Max Planck Schools

Logo of the Max Planck Schools

Funded by

Joint initiative between German universities and research organisations

In brief

The Max Planck Schools in the forward-looking fields of cognition, photonics and matter to life enable promising PhD students to work in close cooperation with outstanding researchers on the latest and most groundbreaking questions in basic and applied research. A total of 21 universities and 31 institutes at large non-university research organisations have come together for these special PhD programmes. As a result, access to excellent infrastructures has become available at various research facilities and universities in Germany.

Who can apply?

The Max Planck Schools invite highly motivated and talented bachelor’s or master’s graduates from around the
world to apply to their competitive PhD programmes.

Type and extent of funding

Admission to a Max Planck School comes with full funding for up to five years. This funding allows the candidates to focus entirely on their scientific work.


The Max Planck Schools offer several

  • MPS Cognition: four-year PhD programme
  • MPS Matter to Life: five-year integrated MSc/PhD programme 
  • MPS Photonics: three-year PhD programme or five-year integrated MSc/PhD programme


Application is possible on the basis of the requirements of the respective Max Planck School; the selection  procedure involves several stages. The respective school outlines the exact requirements and further details on its website.

Max Planck Schools

The best researchers in Germany are to pass on their knowledge to the most ambitious Bachelor and Master graduates through close personal exchange in small groups and with the aid of excellent infrastructures. Renowned researchers at universities and non-university research institutes all over Germany are working together in support of this idea. So far, three Max Planck Schools have been established in the areas of Cognition, Matter to Life, and Photonics.

Logo of the Max Planck Schools