Germany: PhD in Microbiology and Biochemistry at University of Göttingen (GGNB)

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Degree: Doctoral Degree
In cooperation with: Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (MPI-bpc)
Course language(s): English
Admission semester: Any time
Beginning: Open
Programme duration: Three years
Application deadline: Application is possible independent of deadlines.

Course content: The scientific focus of the programme is primarily on microbial model systems, ranging from prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) to eukaryotic microbes, including the interactions between microorganisms and multicellular organisms. These interactions can be beneficial, as between plants and some bacteria, or harmful, as between human cells and pathogenic bacteria. In the research groups participating in the PhD programme, platforms are available in various participating groups for the analysis of genomes, transcription signatures, large-scale protein identification, metabolomics, and imaging. The research programme includes the analysis of gene regulation and cell differentiation of microorganisms, the identification and functional characterisation of protein complexes, and the elucidation of the relation between pathogenic bacteria and their host cells. Moreover, we try to find novel enzymes using metagenomic approaches together with the exploitation of genomes of biotechnologically relevant microorganisms.

Educational organisation: Microbiology and Biochemistry is a doctoral programme of the Faculty of Biology, offered by the Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences, Biophysics, and Molecular Biosciences (GGNB). It is funded by the DFG within the framework of the German Federal and State Governments’ Excellence Initiative to promote science and research at German universities. The graduate school offers a joint modular training programme to which all doctoral programmes of the GGNB contribute, and which is open to all GGNB students. In addition to a lecture and seminar programme, training consists of (1) individual counselling by thesis committees, (2) intensive methods teaching courses of one to three weeks in special training labs, (3) two- or three-day methods courses in the laboratories of the participating faculty, (4) professional skills courses such as scientific writing, presentation skills, intercultural communication, project management, team leadership skills, conflict resolution, ethics and career development, and (5) student-organised scientific meetings, industry excursions and intercultural events. Students are able to tailor their individual curriculum by choosing from a large number of courses and events.
Study abroad unit(s): Participation in international scientific meetings, time-limited research projects and methods courses abroad   are encouraged.

Internships: Option of research collaboration with other research institutions

Forms of assessment: Evaluation of doctoral thesis by two referees; public defence of doctoral thesis
ECTS credits: 20
General promotion / funding: German Research Foundation
Course-related German language courses: Yes
Course-related English language courses: Yes
Course objectives: The aim of the programme is to provide an intensive, research-oriented education in an excellent research environment. The programme is intended to qualify students for a professional career in academia, industry or science management.

Tuition fees: No tuition fees are charged for the PhD programmes at Georg August University.

Enrolment fees: The enrolment fees are approx. 200 EUR per semester. The fee includes a pre-paid semester ticket which entitles students to use local trains within the federal states of Lower Saxony and Bremen free of charge.

Costs of living: The cost of living in Göttingen is modest compared to most university cities in Germany. Approx. 650-700 EUR per month are currently required (for accommodation, food, health insurance, books, etc.).
Job opportunities: The University of Göttingen and the Microbiology and Biochemistry programme support students in their pursuit of a professional career in academia, industry or science management. During the course of study, employment as a teaching or research assistant at the university or its non-university partners is possible. Doctoral fellowships are available at approx 1,100 -1,500 EUR per month.
Funding opportunities: within the university Doctoral fellowships are available at approx 1,100 -1,500 EUR per month.

Language requirements: Applicants whose native language is not English are asked to submit proof of proficiency in English. If no English test is available, proficiency in English can be evaluated during a personal interview. Proven higher education in English or a reasonably long stay in an English-speaking country may also be accepted.

Academic requirements: Master’s degree (or equivalent) in biology, chemistry, physics, or related fields
Where to apply: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
GGNB Office
Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 11
37077 Göttingen
(Online application at

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