PhD Projects & Supervisors

List of PhD Supervisors

If a supervisor of a project is not a professor or privatdozent of the U of Cologne or Bonn, you normally need a professor or privatdozent as a co-supervisor.

List of Contact Students

These students can be contacted for any questions applicants have on living conditions, studies, research conditions etc.

Links and further information

Partner Institutions - University of Bonn

The Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, founded on October 18th, 1818, is among the largest universities in Germany with around 38,500 students. Approximately 5,200 foreign students from more than 130 countries and a large number of visiting professors and lecturers from abroad give an international dimension to teaching and research. [more]

Partner Institutions - University of Cologne

The University of Cologne (German Universität zu Köln) is one of the oldest universities in Europe and, with over 44,000 students, the largest university in Germany. The University of Cologne was established in 1388 as the fourth university in the Holy Roman Empire after Charles University of Prague (1348), the University of Vienna (1365) and the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg (1386). [more]

Application and Admission

Application and Admission

The IMPRS for Astronomy and Astrophysics is offering a number of PhD research contracts funded for three years, which include attractive benefits. Funding is available to attend workshops and conferences. Training in professional skills is foreseen. The contracts are awarded by the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, the University of Bonn, or the University of Cologne. Working place is at either of the three institutions.

The application portal is closed now. 123 applications were received. Reference letters are still accepted until Dec. 6th. Our selection committee will decide on a shortlist on December 18th. Candidates who are shortlisted will be informed on December 21st and will be asked to prepare a 10 minute talk on their research experience. The Skype interviews will be between January 7th and January 15th, 2016.


The IMPRS is open to talented students from all countries. Applicants must have (or are about to obtain) a degree equivalent to the German Diploma or a Master of Science degree including a Master Thesis in Physics, Engineering or a related field. Candidates should have a background in Astrophysics and must be proficient in English. Persons with severe handicaps are especially encouraged to apply (you may mention this in your application). Students who come to join the IMPRS with a stipend awarded by another funding agency (e.g. the German Academic Exchange Service) are very welcome to apply (please mention this in your application).

Note: Applicants without a written thesis yet, can apply for a qualifying program at the Bonn-Cologne Graduate School of Physics and Astronomy (

Application Procedure

Applications received before November, 15 of each year will receive full consideration. The research contract can start at any time during the following year.  You should be familiar with the research topics offered at our website. You are encouraged to contact beforehand the supervisors of your preferred research topics by email. You may also contact our IMPRS office ( or present IMPRS students, who would be happy to answer any questions related to studying in Germany. Recommendation letters received by November, 22 will receive full consideration.

The application process is via our electronic application portal.

When applying, please ensure you have at hand the following information and documents (as black and white PDF files including your surname, i.e. surname_cv, surname_motivation letter etc., please do not send high resolution images, and do not send documents exceeding 10 pages):

  • A motivation letter (2-4 pages), including a description of your skills and research experience and mentioning your preferred research topics. You can also suggest a topic not in our list. A model for a motivation letter can be downloaded below. This document should be named surname_letter.
  • Your CV. A portrait photo is not required, but it facilitates a possible Skype interview. This document should be named surname_CV.
  • Provide the names and email addresses of two or three professional references, who know you well and who have agreed to write a recommendation letter (preferably by Nov. 15th, although letters will be accpted till Nov. 22nd). We will instruct them where to upload their recommendations. You will receive a confirmation once your referees uploades a letter.
  • Copies of the following documents in the folllowing sequence: B.Sc. transcripts, M.Sc. transcripts (no degrees, no documents in non Latin letters, no additional documents that are not required, no legalized copies), this document should be named surname_bsc_msc_transcripts.
  • Optional: A proof of English proficiency if you have it at hand. For now, this is not mandatory, especially if you are a native speaker or if you did your Masters studies at an English speaking university. This document should be named surname_english_test.
  • Optional: Any other publications that resulted from your previous research (but no theses at this stage) concatenated to one pdf file. This document should be named surname_docs.

Note: All documents and correspondence must be in English (preferred) or German.

Selection Procedure

  • Applications are evaluated by  our Selection Committee.
  • The top-ranked applicants are invited (physically or via video-conference) to an interview and an oral presentation of their M.Sc. work.
  • The Selection Committee provides a final ranking.
  • You will be notified whether or not your application has been successful.

Apply!  (sorry, the deadline has passed for this year)


Model Letter: Motivation Letter

IMPRS Poster: IMPRS Poster

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