International Programmes 2019/2020

PhD in Neuroscience – International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Brain and Behaviour PhD in Neuroscience – IMPRS for Brain and Behaviour

Research Center caesar • Bonn

PhD in Neuroscience
Dr rer nat
Doctoral degree or degree awarded by
University of Bonn or Florida Atlantic University
Course location
In cooperation with
- Research center caesar (Max Planck Society-associated institute)
- Max Planck Florida Institute of Neuroscience (MPFI)
- University of Bonn
- Florida Atlantic University
Teaching language
  • English

Courses and writing requirements are completely in English.

German language courses are offered for interested PhD students in Bonn.

Programme duration
6 semesters
Winter semester
More information on beginning of studies
Accepted candidates can begin to work on their projects within six months after the selection interviews, at the latest by 1 October.
Application deadline

Annually on 1 December

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

Join our unique transatlantic PhD programme in neuroscience!

The International Max Planck Research School for Brain and Behaviour is a unique transatlantic collaboration between two Max Planck Neuroscience institutes – the Max Planck-associated Center for Advanced European Science and Research (caesar) and the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience – and the partner universities, University of Bonn and Florida Atlantic University. It offers a completely funded international PhD training and research programme in the neurosciences in either Bonn, Germany, or Jupiter, Florida.

We offer an exciting opportunity to outstanding Bachelor's and/or Master's degree holders (or equivalent) from any field (life sciences, mathematics, physics, computer science, engineering, etc.) to be immersed in a stimulating environment that provides novel technologies to elucidate the function of brain circuits from molecules to animal behaviour. The comprehensive and diverse expertise of the faculty in the exploration of brain-circuit function using advanced imaging and optogenetic techniques combined with comprehensive training in fundamental neurobiology will provide students with an exceptional level of knowledge to pursue a successful independent research career.

IMPRS for Brain and Behaviour has more than 40 laboratories with an enormous variety of research projects being carried out. Successful candidates can choose to do lab rotations in the first six months of their PhD.

Doctoral candidates receive both theoretical training and hands-on training in a large range of cutting-edge techniques. In addition, they are exposed to a variety of research areas all touching on how sensory information is encoded in neural circuits and is ultimately transferred to behaviour. The unique transatlantic partnership maximises the benefits of global education, allowing students the opportunity to interact with a broad group of international scientists and to earn a doctorate under outstanding research conditions.

Application period begins on 1 September. Please apply online before the 1 December 2019 deadline.

Exceptional candidates will be invited to attend a selection symposium end of February or beginning of March 2020, which provides the opportunity to meet with faculty members who have positions available and members of the selection committee.

A Diploma supplement will be issued
International elements
  • International guest lecturers
  • Language training provided
  • Study trips
  • Courses are led with foreign partners
  • Projects with partners in Germany and abroad
Integrated internships

Admitted candidates can perform lab rotations within the first six months of their projects. Students can also apply for travel grants for short research stays at other institutes.

Teaching/work obligations or opportunities

The IMPRS programme does not have any teaching requirements. However, interested students can pursue opportunities for teaching or tutoring classes upon agreement with their supervisors.

Special promotion / funding of the programme
Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Semester contribution
The partner universities the students choose to enrol with might have semester contribution fees. The semester fee of the University of Bonn for the winter semester 2019/20 is approx. 300 EUR. The tuition fee at the Florida Atlantic University is waived for IMPRS PhD students.
Funding opportunities within the university
Description of the above-mentioned funding opportunities within the university
All of our positions are fully funded for the whole duration of studies.
Academic admission requirements

You can apply if you meet the following requirements:

  • Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree (or equivalent) in any field
  • Fluency in written and spoken English
  • Strong motivation to pursue a PhD degree

Note: The right to confer degrees remains with the IMPRS partner universities, and you must meet all the admission and degree requirements of the university where you choose to study.

Language requirements

Fluency in written and spoken English is an admission requirement. Non-native English speakers can provide copies of English proficiency test results or an official letter from their university ensuring that the medium of instruction is English. Language skills will be assessed during the interviews in the event that official test results have not been provided.

Knowledge of German is not required.

Application deadline

Annually on 1 December

Submit application to


The coordination offices in Bonn and Florida together with the international offices at each partner institute provide support for all students in finding accommodation.

Structured research and supervision
Research training / discussion
Career advisory service

We organise "career talks" by bringing people from academia and industry to provide guidance and mentoring to our PhD students in their future career prospects. Students in the IMPRS for Brain & Behaviour PhD programme are also supported by their thesis advisory committee in how to move forward in their projects and careers.

Specific specialist or non-specialist support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Cultural and linguistic preparation
  • Visa matters
  • Other
  • Tutors
  • Accompanying programme
Support programmes for international students
Financial support: All admitted students receive a competitive salary funded for the whole duration of their studies and do not have to pay any tuition fees. A minimal semester fee may be charged by the partner universities.

Travel grants: Separate funding opportunities to join international conferences, workshops, courses and research stays at other institutes

Lab rotations: PhD students can do lab rotations in the first six months of their projects.

Numerous resources are available to support students making the transition to life in Germany or USA. In cooperation with the international offices at the University of Bonn and FAU, we seek to help students make their home away from home more comfortable. At caesar and MPFI, there are also transition services available to students and family members. We have dedicated support and mentoring personnel.

We are committed to diversity and equal opportunity for all applicants.
Supervisor-student ratio
Currently: 43 IMPRS faculty members and 31 enrolled students

Research Center caesar

The Max Planck Society-associated caesar is a neuroethology institute that studies how the collective activity of the vast numbers of interconnected neurons in the brain gives rise to the plethora of animal behaviours. Our research is interdisciplinary and spans a large range of scales.

Part of a cluster for neurosciences in the Bonn-Cologne region, caesar has multiple ties with the University of Bonn and University of Cologne. In collaboration with the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, the University of Bonn and Florida Atlantic University, caesar runs the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Brain and Behaviour

31 Current PhD students
14 Countries our PhD students come from