IMPRS Applicant FAQs

How can I apply?

A: You can exclusively apply through our online application system at and only if the IMPRS call is open.

Can I apply to the IMPRS although I hold a PhD already?

A: In Germany, you cannot obtain a PhD in the same field twice.

Is there an age limit for IMPRS applicants?

A: No. As a reference, the average IMPRS student is 26 years old when starting the PhD.

Can I apply to the IMPRS without an MSc (or equivalent) degree?

A: Yes. But you must hold the MSc (or equivalent) degree in a related subject before starting the PhD.

Which documents do I need to submit together with my application?

A: Please submit at least a:

  1. university entrance qualification, i.e. a document that initially qualified you to start studying such as the school-leaving certificate.
  2. a Bachelor's degree certificate.
  3. a Master's degree certificate or a provisional transcript of records if you are still pursuing the Master's.

We further appreciate if you submit:

  • your full transcripts of records
  • an English language test
  • a CV

I do not yet have a final transcript of records. Is there anything I can submit instead?

A: Yes. Please submit a provisional transcript of records.

Do I need a translation if my academic records are not in English or German?

A: Yes. We can only accept such non-English/non-German documents if you provide a translation. Please submit the translations together with the original documents.

The Online Application Platform asks me to summarise a 'key publication'. Where can I find these publications?

A: We have highlighted one 'key publication' in each project description. You can alternatively find a list of all 'key publications' here.

One of my referees has not received the request to submit the recommendation letter. Is there anything I can do?

A: These requests are semiautomatically sent from immediately after you save your referee's contact data. These messages occasionally get recognised as spam. Please ask your referee to check the spam folder.

Do I need to contact a potential supervisor before I submit my application and/or during the IMPRS selection process?

A: No. You may want to contact them if you, for instance, have specific questions about the project or project proposal. Please note, however, that our supervisors may not always be able to address all questions.

How will my application be reviewed?

A: All applications will be reviewed by the IMPRS coordinator in a first step and shortlisted by the recruiting IMPRS faculty members in a second step. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a Selection Symposium that takes place online from March 19 to March 25, 2024. Successful applicants will be offered a position soon after the Selection Symposium, i.e. in April 2023. They will be given the option to visit Cologne before starting the PhD.

What is the IMPRS's working language?

A: English. While fluency in spoken and written English is thus necessary to succeed in our program, knowledge of German is not necessary. We do, however, encourage learning German and offer German classes to our IMPRS students.

Will my IMPRS PhD position be fully funded?

A: Yes. All IMPRS positions are competitively funded for a minimum of three years. Funding details vary between IMPRS groups and should be discussed during the selection.

Will I have to pay a tuition fee?

A: No. However, all IMPRS students must enroll at the University of Cologne (UoC) where they pay a social fee of around 600 € per year. This grants them access to free local public transport, UoC courses, UoC mentoring and other UoC activities.

When will I start my IMPRS PhD project?

A: Successful applicants will be offered an IMPRS PhD position soon after the IMPRS Selection Symposium and can theoretically start from then. We do, however, aim for a synchronous start of new IMPRS students around October 1st.

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