FAQ

Requirements
 
Which degrees are recognized?
Applicants are required to hold (or obtain within 6 months of the interview week) a university degree equivalent to a Master Degree (MSc; required score ≥75% or German score of at least 'good', <2,5 of 5), including a research thesis, in biology, biotechnology, medicine, molecular medicine, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, physics, or some related field. 

Can I apply before finishing my master studies?
At the time of application, you do not have to have finished your degree. However, students are asked to start their research project within 6 months of the interviews, by which time you should anticipate to hold your degree.
 
I have a medical degree (MD). Am I eligible?
Yes, you are welcome to apply, as long as you have some research experience. 


I have a degree in Public Health? Am I eligible?
If your master (or equivalent) program required a written research project thesis to complete the program, AND you do have some relevant research experience in biology, biotechnology, medicine, molecular medicine, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, physics, or some related field, you are eligible to apply. However, please note that the MDC is a research center, with a focus on basic biomedical research, and available projects are mostly not compatible with a Public Health 
background

My degree is from a university of applied sciences (Fachhochschule). Can I apply?
Yes, the graduates from the universities of applied sciences are welcome to apply if their university program required a written research project thesis to complete the program, and they have relevant research experience. 

I only have a BSc, but a lot of research experience. Can I apply?
Unfortunately, neither a BSc degree alone, even of a 4-year-long program, nor additional experience represent an equivalent to the Master degree, thus you are not eligible.

I already have a PhD. Can I apply for another?
If you already hold a PhD degree, you are not eligible to apply.

Does the program have language requirements and what is the program language?
The program language is English, therefore proficiency in English is a must. For your application, proof of English knowledge is recommended, but not mandatory!

 
What happens if I cannot provide any English language certificates?
Proof of English language knowledge is not obligatory but rather optional. If you do not have such documents, your application will still be valid.
 
Is there an age limit?

No, there is no age limit. However, please note that you should not have gained your MSc degree longer than four years prior to the interview.
 
 
Application process

 
Where and when can I apply?

Applications for the Int. PhD Program are accepted through the online Application portal only. The portal opens twice a year, usually around May for Fall recruitment and in November for Spring recruitment. Exact dates and application details are indicated here


Where do I find a list of opened positions?
You find the list of open positions and hiring groups after registration in the application portal, under “participating group leaders”.

 

Can I save the data of my application resume, completing it later?
Yes, you can save your application and take up editing again later. Once you have submitted your application, no more changes can be made. 

 

What information has to be submitted with the application?
You will submit information on education, research skills and interest, a letter of motivation and contacts of 2 referees. In the document section, you are asked to upload a CV, university transcripts and certificates (certification is not necessary at this point), and if available, the certificate of an English language test. English language tests, GRE, etc are not mandatory at this stage. For details, visit the Application manual.
 
How many recommendation letters do I need to have and can I send the PDFs (scans) directly?
You will need recommendation from two referees. We recommend choosing referees that know you personally and are willing and able to write a description of your academic performance. As soon as you have completed the contact details, your referees will automatically receive a request for a letter of recommendation and they should submit their letters directly using a link they receive in the e-mail. Thus, you should not send the PDFs of the recommendation letters directly to us.
 
My referees did not receive an invitation from the MDC to send a recommendation letter, what should I do?
Firstly, please make sure you entered the correct e-mail address of your referees. Secondly, your referees should check their spam mailbox to make sure the invitation letter did not end up there. If you entered the wrong address or the letter simply did not arrive, contact us immediately at phdmdc@mdc-berlin.de
 
What happens after submission?
Applications are prescreened and the MDC faculty selects candidates for interviews in Berlin. Invitations will be sent about 5-6 weeks after the application deadline.
 
Where can I find the list of available projects?

The list of group leaders participating in a call and their respective research projects can be found under the "Participating project leaders" tab on the left-hand side menu of the Application portal. After registration, a detailed description of each project will be available. For more information on the participating project leaders, please visit the profile pages of our research labs.
 
