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During the Max Planck School of Photonics Research phase, students focus on the scientific research for their PhD project which is conducted within a research group led and supervised by an MPSP-Fellow. Students are also assigned a co-supervisor, ideally located at another university. Close supervision is ensured through regular meetings and progress reports. 

The final academic degree (usually Dr. rer. nat. or Dr.-Ing.) is awarded by the university with which the supervising MPSP-Fellow is affiliated. Students are also encouraged to conduct short- or mid-term research stays with the research group led by their co-supervisor.


Students are offered various training opportunities and workshops to further social or professional competencies such as project management or start-up leadership and organisation, as well as more discipline-specific expert seminars. Furthermore, in an effort to establish and maintain a strong network, MPSP study and research students participate in MPSP summer and autumn schools.

Detailed Programme Facts

Programme Structure

The topics listed below are currently available for PhD research within the MPSP program.

  • Advanced Imaging
  • Attosecond Physics
  • Biophotonics
  • Fiber Optics
  • Laser Source Development
  • Nanophotonics
  • Nanoscopy
  • Optical Design
  • Optical Communication
  • Quantum Optics
  • Strongfield Physics
  • Ultrafast Imaging
  • X-ray Science

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.

    Get a free IELTS practice test
  • 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

By the time of admission to the program, applicants must have completed a Bachelor's and/or Master's degree with significant exposure to physics, engineering or a related subject (B.Sc., B.Eng., or B.Tech. and M.Sc., M.Eng. or M.Tech.) depending on the program for which you are applying. 

Living costs for Erlangen

  • 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.


Check the programme website for information about funding options.

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.

Max Planck School of Photonics Research
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