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Max Planck School of Photonics (MPSP)

Discover the Max Planck School of Photonics – fully funded PhD program

Your excellent international graduate school in Germany

The Max Planck School of Photonics (MPSP) is a top tier interdisciplinary graduate school in Germany that provides an integrated MSc and PhD program (or PhD only) in Photonics for excellent graduates from all over the world. Our PhD candidates can conduct their research at one of our 17 network partner institutions, i.e. top-ranking universities or renowned research institutions across Germany. The main reasons why our program is the right choice for you:

  • Full funding and no tuition fees
  • Excellent teaching and research facilities
  • Outstanding network of world-renowned Fellows
  • Very good connections to industry
  • Integrated MSc and PhD program

About the program:

Our PhD program is structured in two phases – the “study” and the “research” phase. If you already obtain a qualifying master’s degree, you can directly apply for the 3-year “research phase”.

Students on bachelor level start with the 2-year “study phase” and first obtain a photonics master’s degree from one of our teaching partner universities. You can choose between the following MSc programs of our teaching universities:

  • M.Sc. Advanced Optical Technologies - MAOT program in Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • M.Sc. Photonics - ASP program in Jena
  • M.Sc. Optics and Photonics - KSOP program in Karlsruhe

In the “research phase”, you then conduct your PhD project in the research group of one of our 48 world-renowned Fellows at a high-class university or research institution in Germany. PhD topics are offered in various research fields:

  • Advanced Imaging
  • Biophotonics
  • Fiber Optics
  • Laser Source Development
  • Laser-Driven Particle Acceleration
  • Nanophotonics
  • Optical Communication
  • Optical Design
  • Photonic Production and System Design
  • Quantum Optics
  • Strongfield Physics
  • Ultrafast Physics
  • X-Ray Science

During both phases, the MPSP offers you an additional curriculum, consisting of spring and autumn schools as well as online courses on our virtual campus. Besides scientific specialization, you will have the chance to acquire valuable transferable skills such as programming, teaching methods or presentation skills. This and our close network of PhD candidates and Fellows will prepare you ideally for a bright career.

Max Planck School of Photonics (MPSP)

Application Requirements

  • Bachelor and/or Master of Science/ Engineering/ Technology with significant exposure to physics, electrical engineering, chemistry, photonics or a related subject. If you have not yet finished your degree, you may apply likewise with a preliminary official transcript (university's certified statement of your academic record).
  • At least two referees who can attest to your academic, professional, and/or research abilities.
  • TOEFL, or an equivalent English test.
  • Additional documents and certificates, e.g. CV and letter of motivation.

Timeline of important dates

  • The application phase always runs from September to December for the intake in the autumn of the following year.
  • After the application phase, promising candidates are invited to take a free application test in January. Well-performing applicants are further invited to personal interviews with our Fellows until the end of March.
  • Study Phase candidates start all together in October. Research Phase candidates start until October in individual agreement with their supervising Fellow.

If you have more questions, please consider our website. If your question cannot be answered by the website, please read our FAQs or contact our office:

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