Do I need to select a specific project immediately? 
You are not applying for a specific project at this stage, however, make sure to include all the labs and projects of your interest in the text of your application (“Research interest and motivation” section), with detailed statement of interest for each research lab. 

After selecting the projects, should I contact the project leader directly?

No. It is neither necessary nor recommended to contact group leaders individually.

How can I check the status of my application?
Once you have submitted the form, you will no longer be able to edit the information, however, you can check the status of your recommendation letters, using the colour code of the box. The colour will change from red to orange after automated requests for reference letters have been sent to your referees, and from orange to green after your referees have submitted their letters. Other information about the changes in status of your application (submission, invitation / rejection decision) will be received via e-mail.

 
Do I need to have my certificates available in English?
All documents should be available in German or English. If you do not have an English version issued by your university, a translation certified by a public notary or other official will be sufficient.


How and when will I hear about the outcome of my application?
Students who submitted a complete application will be informed by email. If possible, they will know about the result 5-6 weeks after the application deadline. 

Am I allowed to apply again?
If you were not shortlisted for the Interview week in Berlin, you are allowed to apply again. However, if you have already participated in the Interview week, you are not eligible to apply again. 

What happens during the Interview week?
Interviews and final assessment in Berlin include a short presentation of your major undergraduate research project, a panel interview, project presentations of research groups and personal interviews with your groups of interest. For details, see here (section "Interview week in Berlin"). 

Will interview costs be covered?
All costs during interview week including travel expenses, visa, accommodation and food will be covered by the MDC. Please note: MDC as a public institution is not able to buy your transportation tickets in advance or reimburse the travel expenses before the Interview week.Initially, you have to cover all of the travel expenses by yourself and the money will be reimbursed to you after the Interview week. 

What happens if I cannot participate in the Interview week in Berlin due to time constraints?
Your participation is absolutely obligatory. If you are not available on that week, you would unfortunately not be considered for the selection process. Skype or any other alternative conference call options are not possible.

Will I receive a confirmation after having registered and submitted my application?
Yes, after having registered you will receive a confirmation email to the mail address stated. After you have submitted your application you will again receive a confirmation. If you did not receive any confirmation email, most likely our email ended up in the spam or junk folder. If you cannot find your confirmation email there, you might have misspelled your email address during registration. In that case, simply fill in the registration form again. If you still do not receive your registration email, please contact the graduate school office.

My PDF files are too big. What can I do?
You will have to reduce their sizes. There are several online free tools that can easily reduce the size of your PDF files, for example:


Please make sure you understand their privacy policy before using any of these third-party services.

 
After the Interview week
 
When do I know whether I have been accepted to the program?
Acceptance letters are sent within 5 days after interviews.
 
When can I start my PhD?
Students have to start their research project within 6 months of the interviews at the MDC. 
In general, PhD students will agree with his or her prospective supervisor on a specific starting date.


PhD studies, Tuition Fees, Employment, Living in Berlin
 

How do I enroll to the university?
Upon your start at the MDC, the MDC Grad School Office will lead you through the process of the enrolment. Most students at MDC are enrolled at the local partner universities Charité, Humboldt Universität, or Freie Universität. Usually, you will enroll at the institution your prospective group leader is affiliated with. 

Are there any tuition fees?
There are no MDC Grad School tuition fees, however, after enrolling at the university you shall pay the semester fees of ca. 350 Euro, including public transportation ticket.

How will I finance my PhD studies?
PhD students receive a work contract according to the German public system, including health and social insurance, as well as pension scheme. The initial contract is for 3 years and the net salary amounts to about 1600 Euro per month.

Is there support upon arriving in Berlin?
The Welcome and family office at the MDC supports all students upon arriving in their first steps settling in Berlin, including all issues related to visa residence.

How long does it take PhD students to complete their PhD?

Students are expected to complete their degree in four years. In exceptional cases, the contracts are extended to 5 years.