FAQ - Application for doctoral projects

October 06, 2022

Where do I get registered for the online application?

A new link is open, APPLY HERE NOW!

My documents are not in German or English. Do I need certified translations of my documents or can I translate them myself?

For the application we accept informal translations, however, in case of a successful employment we (the University of Konstanz) would need certified translations of your documents. Please always make sure to bring your original certificates with you once you start your employment. 


Is proof of English proficiency essential for all applicants?

English is the working language in the Institute and University Department of Biology for all research, so it’s critical that your English language skills are at a level where you can begin research and collaboration immediately. Please keep in mind that supporting staff may only speak German, support will be provided when necessary. 


I am not a native speaker, and I don't have an international certification as TOEFL

As stated in the application instructions 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 or institute are also convincing. However you wish to prove your English skills, we need it documented by a third party. There are no rules or guidelines on the kind of documents, this can be your academic transcripts proving your studies being taught in English, an official confirmation of a reasonably long stay in an English speaking country, or any other confirmation from a 3rd party such a supervisor, a responsible person from your university or the institution you have been working.


Which language score is enough to demonstrate my English proficiency?

We require at least a vantage or upper intermediate language level corresponding to the CEFR B2 (equalling to IELTS > 5.5 or TOEFL > 87). However, these scores are a first guideline but not an absolute criteria.

Our institute code is D259. We don’t have a departmental code. It might be that the system recommends 99 as a open code for this purpose. Go ahead and use this recommendation.  


I wish to apply for a Doctoral position but I am still finishing my studies and haven't received the official certificate and academic transcripts of my Masters 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. In the mean time, please submit all available documents (non-/official transcript, certificate + transcripts from any further studies BSc, etc) to the online application portal.

Please upload a PDF if the system is asking for proof that you are not able to submit at this current point. Explain in the file your specific situation, e.g. my certificate will be available on: (date).


I only have Bachelors degree, can I still apply for the announced PhD positions?

In case of applying with a Bachelor degree, the doctoral regulations of U KN (§3) require “(1)... A study programme at a university, a Pädagogische Hochschule (teacher training college) or art academy, with a standard period of study of at least four years” and state that “(3) Degrees earned at a state, or state-accredited, institution of higher education in another country shall be recognised provided that the skills thus acquired do not differ significantly from those of the study programmes or degrees for which they serve as a substitute. The Doctoral Committee decides whether the degree can be recognised.”

Thus, it is possible to apply with a Bachelor degree with a standard study period of at least 4 years and written thesis however each case will be individually evaluated by the Doctoral Committee. Since you do not meet the minimum admission requirements (BSc+MSc), you will be admitted to doctoral studies by the Doctoral Committee by means of aptitude test(s), thus proofing that you are capable of working in accordance with scientific methods in the intended thesis field to the same extent as degree holder of a master's program at a German university. The aptitude test generally includes the successful completion of several courses defined by the Doctoral Committee. Your doctorate will only start once you have completed the aptitude test(s). Likely is that these will take two semesters to complete.

This is not a straight forward or “fast-track” program and is meant only for very very exceptional cases.


Can I submit my application via email?

1. Please only apply via our online electronical application process. Please do not send any other type of application by regular mail or email as they will be rejected.

2. Ask your two referees to upload their reference letters. To upload their letters and to evaluate your academic skills you need to add their information to the online application form.  Please be aware that your application will only be considered if the two recommendation letters reach us prior to the deadline- 28th November, 23:59h CET. You will receive a confirmation email as soon as we get your two recommendation letters.

3. Fill out your application here and upload the accompanying documents. Make sure to complete your application prior the deadline 20th November, 2023! We will acknowledge the receipt of your application by email.

This email was automatically generated. Please do NOT use the reply function to respond to the sender! If you have any further questions regarding your application, please get in contact with us at IMPRS@uni-konstanz.de


I am interested in applying for multiple positions. How should I proceed?

Please only submit one application! In the application form you are asked to name between one and three doctoral projects you are interested in. These priorities define your interviewing team, nevertheless, the centralised Selection Symposium still offers the opportunity to get to know the whole faculty and find the best match (same applies for the potential supervisors).


What is the difference between the letter of motivation and the research statement?

The letter of motivation is required with each application and should briefly state your motivation and your reasons for applying to the IMPRS and the specific projects you have chosen, as well as what you are interested in research-wise. Please do not exceed one page A4 size.

The research statement can go into more detail on everything, describing your main research interests and relevant skill-sets, how they developed, and how they relate to the proposed research. You are also encouraged to describe your scientific ideas related to the specific position(s) you have applied for. Please check the position(s) you are interested in, whether a research statement is required.

Applicants who are applying for multiple positions may submit only the one research statement document, but should make sure to address each of the projects they have applied for (exact structure of the research statement is up to the applicant or instructions provided by the potential supervisors). If applying for multiple projects, applicants may optionally extend the length of their research statements up to 3 pages per project they are applying to (or according to the instructions of the potential supervisor, respectively).


BTW the doctoral application form does not require 'photographs' when uploading a CV. What do I do if any further document such as the TOEFL score report or a university certificate has a photograph on it?

We try to keep the applications as objective as possible to really only judge the scientific experience and fit for the positions. But it’s not a problem if there still is one picture – don’t modify the respective file.


What are the dates for the interviews and what is the latest possible date to start the doctoral project?

Personal interviews and meetings with potential supervisors will take place March 4-6, 2024 during the Selection Symposium at our Institute in Konstanz, Germany. Shortlisted candidates will receive an invitation for an in-person meeting(s), all expenses will be covered by the IMPRS-QBEE.

We expect all new candidates to participate in our Introductory Week for the new doctoral candidates, which  takes place each beginning of October. Thus, the latest possible starting date would be ca. 1st of October 2024.


Can one of my potential supervisors be one of my referees?

No, your referee has to be a different person than your prospective supervisor. Exceptions can be made if they have known you personally for longer than 6 months.


What are the funding and benefits that a Doctoral student can expect?

Doctoral students receive a contract based on the Collective Wage Agreement for the Civil Service (TVöD, see http://oeffentlicher-dienst.info/tvoed/bund/). The final compensation depends on the position and respective research group and varies between 65 percent of Pay Group 13 (maximum level 1-2). If you remain in Germany for more than six months you are liable for tax and social security. Your employer pays part of the contribution for health, nursing care, pension and unemployment insurance; the employee’s contribution, for which you are liable, is automatically deducted from your salary along with tax. You are also insured by your employer against accidents at work and occupational health issues.


What are the average living costs and registration fees at the University?

As doctoral student at the Universität Konstanz you don’t have to pay any tuition fee, just ca. 175 € every semester for re-registration (see https://www.uni-konstanz.de/en/study/study-essentials/finances/other-fees/general-overview/). The cost of living for students in Konstanz is approximately ca 850 Euro per month (see https://www.uni-konstanz.de/en/study/study-essentials/finances/cost-of-living/). 


Further information

You can find more information in the Max Planck booklet “Living and working in Germany” and on https://www.study-in.de/en/. The University of Konstanz offers comprehensive information on planning, preparing for and participating in a stay in Konstanz (https://www.uni-konstanz.de/en/welcome-centre/) as well as study essentials pages to find out everything you need to know for a carefree and relaxed student experience (https://www.uni-konstanz.de/en/study/study-essentials/).

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