Ph.D. On Campus

International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles

Friedrich Schiller University Jena

36 months
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


The International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles promote doctoral researchers. Talented foreign and German junior scientists are offered the opportunity to earn a doctorate under excellent research conditions.A shared characteristics of the graduate programmes at Max Planck Institutes is a close colloboration with universities. 


The International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles in cooperation with the Friedrich Schiller University Jena offers a PhD program in global biogeochemistry and related earth system sciences.

Biogeochemistry is the study of how the elements essential to life are distributed among the components of the Earth system - atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, land and oceans. The study of these global biogeochemical cycles takes on particular importance in the face of ongoing global environmental change and the recognition that they are linked to past and current climate change. Understanding and predicting the response of the Earth system requires a broad base of scientific knowledge and the skills to evaluate the importance of processes at a range of spatial and temporal scales.

Common scientific understanding

Breadth will be fostered among doctoral researchers through a common curriculum that emphasizes four general themes:

  • Integrated understanding through “core” lecture courses on the basics of the field of global biogeochemical cycles: Doctoral researchers of various disciplines will learn the common “biogeochemical language” that bridges their background with other disciplines and a selection of courses that emphasize skills commonly needed in earth system science research, such as data analysis, isotope methods, geographic methods and numerical modeling.
  • Conducting individual research through development of a thesis project with a committee of IMPRS members and selected outside researchers: Doctoral researchers will develop their research topic together with the IMPRS Faculty Members. For a selection of current and past topics see our open PhD projects.
  • Personal skills courses and strong mentoring program: Writing publications, presenting results and managing groups are key skills for internationally visible top scientists. Regular presentation of results at conferences and to external mentors will improve the training and mentoring.
  • Training in collaborative research through short-term research visits at foreign top research groups: Exchange visits at top institutions and additional training at other IMPRS or universities give the opportunity to specialize and further qualify in a field of interest. This will give unique contacts to top experts in the field and increase visibility of their research projects.

This science and education package will deliver after three years excellent young researchers, competitive for the outstanding research institutions and prestigious grants in biogeochemical science.

Programme Structure

Courses Included:

  • Biogeochemical Cycles in the Earth System
  • Atmosphere and Oceans
  • Terrestial Biosphere
  • Soil, soil biology and soil hydrology
  • Paleoclimate
  • Applied statistics and data analysis
  • Analytical techniques
  • Earth Observation techniques
  • Modelling & numerical techniques
  • R - The basics
  • R - Advanced modules
  • Climate policy
  • Nitrogen in the Earth System

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 36 months

Start dates & application deadlines




On Campus

Academic requirements

We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.

English requirements

We are not aware of any English requirements for this programme.

Other requirements

General requirements

  • The online application form below
  • Letter of motivation and research interests (in English).
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) / Resume.
  • Documents relating to your Master's degree (or national equivalent that requires a corresponding thesis): title and abstract of your thesis, copy of your MSc certificate, copy of MSc transcript (list of courses/lectures you took, including marks).
  • If applicable: documents relating to your Bachelor's degree (redundant with 'Diplom'): copy of BSc certificate, copy of BSc transcript (list of courses/lectures you took).
  • Proof of English skills, if possible.
  • Any additional documents which you consider important for your application (e.g. publications, job references, certificates of workshops etc.) can be included in your CV-PDF.
  • Two reference letters (from e.g. former advisers) sent to us directly via email from the official work account of your chosen referees (must reach us one week after the application deadline).

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 0 EUR per year during 36 months.
  • EU/EEA

    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 0 EUR per year during 36 months.

Living costs for Jena

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.


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.

Fresh content

Updated in the last 6 months

Check the official programme website for potential updates.

Our partners

International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Friedrich Schiller University Jena


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