Application - FAQs

FAQs concerning the application procedures

Filling in the Application Form

1. I have just received the pdf file of my application and I realized that the system cut off a part of a section. Will it cause a problem to the system if I resend an application so that I receive a new pdf? Or is this not possible?

A: Just resubmit. Maybe you were above the word limit and then things will not change. Consider to use less words, or attach an additional pdf.

2. I wanted to know if full stops, commas and spaces count into this character limit. Is there any approximate word limit I should stick to for both of them so that I get a better idea.

A: Yes, all that will be counted as it needs space on the printed paper. The word limit is typically 15 words/line, but this of course depends on the length of the words. Please stick to the limit of letters/numbers/etc. You may also attach a pdf for your motivation letter. However, we do not expect motivation letters etc. to be that long.

3. Can I refill the application form again, or can I upload a CV with the XY_applicationform.pdf together?

A: If you do not like the layout of the pdf that our robot produces, you may attend your own CV. You may of course refill the form and resubmit (and repeat that as long as you wish). Only the latest version will be considered.

4. I filled my application form yesterday and received it back as a pdf by mail. I checked the form (that I attached to this mail) and the "Education data", "the Scientific interests and motivation for IMPRS", "Areas of Interest for your Graduate Research" parts of my application are unreadable. Should I start the application again?

A: Just rewrite and resubmit. You may resubmit as often as you like, we will only consider the latest version. As we explained, the form does not accept any external formatting (tables, etc), so this is why "Education" is corrupt. In "Scientific interests", I assume that you went beyond the word limit. Please shorten, or use the whole lines (or attach a pdf, if you really like to tell all points).

5: The application pdf file has some contents missing! In the section 'COURSE WORK', I entered all my core courses in physics in both BSc as well as MSc, along with the marks obtained. All of them was shown in the PREVIEW of my application, but in the PDF file that was sent to me, nothing except a few lines can be seen.

A: The application form does not allow an arbitrary length of text. So we simply cannot resent a form with the complete information. We assume that you have superseded the maximum amount of text allowed.  Please shorten, or add a pdf list of complete courses to the application material you will upload. Then we could see all courses.

6. The formats, in general, are to write no more than 10-50 lines of 45-55 characters. I followed this format, but when I see the preview of my application form it doesn't look at all as I formated it. For example: I am writing this sentence in particular because I want to demonstrate my point. Is shown like: I am writing this sentence in particular be-cause I want to demonstrate my point. The format seems not recognize spaces between paragraphs.

A: Indeed the webform does not recognize any formats you use for your text and just shows the plain information (we mention this on the form). That also means that we do not care too much the style of your application at this point - we only need the information. In the end we ask you to upload pdfs of your transcripts and certificates, so for further consideration we will also have formatted text. So, please do not care as well too seriously about the format in the application form.

7. In the IMPRS online registration form, the student has to fill in Studies for the first degree (e.g. Bachelor) as well as Studies for the second degree (e.g. Master). I have not got any degree in between. Since I have only one degree, how should I suppose to fill the form? Should I just replicate same details in both places?

A: Please ONLY fill one of the form at one place, probably the first one as it will be your 1st degree.

Registration/ Uploading Application/ Referees

1. Does IMPRS allow me to attach a compressed pdf copy of my application with complete information about my research experience?

A: Yes, please attach additional pdf material, if you wish to.

2. I just submitted my PhD application and realized that I uploaded the wrong file on the server.

A: It is a quite impossible for us to upload a file as we do not run that server. Please, just upload that file again. We usually consider the latest version of uploaded files.

3. Is it possible to apply without a "university certificate"?

A: Sure, you should apply without having a final degree yet. This is in fact typical for most applicants. But please add all transcripts.

4. The requirements for application are to submit a BSc and a MSc theses. However, my BSc thesis is in Russian and has never been translated while my MSc thesis has not been written yet, though it will be in English.

A: Please upload the BSc thesis anyway. We may be able to see how extensive it was in spite of the Russian text. Also we have Russian colleagues. Please add an English abstract of the MSc thesis. Since you might not yet have results yet, describe what you are going to do. Thus, entitle the abstract better as "MSc thesis project abstract".

5. What's the exactly meaning of "actual version of my transcripts", do I need to post the paper version instead of uploading the file? And is it ok if I upload my report for my project, it's almost over but it's not exactly a paper yet, I still need to revise a lot.

A: About the transcript: please scan the latest version from which we could identify all courses you have taken so far. Yes, please upload the report; It will be very helpful.

6. I am taking part on an Astrophysics Master in Complutense University of Madrid (I am Spanish), so, should all the documents that I have to send for application be translated officially into English, or with the original copies in Spanish would be enough?

A: We need the copies of the originals, but an ("unofficial”) translation by you would be OK for the evaluation of your application. Please also provide information about the grading system. The Spanish grading system used to vary over the years (and the place) and is sometimes difficult to judge.

7. I have submitted my IMPRS application yesterday, but my referees have not received an email for the letter yet.Will you send an email to them or do I have to send them the IMPRS link to submit letters?

A: You have to send your referees your registration code to submit the letter. Reference letters must be submitted by your referees to the same Max Planck online application system.The online system will inform applicants when a reference letter is received. We do not contact the referees.

General Matters

1. When are applications due and when does the program start?

A: The program starts usually in September, but an earlier arrival is possible (depending on the project funding). Also late arrivals are in principle possible.

2. I am a MSc student from Brazil and I am very interested in applying to a PhD position in the IMPRS-HD. I have a question about the starting date: The application webpage states that the school program starts each year beginning of September, and an earlier start is possible. Is a later start also possible? The academic year in Brazil starts in March, and, as a consequence, students finish the MSc course in December. Is it possible to start the PhD in January/February or do I need to wait a year later to apply?

A: You may indeed start later, but this has then to be discussed with the project leaders. Depending on the start you may be considered as member of the generation of students of the earlier one.

3. Are any of the PhD positions funded, and, if so, how much is provided?

A: All positions/offers come with funding. Funding is about 1100-1300 Euro net salary, and, according to experience, it is enough money to live on.

4. Would you recommend contacting potential PhD supervisors directly?

A: This is a good point. It can be beneficial in oreder to atraact interest in your application. Some supervisors will, however, refer to the IMPRS application procedures and might not like to discuss the project in advance. Overall, it will not be a disadvantage to contact them. But stay brief and refer to your application.

5. Do IMPRS and the Max Planck Institute of Radio Astronomy are considered as one institute?

A: No, these are independent institutes, leading independent IMPRS schools.

6. I am A.J., pursuing Masters in Applied Mathematics from Josef's University, Chennai, India. I read that the requirements for applying for this field of research is a Masters in Physics or an equivalent degree. May I know if I am eligible to apply? At this point, I would also like to mention that my Master's thesis is in the field of Astronomy.

A:If you do not have an university education in Physics it will be difficult to get accepted. The university department expects a broad and deep physics education comparable to about 10 lectures in experimental physics and theoretical physics. If you have attended a lot of physics lectures, even a math degree might work out, but then a conditional acceptance will be granted, requiring a few additional (physics) courses to take during the PhD.