During the second phase, the students focus on the scientific work for their PhD project in the research groups of their supervising MPSP-Fellow. Once a research topic for the PhD studies has been agreed with a Fellow of the Max Planck School of Photonics, they will also be assigned a co-supervisor, ideally at another university. A close supervision will be ensured throughout regular meetings as well as reports on the progress of the research project. The final academic degree (usually Dr. rer. nat. or Dr.-Ing.) will be awarded by the university of the supervising MPSP-Fellow. The individual procedure is defined by the local academic PhD regulations. Students are strongly encouraged to conduct short- or mid-term research stays at the group of their co-supervisor during their PhD project.
The graduate program is supplemented by a discipline-specific qualification (expertise seminars by Senior Fellows and guest speakers) and the support of social competencies (time management, project management, the foundation of start-up, etc.) in organized workshops offered by the MPSP. In order to establish and maintain a strong network between students at all qualification levels and the MPSP-Fellows, students in the second phase also participate in the spring and autumn schools as well as in courses for the development and advancement of scientific and social skills. For the exchange with graduates at the other locations, a doctoral seminar is offered on a regular basis. Within the context of this seminar, research topics and their progress are being discussed in form of presentations with other graduates. Again, these activities will be partly mandatory for all students of the second phase and the regulation will be subject to agreements signed by student and supervisor. Because of the broad distribution of students all over Germany, courses during the second phase will be provided largely by e-learning modules.