write and defend their thesis in English or German. German language courses are offered in collaboration with the Science Park Potsdam-Golm and at the University of Potsdam.Admission semesterAny timeBeginningThere is no fixed time for the beginning of the programme, i.e. the start of the doctoral research project within the IMPRS-PMPG. Our doctoral candidates usually start their projects in late summer or autumn after having been interviewed and selected in spring.
The academic year at the University of Potsdam is organised into semesters. The winter semester begins in October and the summer semester begins in April. It is advisable to enrol before the beginning of a semester. Doctoral candidates can start their research project before enrolment at the Science Faculty of the University of Potsdam is complete.Programme durationThree yearsApplication deadlineCalls for applications for IMPRS-PMPG fellowships and application deadlines are posted on the programme's website. Usually, the application deadline for fellowships is in January and interviews are held in late March / early April.
Students who receive funding for their doctoral studies from other sources and wish to be associated with IMPRS-PMPG can apply throughout the year.Course contentGreen plants produce all their own organic compounds from inorganic substances. A plant's ability to grow depends entirely on its photosynthetic and metabolic capacity. Growth and primary metabolism are highly interconnected via multiple cross-acting regulatory mechanisms that adjust the rate of growth to the metabolic status of a plant.
The study of the relationship between primary metabolism and growth in plants is the focus of the International Max Planck Research School "Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth" (IMPRS-PMPG), a joint doctoral programme between the University of Potsdam and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology. Our faculty includes professors and group leaders from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology and the Faculty of Science of the University of Potsdam.
Research is at the core of the three-year programme of IMPRS-PMPG. We provide a unique training opportunity in plant genomics and systems biology. Arabidopsis thaliana is our primary model organism, and our research projects use a range of methods - from molecular physiology, molecular phenotyping (-omics) technologies, and cutting-edge analytical techniques to bioinformatics and modelling.
The doctoral candidates within the programme come from a variety of scientific backgrounds - biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, informatics, mathematics, and related fields. Our doctoral students receive interdisciplinary scientific training through lecture series and seminar courses, with English as a working language. A part of our curriculum is devoted to transferable skills training, such as scientific presentation and writing, communication, team-work, etc. We aim to be as flexible as possible in our scientific and complementary skills training so that the curricular activities in IMPRS-PMPG fit the individual needs and interest of each doctoral student and his or her thesis project.
Educational organisationThe three-year training programme provides interdisciplinary scientific training through lectures, seminars, practical courses, participation at national and international conferences and/or summer schools, and teaching experience. The scientific training is complemented by transferable skills courses and workshops.
The thesis research is carried out under the direct supervision of one or more members of the IMPRS faculty. In addition, each doctoral student is supported by an independent PhD advisory committee. The PhD advisory committee comprises two to three members and is tailored to the needs of the student and the thesis project.Study abroad unit(s)There are no fixed or obligatory periods for studying abroad. Travel to laboratories or research units in other countries is possible if this is necessary for the research project.Forms of assessmentAt the end of the programme, a written thesis (either as a monograph or based on cumulative publications) and a successful thesis defence (viva voce) qualify for a doctoral degree at the University of Potsdam.
For courses offered within the programme, there may be assignments and/or tests.General promotion / fundingInternational Max Planck Research SchoolCourse-related German language coursesYesCourse objectivesThe IMPRS-PMPG doctoral programme provides intellectual and technical training through original research, interdisciplinary dialogue, and training of transferable skills.
The aim is to allow highly motivated students to work on scientific problems in modern plant biology and earn a doctoral degree. Our research projects follow a range of approaches - from molecular physiology to bioinformatics and modelling. The thesis research is carried out in a multidisciplinary environment, which enables students to learn the specific research skills and methods they need for their project and, at the same time, gives them the opportunity to acquire a broad knowledge of systems-oriented plant biology and science.
The doctoral degree provides the foundation for a future career in science. Together with the scientific curriculum, the transferable skills courses offered by the programme provide support for the personal career development of our students.
Tuition feesThere are no tuition fees for doctoral students.Enrolment feesStudents are enrolled as doctoral students at the University of Potsdam. The university charges a semester fee of about 280 EUR for matriculation/enrolment. There are two semesters per academic year in Germany, the winter semester (October to March) and the summer semester (April to September). The fee includes a student card and the "Semesterticket", which entitles students to use public transport (regional, urban and underground trains, buses, tram) in Potsdam, Berlin, and surrounding areas.Costs of livingThe IMPRS is located in Potsdam, which is close to Berlin. Students can live in either city. The cost of accommodation is moderate, about 350 to 500 EUR per month, depending on the type of accommodation (shared flat, flat for a single person, student residence). With a bit of patience, accommodation is relatively easy to find.
Health insurance is mandatory in Germany and may range from about 60 to 120 EUR per month for a single person.Funding opportunities within the universitySuccessful applicants will receive an IMPRS fellowship, unless they obtain their own support (stipend, grant or fellowship) or receive support directly from a research group. Net income is approx. 1,200-1,300 EUR per month. The exact amount may vary depending on the type and source of funding.
