Max Planck School of Photonics

  • Deadline: December 15, 2018
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The Max Planck School of Photonics connects the most promising junior researchers with the best scientists within the German research of photonics: interdisciplinary, nationwide and without institutional boarders. Providing a graduate school program for obtaining a PhD with an integrated master course (qualification phase) the Max Planck School of Photonics qualifies the best international junior scientists. From the beginning they are actively and sustainably integrated into the German research system.

The Max Planck School of Photonics offers a unique PhD program for excellent students, which supports the qualification for a career in the field of photonics ranging from fundamental to applied research. For applicants with a Bachelor degree the program offers the possibility to broaden their basic knowledge, specialize and finally obtain a Master degree within a two year qualification period from one of the three universities in Erlangen-Nürnberg, Jena or Karlsruhe. From the very beginning, the participants are integrated into a cluster of German epicenters in the field of photonics. After graduation, the students pass over into the PhD phase of the program at the home institution of one of the fellows within the network of the Max Planck School. The interconnection of qualification and PhD phase qualifies the students for their future promising career. Applicants with a qualifying master degree can directly start their PhD research with one of the outstanding Fellows.

All Participants are integrated in the research groups and contribute with their projects to the unique research infrastructure at the different home institutions. In the context of the School program and due to coordinative workshops and training programs, a close network between all actors is constructed. Hence, a get-together of the most renowned researchers and young scientists of the German photonic landscape is facilitated. In the Max Planck School of Photonics leading guest researchers and university scientists are being connected across different locations, disciplines and institutes, whereby the qualification of the best international young scientists in an excellent environment is similarly being enabled.


Students expecting one of the following degrees Bachelor/Master of Science (B.Sc./M.Sc.), Bachelor/Master of Engineering (B. Eng./M.Eng.) or Bachelor/Master of Technology (B. Tech./M.Tech) with significant exposure to physics, engineering or a related subject can apply for the Max Planck School of Photonics. Further, a proof of English proficiency is required. A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is highly recommended.

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The Max Planck School of Photonics supports and educates excellent students within a novel program in the form of a postgraduate school, which stands out through its German wide network of excellent Fellows. The Fellows are scientists in the field of photonics and practice at institutes from universities, Max-Planck-Institutes, Fraunhofer-Institutes, Leibniz-Institutes und Helmholtz-Research centers. With this, the participants of the School are integrated actively into the photonic network in Germany.

The graduate school contains a doctoral program with an integrated master studies program. Students with a Bachelor degree first receive their Master degree within a two year regular study at a university. Consecutively, they actively follow their research interests within the PhD program. Entering the School directly into the PhD program is also possible. During the participation, financial support is given in form of a scholarship (master program) and an employment contract at the partner institute (doctoral phase). This enables full concentration on the studies and the research project, as well as personal development. Next to the professional training, another goal is the interconnection of students and excellent researchers.


The first students will be able to apply from November 1st 2018 until December 15th 2018 via an application portal available on Interested candidates can register and submit their details and documents electronically via the portal. The applicants will go through a multi-stage selection process.

The following documents are required for the online application:

Bachelor/Master of Science (B.Sc./M.Sc.), Bachelor/Master of Engineering (B.Eng./M.Eng.) or Bachelor/Master of Technology (B.Tech./M.Tech.) degree with significant exposure to physics, engineering or a related subject. If you have not yet finished your current academic degree, you may apply likewise with a preliminary Transcript of Records (ToR) including the marks of all completed courses thus far.A comprehensive curriculum vitae (CV). Please list all stages of your education in chronological order. The CV must contain a clear statement about your current status and/or occupation including information on current employments, unemployment, or parental leave. Any prizes, scholarship, extraordinary social, cultural or sportive activities may also be part of your CV.A letter of motivation (about 1 page at maximum and to be typed).A copy of your passport.Your school leaving certificate with marks.A transcript of records with explicit marks, and if available also a description with the explicit content of the courses you have mastered.A Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test (mandatory).Two letters of recommendation from two different referees (professors).  A template accessible after registration within the portal for this is available; however, is not mandatory to be used by the referees. Please make sure that each letter of recommendation is signed. If one or both referees rather prefer personalized, free-style recommendation letters, they should contain a date and an official headline/stamp from the higher education institution the referee is affiliated with.A proof of English proficiency byTOEFL, or an equivalent English test (minimum points/grades): TOEFL PBT (550), TOEFL CBT (215), TOEFL IBT (85), IELTS (6.5), orCambridge English Proficiency (CPE) exam or Cambridge English Advanced (CAE) exam, orGerman "Abitur" with comprehensive coverage of the English language.Language exemptions: The following students are exempted from providing the proof of English proficiency: nationals from the USA, U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or Canada; or B.Sc. or M.Sc. graduates who obtained their qualification in one of these countries.

Note that all documents must be provided in English or German for evaluation. In case that the original document is issued in another language than English or German, you are advised to upload both a copy of the original and a (certified) English translation to complete your application.

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