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Max Planck School of Photonics

The field of photonics is a dynamic scientific discipline as well as catalyst and key technology for various research areas and innovative branches of industry. Germany plays a central role in modern photonic research and education within Europe. Embedded in a diverse landscape of universities and research organizations researchers reveal excellent contributions to all relevant disciplines connected to photonics: from Attosecond physics to quantum optics, from fundamental research to industry-oriented applications.

What is the Max Planck School of Photonics?

The Max Planck School of Photonics is a nationwide graduate school and professional network offering a two-phase PhD program to excellent students from all over the world.

In the first phase, successful applicants pursuing or holding a Bachelor’s degree obtain a Master’s degree from one of three teaching universities in Erlangen, Jena, or Karlsruhe. The first phase has a duration of two years and, if completed successfully, directly qualifies for entering the second phase.

The second phase is the research work on a PhD project. The main criterion for an applicant entering the second phase is an excellent Master's degree in a subject with sufficient exposure to physics. The PhD project is conducted in a group of one of the MPSP-Fellows under the supervision of this Fellow. The MPSP-Fellows are distributed amongst seven locations in Germany. Students can apply to any of the Fellows’ research topics. Changing locations between first and second phase is evaluated positively and emphasizes the network character of the school. The second phase of the program has a planned duration of three years.

Throughout the duration of the whole program, students will be supported – both financially through a scholarship or full-time employment in qualification and PhD phase respectively, as well as professionally through close supervision, a diverse workshop program and networking events.

Why study at MPSP?

The Max Planck School of Photonics connects the most promising junior researchers with the best scientists within the German research of photonics: interdisciplinary, nationwide and without institutional boarders. Providing a graduate school program for obtaining a PhD with an integrated Master course (qualification phase) the Max Planck School of Photonics qualifies the best international junior scientists. From the beginning they are actively and sustainably integrated into the German research system.

The Max Planck School of Photonics offers a unique PhD program for excellent students, which supports the qualification for a career in the field of photonics ranging from fundamental to applied research. For applicants with a Bachelor degree the program offers the possibility to broaden their basic knowledge, specialize and finally obtain a Master degree within a two year qualification period from one of the three teaching universities in Erlangen-Nürnberg, Jena or Karlsruhe. From the very beginning, the participants are integrated into a cluster of German epicenters in the field of photonics. After graduation, the students pass over into the PhD phase of the program at the home institution of one of the fellows within the network of the Max Planck School. The interconnection of qualification and PhD phase qualifies the students for their future promising career. Applicants with a qualifying Master's degree can directly start their PhD research with one of the outstanding Fellows.

All Participants are integrated in the research groups and contribute with their projects to the unique research infrastructure at the different home institutions. In the context of the School program and due to coordinative workshops and training programs, a close network between all actors is constructed. Hence, a get-together of the most renowned researchers and young scientists of the German photonic landscape is facilitated. In the Max Planck School of Photonics leading guest researchers and university scientists are being connected across different locations, disciplines and institutes, whereby the qualification of the best international young scientists in an excellent environment is similarly being enabled.

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