Students entering the program at the research phase must either have successfully completed the study phase of the program. or have otherwise received an excellent Master's with sufficient exposure to physics from elsewhere.
In the case of the former, the student's suitability for transfering to the research phase will depend on their final mark in the study phase, as well as the availability of an MPSP fellow with the according research interests to act as the student's PhD supvervisor. The evaluation procedure takes place towards the end of the study phase.
During the research phase, students focus on the scientific research for their PhD project which is conducted within a research group led and supervised by an MPSP-Fellow. Students are also assigned a co-supervisor, ideally located at another university. Close supervision is ensured through regular meetings and progress reports. The final academic degree (usually Dr. rer. nat. or Dr.-Ing.) is awarded by the university with which the supervising MPSP Fellow is affiliated and according to the respective regulations. Students are also strongly encouraged to conduct short- or mid-term research stays with the research group led by their co-supervisor at some point during the three-year period envisaged for the PhD project.
As during the study phase, students in the research phase are offered various training opportunities and workshops to further social or professional competencies such as, for example, project management or how to found a start-up, as well as more discipline-specific expert seminars conducted by Senior Fellows and guest speakers. In an effort to establish and maintain a strong network between MPSP students in both phases and the MPSP Fellows, research students also participate in the summer and autumn schools, as well as other courses offered to students in the study phase. Additionally, a doctoral seminar is offered on a regular basis which brings together the graduates from the various groups at which the PhD students present and discuss their research progress. Again, some of these activities will be mandatory for students in the second phase and the regulation will be subject to agreements signed by student and supervisor. Due to the broad distribution of students all over Germany, courses during the second phase will be provided largely via e-learning modules.