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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 from 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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  • Core areas are the evolution of social behavior, group behavior and group coordination, developmental psychology, as well as the cognitive and physiological foundations of behavior. The PhD Degree in Behavior and Cognition is run by the Faculty of Biology and Psychology of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen and the German Primate Center. Interdisciplinary collaboration and exchange are an important element of this study program. 
  • Doctoral students are affiliated with one (or sometimes two) of the research groups of this program. Each project is supervised by a three-member thesis committee. A regular research colloquium provides a platform for progress reports and discussions. Participation in scientific meetings and workshops is encouraged. In addition to the core research, a moderate amount of course work and teaching is required (total number of credits: 20). 
  • To be accepted in BeCog, students must provide a letter confirming supervision, signed by a scientific member of BeCog. Thus, students interested in this program should contact in time the heads of the labs affiliated with this program to check for open positions and funding possibilities. Unfortunately, BeCog cannot provide funding or scholarships.

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. 


  • Acquiring knowledge of and reflecting on research
  • Technical and methodological basics
  • Scientific teaching
  • Scientific communication 
  • 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.

    Get a free IELTS practice test

General Requirements

  • 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
  • a confirmation stating that no commercial facilitators were involved in the application process; furthermore, a confirmation is required that no benefits conflicting with the dissertation protocol were received and that there are no grounds that may lead to a withdrawal of a doctoral degree
  • a short project proposal

Tuition Fee

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.


Usually, the research group or department provides funding to their doctoral students in the form of either an employment contract or a scholarship (approx. monthly amount of scholarship or net salary: 1100-1400 EUR).

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.


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