Molecular Physiology of the Brain, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
  • Tuition
    Tuition (Year)
    Tuition (Year)
  • English (take IELTS)
University rank #101 ,
The aim of the programme is to provide an intensive, research-oriented education in an excellent research environment. The programme is intended to qualify students for a professional career in academia, industry or science management


The doctoral program "Molecular Physiology of the Brain" is a member of the Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences and Molecular Biosciences (GGNB). The graduate school offers a joint modular training program to which the twelve doctoral programs of GGNB contribute and that is open to all GGNB students. In addition to a lecture and seminar program, training consists of (1) individual counselling by thesis committees, (2) intensive methods courses of 1-3 weeks in special training labs, (3) 2-3-day methods courses in the laboratories of the participating faculty, (4) professional skills courses such as scientific writing, presentation skills, intercultural communication, project management, team-leadership skills, conflict resolution, ethics, and career development, and (5) student-organized scientific meetings, industry excursions, and intercultural events. Students are able to tailor their individual curriculum by choosing from a large number of courses and events.

The program is designed for graduates from all areas of life sciences and medicine and provides them with a comprehensive training in key methods of modern molecular and cellular neurobiology such as biochemistry, molecular biology, cell staining and imaging, electrophysiology, systems physiology, light and electron microscopy, and genetics in at least one classical model organism. This is achieved by combining the expertise of local scientists whose skills cover all relevant technical and conceptual requirements. The ultimate aim is to educate a new generation of young neuroscientists with an open-minded conceptual approach and a methodological repertoire that allows them to tackle the key future problems in molecular, cellular and systems neuroscience.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Study intensity Full-time
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Short methods courses are taught in 2-3 day units in the participating laboratories. These methods are selected from current research projects. Group size is typically limited to five participants. In 2007, approximately 30 short methods courses were offered, covering a broad range of techniques. This catalogue is continuously extended and forms one of the main pillars of the advanced research training.

Extended methods courses with lectures constitute a new feature in GGNB predoctoral education which shall be implemented in 2008. They will each last several weeks, provide intense training for 5-15 students. They will be offered once per year, with repeated sessions possible on demand. Courses planned at present include advanced training in (1) electrophysiology, (2) light microscopy and imaging techniques, (3) protein analysis, proteomics, and physical biochemistry, and (4) mathematical biosciences. Specific training labs are planned to be installed in 2008. The training lab in advanced light microscopy is already established.

Colloquia and research lectures with both invited and internal speakers have a long tradition at all of the participating institutions. Examples include the three colloquia of the Göttingen Center for Molecular Biosciences GZMB (Biochemistry, Developmental Biology, Microbiology/Molecular Biology), the lecture series of the DFG Research Center Molecular Physiology of the Brain (CMPB), several lecture and seminar series of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Karl Friedrich Bonhoeffer Lecture, MPI-bpc Seminar, PhD Student Seminar), the colloquia of the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience and the Center for Systems Neuroscience, and the lecture series of the German Primate Center (DPZ).

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score: 6

    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Take IELTS test
  • Minimum required score: 80

    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

Academic Requirements

I. Complete the online registration

II. Send the application package

The application package consists of:

  • our cover sheet (pdf),
  • transcripts / academic records (Studienbuch) of your studies,
  • all academic degree diplomas (only university degrees, no secondary education degrees!),
  • certificates of other relevant examinations (e.g. GRE, if available),
  • English proficiency certificates,
  • statement by (prospective) supervisor (incl. details on funding, preliminary title and starting date of PhD project),
  • optionally: max. two reference letters,
  • optionally: 1 (one) passport photograph.

III. The GGNB office will check the formal requirements for admission upon receipt of the application package:

  • Master's degree with very good grades in the natural sciences or mathematics, including a Master's thesis with a minimum duration of six months.

Please note that due to the peculiarities of the German university system, medical degrees are not considered as equivalent to an MSc in the natural sciences.

In case of MSc degrees from abroad, it may be that the faculty requests the fulfillment of additional requirements before the admission to doctoral studies (e.g. an oral exam, a written progress report after 6 months, etc.).

  • English proficiency / language requirements: Candidates have to be fluent in written and spoken English. Candidates whose mother tongue is not English can demonstrate sufficient knowledge of English e.g. by having completed MSc studies in English and also by internationally recognized tests such as TOEFL or IELTS or equivalent achievements. During online application, applicants can indicate proven higher education in English or a reasonably long stay in an English-speaking country, if applicable. Knowledge of the German language is not required, but international students will be offered opportunities to take German courses.

Tuition Fee Per Year

  • Free International
  • Free EU/EEA

Students enrolled with the exclusive aim of obtaining a doctoral degree are not required to pay tuition fees unless they are enrolled in another degree programme as well.


StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.