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Behavior and Cognition, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #101 (ARWU) Göttingen, Germany
The focus of this PhD Degree in Behavior and Cognition at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen is on the foundations and the evolution of nonhuman and human primate behavior. Research projects are undertaken in the fields of psychology, anthropology and evolutionary biology, with an emphasis on comparative approaches.
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  • The establishment of the doctoral program BeCog reflects the increasing importance of research into human and animal behavior and its underlying processes. BeCog can be seen as complementary to GGNB’s doctoral programs in biophysics, neurosciences and molecular biology. The aim of BeCog is to combine various research approaches in an integrative and interdisciplinary platform for research and education. To achieve this, BeCog unites students from biology, linguistics, psychology, neurosciences and computer science. Research questions deal with the influence of social and ecological factors on human and non-human behavior and its underlying emotional, physiological, neurological and cognitive processes. Empirical, theoretical and model-based approaches are applied and contribute equally to the goals of BeCog. 
  • Under the guidance of our members, PhD students develop their own research project. Through the participation in method courses, seminars and summer schools, they acquire an understanding for their own field of research and develop the skills for autonomous scientific work and critical thinking. Furthermore, they get acquainted with the structures, tasks and processes of the international scientific community. In preparation for an independent scientific career, students are involved in teaching; to practice presentation skills and to connect themselves within the scientific community, they present their work at national and international meetings. With the aid of the university’s key qualifications program, participants can obtain qualifications in areas outside their research project (e.g. rhetoric, didactics, etc.). This enables students to obtain the required abilities for a career within and outside of science.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Credits
    20 ECTS
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Research topics

Research in BeCog is diverse and ranges from investigations of the social behavior of primates to neurocognitive studies with human subjects. Research areas are mainly defined by the interests of our members. The participating scientists and their research foci are presented in the members section. The methodological width can be recognized by the variety of method courses. 


  • Module 1: Acquiring knowledge of and reflecting on research
  • Module 2: Technical and methodological basics
  • Module 3: Scientific teaching
  • Module 4: Scientific communication 
  • Module 5: Key competencies

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120.

  • Minimum required score:


    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.

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  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks.

General Requirements

Selection criteria: good Master degree in a relevant subject, proficiency in English, confirmation of supervision 

  • degree certificates. If the certificates are not issued in English or German, a translation (into English or German) is required.
  • a certificate of proficiency in English (see below for details)
  • certificates of additional qualifications relevant for the program. This includes publications, practical training, teaching and work experiences
  • a CV, written in English. It shall also cover the applicant's previous scientific career
  • a declaration whether another PhD dissertation will be or has been completed successfully or unsuccessfully

Tuition Fee

  • International

    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 0 EUR per year and a duration of 36 months.
  • EU/EEA

    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 0 EUR per year and a duration of 36 months.
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Living costs for Göttingen

  • 730 - 1100 EUR/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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