Frequently Asked Questions

Application procedure

  1. What is the best approach for applying to IMPRS-CPQM?
    First, you should have a look at our webpage to learn about the research we perform and the projects we offer. The webpages of the research groups involved in IMPRS-CPQM might also provide additional information. If anything sparks your interest, please follow the application guidelines to prepare and submit your application.
  2. I have a great idea for a research project I would like to pursue. Can I submit my own proposal as part of my application?
    We indeed expect our students to be innovative and creative regarding the pursuit of their research projects and thus appreciate applicants who can develop own ideas. However, our list of available projects covers such a wide range of topics that every student should be able to find a project that fits his/her research interests and academic background. Thus, please do not submit your own research propsal with your application.
  3. Do I require any research experience in the relevant fields to be considered for a PhD project?
    It obviously can be helpful if you already worked in a related field, for example during your Master thesis. However, we are aware that our applicants come from a very diverse set of backgrounds and that not every university offers research activities close to our program. Thus, it is not necessary for you to have research experience to be considered for a position in IMPRS-CPQM.
  4. I haven't finished my Masters programme yet, but intend to complete my degree within the next few months. Can I already apply?
    You can already submit your application before you have completed your degree. It is important, however, that you will complete your degree before joining IMPRS-CPQM.
    If you decide to apply before having completed your Masters degree, please provide meaningful information about the Masters programme you are attending. For example, you can send us a preliminary transcript which includes all courses and grades up to the date of your application. If your university does not provide such information, please include an overview of all courses and grades and the GPA for all terms you have completed so far.
  5. Some of my transcripts and certificates were not prepared in English or German. Should I send them anyway?
    If some of your documents are not available in either English or German and your university cannot provide such documents upon request either, please make sure that all the relevant information, e.g. grades and completion dates of your degrees or relevant courses, are included in your CV. Nonetheless, please attach all requested documents regardless of the language in which they are prepared. As we are an international research institution, we may have native speakers on-site who could help us with translating and understanding your documents, if necessary.
  6. Whom should I list as referees in my application?
    Basically, this is completely up to you. We recommend, however, that you pick senior scientists, e.g. PIs or group leaders, with whom you have worked for an extended period of time, and who thus can provide a meaningful assessment of your skills. For example, the supervisor of your Masters thesis would be a good choice.
  7. Do I have to pass any language tests, e.g., TOEFL or IELTS, to demonstrate proficiency in English? And what about German?
    In general, you don't need to provide any language certificates to get admitted to IMPRS-CPQM. The one exception to this rule is that the University of St Andrews does require evidence of your English language proficiency. But even if you can't provide any language certificates at this point, you can apply for projects involving supervisors from the University of St Andrews.
    Having said that, your language skills might be taken into account when we consider your application as English is used as the common language in most research projects. So, if you have already taken any language tests, we encourage you to include such certificates in your application documents.
    There is no need for you to have any German language skills when you apply for admission to IMPRS-CPQM. In fact, it is not uncommon for international students to join our insititutions having no or only very little knowledge of the German language.
  8. I don't have a Masters degree in Chemistry or Physics. Can I also apply to IMPRS-CPQM with a non-standard scientific background?
    Joining IMPRS with a non-standard background might pose some challenges. If you don't shy away from those challenges and feel that your scientific experience might fit into the scope of our IMPRS, you are more than welcome to submit your application. If you have questions whether your degree is sufficient for admission into IMPRS-CPQM, please don't hesitate to contact us before preparing your application.
  9. Do I have to pay a fee when I apply to IMPRS-CPQM?
    IMPRS-CPQM does not charge any application fee.
  10. Can I apply for an internship or a postdoctoral position at IMPRS-CPQM?
    IMPRS-CPQM is a PhD programme and only offers positions for graduate students. If you are interested in another type of position, e.g. as an intern or a postdoc, please contact the individual departments or PIs directly.

Admission to IMPRS-CPQM

  1. If I get admitted into IMPRS-CPQM, when do I have to start my project?
    For a number of reasons, e.g. the course schedule within IMPRS-CPQM and the partner universities, it makes sense for you to start at some point over the summer. However, other starting dates are possible as well and we will be happy to discuss all options once you have accepted our offer to join IMPRS-CPQM.
  2. At which university will I register when I join IMPRS-CPQM?
    There is no short answer to this question which can be considered as a general guideline for IMPRS students. Rather, a number of aspects will affect this decision, for example the level of your entry qualifications, your home country, the project of your choice etc. If you visit us to interview for a PhD position at IMPRS-CPQM, we can discuss this question in any necessary detail.

Research and course work at IMPRS-CPQM

  1. IMPRS-CPQM is a collaboration between three institutions. Where would I be based?
    Depending on the scope of your project, you could be based at any of the three institutions. As we envision both your supervisors to be actively involved in your project and also encourage inter-institutional collaborations and travel, it is very likely that you will spend time at the home institutions of both your supervisors, possibly even at all three places.
  2. I will register at the University of St Andrews but perform most of my research at MPI-CPfS in Dresden. How can I attend courses taught at St Andrews?
    If you register at the University of St Andrews, you will spend some time there during which you can attend classes. If you'd like to take further courses offered at St Andrews (or, in fact, by any member of the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance), you can take advantage of the video classrooms at MPI-CPfS. This system allows you to remotely dial into any course given at St Andrews and fully participate in that course, e.g. ask questions and discuss with other students.
  3. What is the difference between IMPRS-CPQM and other PhD programmes?
    In Germany, structured PhD programmes like our IMPRS are not as common as they might be in other countries. Thus, these programmes are typically highly selective and only the very best candidates are admitted, resulting in a group of very enthusiastic and motivated students within the programme. More specifically, the dedicated international approach of our IMPRS is rather unique and offers opportunities to actively participate in exciting research collaborations. You can (and are even expected to) attend a variety of events organized by our IMPRS such as retreats and workshops where you can benefit from interacting with researchers who work on the cutting edge of their respective research field.

Life in Dresden

  1. I don't speak any German yet, but I'd like to learn the language. Are there any courses?
    MPI-CPfS offers German classes on multiple levels to its employees, starting from the very basics to advanced classes. Language classes are also offered by TU Dresden and the University of St Andrews.
  2. I plan to come to Dresden. How should I prepare for my trip?
    You can find a lot of information on the webpages of the Visitors' Program of MPI-CPfS which will be useful if you intend to come to our IMPRS or Dresden in general, be it for a short visit or a long-term research stay. If you are an incoming IMPRS student, we will obviously assist you with all the administrative tasks. So please don't hesitate to .
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