How to apply to the CEPLAS Graduate School

The CEPLAS Graduate School invites talented and motivated students from all nationalities to apply for a structured four-to-five-year doctoral programme covering the fields of plant molecular biology and computational science (plant genetics, plant biochemistry and physiology, plant-microbe interactions as well as synthetic, quantitative and computational biology).

There are no tuition fees associated with this programme, except for an approx. 300 € fee per semester for enrolment at the University. This grants you student’s rights including free local public transportation in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Application requirements

  • Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences or a subject related to biological sciences (e.g. cell or molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, computational biology/bioinformatics, quantitative or synthetic biology). A completed bachelor’s degree is required at the start of the CEPLAS Graduate School programme in October 2020. Students already holding a master’s degree are not eligible to apply. Students who are now just starting a 2-year master´s study programme (< 3 months into the programme) are eligible to apply.
  • The programme is conducted in English. Non-native speakers need to provide evidence of proficiency in English (see requested documents).
  • Only complete applications submitted in English will be considered (see requested documents).

Application deadlines

  • Deadline for online application: April 30, 2020
  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews at a selection workshop that will take place at CEPLAS on June 16 and 17, 2020

Application procedure

  1. Please fill in the online application form completely and in English. 
  2. After you have successfully completed the online application form you have to submit the following required documents to Therefore, please have all documents prepared before submitting the online application form.

Required documents for an application

Please submit the following required documents as one pdf-file (max. 5 MB). Applicants with a foreign school and university degree must also send certified translations (in English or German) of degree certificates if those certificates are not in English or German.

  • Letter of motivation explaining why you would like to join the CEPLAS Graduate School
  • Curriculum vitae (CV, including publications)
  • Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent university degree; if available)
  • Transcript of records
  • Abstract of bachelor thesis (if available)
  • School leaving certificates (or equivalent degree for admission to German universities
  • Proof of English language skills (e.g. German Abiturzeugnis, TOEFL (90 points internet-based), IELTS (score 6,5) or a comparable proof). Alternatively, you may provide evidence of having spent at least 6 months in an English-speaking country or having completed a study program taught in English.

If you have additional documents relevant to your application (e.g. proof of scholarships, awards, certificates from previous employers, …) you can add them to the pdf file.

Your application will be evaluated by a selection committee who defines a shortlist of candidates. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews to the selection workshop which will take place on June 16 and 17, 2020.

The application call is open!!

Heinrich Heine University
University of Cologne
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
Forschungszentrum Jülich