Logo: IMPRS for Solar System Science at the University of Göttingen - International Max Planck Research School - Solar System School

PhD application and admission

The Solar System School calls for applications for astrophysics PhD positions in the field of Solar System Science once a year. In the regular recruitment cycle, applications for the following year may be submitted through the online portal from August 1 to October 1.

The Solar System School seeks excellent applicants with a keen interest in any area of Solar System Science and beyond: Earth and planetary sciences, space physics, Solar and stellar astrophysics, helioseismology, asteroseismology and extra-solar planetary systems. Please see the latest call for the qualifications required to apply. Generally, PhD opportunities are announced and students are admitted to the Solar System School once per year. Applications submitted by the next deadline of 1 October 2024 will be for a starting date in 2025.

Alternatively, candidates can choose to submit their application outside the regular recruitment cycle. Off-cycle applications will normally be stored and reviewed during the following recruitment round. It is therefore important to submit an application strictly on time before the deadline if it is intended for a start in the upcoming academic year!

The School will use those documents that are submitted off-cycle to create an applicant pool which may be considered when new PhD project possibilities open up. Highly-qualified and well-motivated applications may alternatively be fast-tracked for review at any time of the year.

The School makes offers to successful candidates after completion of the interview phase. While the starting date can be negotiated at that stage, the recommended starting date is in September, as the introductory curricular courses start in October each year.

If a candidate has accepted an offer, the School will send out an invitation that is conditional on the successful completion of a relevant Master's degree (or equivalent). Since the regular recruitment cycle spans close to a year from call for applications to recommended starting date, applications are definitely encouraged even if the required Master's degree has not yet but will soon be obtained.

Although this is predominantly a PhD programme in physics and geochemistry, students previously admitted to the School have held Masters' degrees in subjects as diverse as astronomy and astrophysics, geosciences, meteorology, mathematics, computer science, and engineering. One good way to demonstrate interest in the field of Solar System science in an application is previous engagement in research projects relevant to the field that connects an applicant's unique background and specific skills to a topic: for example in earth or planetary science, space physics, solar or stellar astrophysics (possibly even with relevant publications). Applicants may alternatively be able to make a good case for why their previous experience in for example numerical modelling, instrument development, or lab experiments will be an asset to the project of their choice in the list of available PhD topics in Solar System Science.

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