Language requirementsThe working language of the programme is English, both within the curriculum and for the scientific communication between our scientists. Thus, students belonging to the research school should have a very good knowledge of written and spoken English.
Candidates should support their application with proof of proficiency in English, for example, scores of internationally valid language exams like TOEFL, IELTS, MTELP or other tests. If no English test is submitted, proficiency in English may be evaluated during a personal interview.
We do not require any knowledge of German. Nevertheless, some knowledge of German is useful for getting around Potsdam and Berlin. German language courses for those interested in learning some German are offered at regular intervals by the University and in collaboration with the Science Park Potsdam-Golm (course levels: beginners and advanced 1).Academic requirementsApplicants for the programme must hold or be about to obtain a Master's or equivalent degree in a subject relevant to our programme (biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, bioinformatics, informatics, mathematics, or related fields). The academic performance should be excellent (rank at or near top of class).
Doctoral candidates register with the Science Faculty at the University of Potsdam. Doctoral studies require a university degree with at least four years of study (e.g. Master of Science). If you are unsure whether you fulfil the degree requirements, please contact the IMPRS-PMPG coordinator.Where to applyApplication is via an online portal which is open during application calls.
Arrival supportThe IMPRS coordination office provides new students with the necessary information before and after their arrival in Germany. Together with the personnel office at the MPI, we provide support for practical matters such as visas, accommodation, health insurance, and registration at the University of Potsdam.Services and support for international studentsDuring the whole period of their studies, students are supported by the IMPRS coordination office.
In addition, the Welcome Center at the University of Potsdam offers information and support to international scientists, organises events and monthly meetings, etc.:
http://www.uni-potsdam.de/en/welcomecenter.htmlAccommodationFor the first weeks, we offer accommodation in the MPI's guest house on campus. This allows for time to look around for accommodation in Potsdam or Berlin. The market is lively and with a bit of patience, it is possible to find a good flat or a room in a shared flat. Accommodation in student housing run by Potsdam Student Services is only available for enrolled students and places are offered to doctoral students only if there is capacity.
Below is a selection of internet resources:
- http://www.wg-gesucht.de/en/ & http://www.studenten-wg.de/ (internet portals for flats, shared flats, rooms, etc.; many offers are private offers; you can search by city)
- http://www.immobilienscout24.de/ (internet portal for flats, houses, etc.; you can search by city and enter preferences for location, kitchen, balcony, etc.)
- http://www.youniq.de/en/rent/jochen-klepper-str-1-7 (private student apartments in Potsdam)
- http://www.studentenwerk-potsdam.de/wohnen.html (university student housing run by Potsdam Student Services)
Course websiteAbout the universityThe IMPRS Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth is embedded in a vibrant research community. More than 100 doctoral candidates study under the guidance of our faculty, their groups, and departments.
Plant Genomics/Systems Biology is one of the focus areas of the University of Potsdam. Several faculty members of the IMPRS Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth are professors of the University of Potsdam's Faculty of Science, within the Institute of Biochemistry and Biology which is located at the Science Park Potsdam-Golm.
The Science Park Potsdam-Golm (see: http://www.wissenschaftspark-potsdam.de/en/index.html) hosts the University of Potsdam, three Max Planck Institutes, two Fraunhofer Institutes, and a centre for start-up companies. This provides an excellent infrastructure for modern cross-disciplinary training, and our students will have many opportunities for discussion and exchange of ideas. Several sports and other cultural activities take place on campus - students can join the MPI's football team or enjoy a game of beach volleyball, for example.
Within the University of Potsdam, the Potsdam Graduate School (PoGS; http://www.pogs.uni-potsdam.de/) unites many individual doctoral candidates and more than twenty PhD programmes in different disciplines and faculties under one roof and offers support, for example through seminars.
The University of Potsdam has about 20,400 students, roughly 10% of them international. More information about the university can be found here: http://www.uni-potsdam.deTotal number of students100Total percentage of international students50 %About the cityThe Science Park Potsdam-Golm, which hosts the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology and several institutes of the University of Potsdam, is in a green area outside the centre of Potsdam, but is well connected to both Potsdam centre and Berlin by train or bus.
Potsdam is an attractive city with a population of about 200,000. It is home to the famous Sanssouci Palace, many lakes and beautiful parks. Within Potsdam, it is easy to get around on foot and by bike or public transport.
Berlin, the capital of Germany and, with a population of 3.5 million, Germany's largest city, is very close to Potsdam. The typical commuting time by public transport from the centre of Berlin to Golm is about one hour. Four universities and several research institutions are located in Berlin and it is not difficult for Potsdam students to attend events and scientific talks in Berlin.
A wealth of cultural life can be enjoyed in Potsdam and Berlin. To find out more, see: