The IMPRS for Organismal Biology regularly accepts new PhD fellows once a year. We announce new open PhD projects in November. Application deadline for these positions is January 15. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to our Selection Symposium in March. Successful applicants start their PhD projects latest in September. Please, before applying, carefully read our Application Instructions!

Below you will find more information on the requirements, how to apply, registration for the application process, required documents and the selection procedure!


The three locations of the IMPRS for Organismal Biology in southern Germany: Radolfzell, Konstanz, and Seewiesen.

We invite applications from all countries. Applicants must have graduated from a min. 4-year study program with a comprehensive scientific thesis work in Biology or a related field (this might be a Master's degree or an equivalent degree). It is not necessary to hold the degree at the time of application. However, you must have been awarded your degree prior to the start of the program. The quality of the degrees (i.e. eligibility) will be checked by University of Konstanz on a case-by-case basis.
Candidates need to be fluent in written and spoken English and - unless native speakers - have to document their proficiency in English (e.g. TOEFL). German is not required, but students from abroad will be offered opportunities to take German courses.

How to Apply

You can only apply via our three-tier electronical application process. Please do not send any other type of application by regular mail or email as they will be rejected. The application must be completed in English only. Besides the online application form, we need several documents from you. Documents that are not in English or German need to be translated. You need to upload all the required documents as one single pdf-file. Please give yourself enough time to submit your application and do not wait until the last moment as technical difficulties or other problems might occur. The Max Planck Society and the University of Konstanz are equal opportunity employers.

Registration for the application process

  • You first have to register for the application process on our registration website (available only during the application period).
  • You will receive an email with your personal registration code and two links. One link will lead you to our online application form, the other link will lead your referees to the online recommendation form.
  • Provide your referees with your personal registration code and the link to the online recommendation form. Make sure they realize that we can consider your application only if they fill-out the recommendation form and upload their recommendation letter prior our application deadline (January 15). You will receive a confirmation email after each of your referees uploaded her/his recommendation letter.
  • Assemble all required documents, scan them and convert them into one single pdf-file and name it LastName.FirstName.pdf.
  • Carefully fill-out the online application form, upload your pdf and press the start-button. You will receive an email confirming your upload.
  • After we received your complete application and the two recommendation letters in time you will get an email Mid-February telling if you are shortlisted and therefore invited for the Selection Symposium or not (occasionally there will be a scheduled telephone interview before the invitation is sent out).

Required Documents

  • We need certain documents that prove your specifications in your online application form. Documents that are not in English or German need to be completed with a translation.
  • Your academic background is verified by certificates of relevant university examinations (e.g. BSc and MSc degrees), and a detailed record of study / transcript (a list of attended courses and – if applicable – corresponding grades). Please include an explanation of the grading system at your university, since we get applications from all over the world but do not know all the different university grading systems (obviously, the German grading system does not need to be explained).
  • The official teaching language of the IMPRS for Organismal Biology is English. Therefore you need to convince us that your English proficiency is sufficient for immediately starting with your research work. The best and most reliable way is an acceptable result in an internationally recognized test (e.g. TOEFL). Nevertheless, a verifiable higher education in English, or a reasonably long stay in an English speaking country are also convincing. However you wish to prove your English skills, we need it documented by a third party.
  • If you want to add further information relevant for the project and/or show your personal preferences, you are very welcome to upload an individual CV (max. 3 pages, no photograph please).
  • Add further certificates that prove the given information in the application. But please, only provide documents which are important to support your application. Do not overload your application with certificates and documents of minor significance.
Selection Symposium 2011 at the University of Konstanz.
(Picture: Maggie Ko)

Selection Procedure

The applications are reviewed by all IMPRS for Organismal Biology faculty members. Based on their academic qualification, motivation, suitability for the program, and letters of recommendation, shortlisted applicants are invited to the Selection Symposium.
During the Selection Symposium, the candidates are expected to present their most relevant research project and will meet the IMPRS faculty and students to discuss previous training and research experience, to evaluate future plans, and to learn more about the IMPRS program and ongoing research in the working groups. After the Selection Symposium, the IMPRS Board will select the candidates based on the suggestions of all IMPRS members.

Travel and accommodation expenses are covered by the IMPRS.

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