All application documents have to be submitted through our online application system. We cannot guarantee that email applications will pass through our spam filter or that documents sent by email can be opened and read correctly.

We do not charge a fee for processing applications. If you are invited to an interview, the school will cover the costs.

Academic transcripts are records of your academic qualifications. If your university does not issue official transcripts please prepare a list of all lectures, seminars, courses, etc. that you attended (listed for each semester). Include confirmations of your participation in the courses, signed either by the supervisor of the respective course or an official of your university (for example the dean's or registrar's office).

A certified translation is a translation that has been formally verified for use in official purposes. All translations should include a Certificate of Accuracy provided by a certified translator. A certified or sworn translator is a professional who is duly authorised by the government of the respective country to translate and notarise a document. Any certified translation produced by a sworn translator is an official document in its own right.

If English is not your first language then you should provide a proof of your proficiency in English by passing one of the following tests:

  • IELTS: a minimum score of 6.0 in all four sections
  • TOEFL: paper-based test (overall score above 550), computer-based (above 90) and a score of at least 4.0 in the Test of Written English (TWE, essay). The TOEFL code number for the IMPRS for Environmental, Cellular and Molecular Microbiology is 8604.
  • University of Cambridge: Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) Grade C or Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) Grade B or above. Please note that the First Certificate in English is not adequate.
  • If you cannot provide us with a certificate, equivalent information to prove your English proficiency must be submitted (e.g. proven higher education in English or certificates demonstrating sufficient language ability and training).


We request references from two scientists who are familiar with your previous academic work (one letter should be from your thesis research advisor) and can judge your potential to succeed as a Ph.D. student. If your first language is not English your referees should comment on your ability to read, write, and speak English. It is in your responsibility to contact your referees and inform them that you will name them as a referee in our online application system. They will receive an email through the application system guiding them through the process. Referees or their respective email addresses cannot be changed after submission of the application. We can only accept letters of recommendation submitted through the online application tool.

Applications will be considered if relevant degrees are completed before the scheduled start of the programme even if it has not been awarded before the closing date for applications. In this case please indicate the date when the degree is supposed to be completed, and include a copy of your latest transcript of records in addition to the requested documents. Admission of applicants with pending degree results is temporary and conditional as long as a particular degree result has not been obtained.

You will get an official invitation letter from the Max-Planck Institute. This letter must be submitted to the German embassy or a German consulate in your home country. Provided your visa application is complete, you will obtain your visa within a few days up to 2 months. In case problems arise please inform the coordination office.

You can use a tourist visa only for the interview. If you arrive in Marburg with a tourist visa to start your studies, you have to leave Germany again and apply for an appropriate visa in your home country.

Please inform us as soon as you have gotten your visa and tell us the exact date of your arrival Marburg. The IMPRS office will assist you in finding accommodation in a dormitory.

You need your visa, passport and all your original certificates. All other administrative issues can be dealt with once you've arrived here.