The Solar System School Invites Applications for PhD Positions In Solar System Science


The International Max Planck Research School for Solar System Science at the University of Göttingen (“Solar System School”) offers a research-oriented doctoral programme covering the physical aspects of Solar system science. It is jointly run by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) and the University of Göttingen.

Research at the MPS covers three main areas:

  • Sun and Heliosphere.
  • Solar and Stellar Interiors.
  • Planets and Comets.

Solar System School students collaborate with leading scientists in these fields and graduates are awarded a doctoral degree from the renowned University of Göttingen or other universities.

The Solar System School is open to students from all countries and offers an international three-year PhD program in an exceptional research environment with state-of-the-art facilities on the Göttingen Campus. Successful applicants will be offered a three-year doctoral support contract as well as postdoc wrap-up funding.

The language of the structured graduate program is English, with complimentary German language courses offered (optional). The program includes an inspiring curriculum of scientific lectures and seminars as well as advanced training workshops and provides relocation costs and travel funds to attend international conferences.

Applicants to the Solar System School should have a keen interest in Solar system science and a record of academic excellence. They must have or must be about to obtain, an M.Sc. degree or equivalent in physics, earth sciences or a related field, including a written Masters thesis, and must document a good command of the English language.

Review of applications for a starting date of September 2020 will begin on the                1st of November 2019, but other starting times are also negotiable. The positions are awarded on a competitive basis.

Applicants must submit the following documents through the online application portal between 1st October and 1st November 2019:

  • An application form to be filled online, including two short texts describing the applicant’s scientific interests and their motivation to apply for PhD projects in the Solar System School, along with the applicant’s choice of up to three PhD projects;
  • A curriculum vitae in pdf format;
  • Degree certificates and full transcripts of all academic records: i.e. scanned copies of B.Sc. and M.Sc. degree certificates (or equivalent), and lists of all courses with credits and grades issued by the respective school or university, with English or German translations;
  • Certificate to prove proficiency in the English language, for candidates whose native language is not English or German (e.g. transcript of TOEFL / IELTS scores or equivalent);
  • Contact details for two or three academic referees who have been contacted by the applicant and who have agreed to write a letter of recommendation on behalf of the applicant. The referees will subsequently be contacted by the School and will be asked to submit their letters through the online portal no later than 10 November 2019.

It is highly recommended to also submit

  • GRE Physics test scores or equivalent for candidates who have obtained their Master’s degree at a university outside of Europe.

The Solar System School is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its student body and therefore encourages applications from individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, the Solar System School seeks to increase gender diversity and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

The timeline for recruitment and admission to the IMPRS programme for a start in 2020 will be:

2019 May 1 Online registration 2019 opens
2019 Oct 1 Application submission opens
2019 Nov 1 Application deadline
2019 Nov 10 Recommendation letters due
2020 Jan 27-31 Interview week in Göttingen
2020 Sep Start of the new academic year


To apply, click The Solar System School and visit the pages below and direct any further inquiries to the IMPRS scientific coordinator, Dr Sonja Schuh, at

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