Application process and selection days

Acceptance into our PhD Programme is only possible when you have already a PhD position in a research group. We ask you and your supervisor to provide information in advance how your PhD position will be financed throughout the entire duration.

These are the most convenient ways to find a suitable project for a PhD at IGradU:

  • gain acceptance for a paid PhD position through a professor from Ulm (job opportunities Universitätsklinik UlmUniversity Ulm)

  • finance yourself either through a scholarship from your home country, from the DAAD, or from any other funding organization

Having found a PhD position at a research group at Ulm University or the University Medical Center you can apply for becoming an IGradU-PhD-student. We accept new students in spring and fall of each year.

The formal admission requirements are these:

  • A Master of Science degree (or equivalent) in either the life sciences, physics, chemistry, informatics or a related field.

  • An overall grade of 2.0 or better according to the German grading system.

  • Suitable applicants are invited to our PhD Selection Days in Ulm.

Please note: There are no tuition fees for doctoral students at Ulm University


During Selection Day each applicant gives an oral presentation on the topic of the master thesis and provides an outlook of the PhD project. Presentation and discussion are evaluated by supervisors and PIs of IGradU. Following our PhD Selection Days, applicants will be admitted to the PhD programme on condition that:

  • The oral presentation has been evaluated with a grade of 2.0 or better.

  • The applicant has demonstrated above average English language skills.

  • A project leader officially agreed to accept the applicant as a PhD student

Admission process

After successfully having run the Selection Day you'll be notified by the IGradU that you can register at Ulm University as a PhD-student. You can find all the required documents for the enrollment after admission here.

We usually divide our PhD-students among the coordinators according to their last names. All the PhD-students whose last names begin with A-J are supervised by Christiane Böhm, those with last names K-Q by Katja Ahmann all others (R-Z) by Lina Zaveleva. Please proceed here to our contact info.


The TAC must consist of three members.

  • The first supervisor is usually the group leader of the group where you are performing your theses. 
  • The second supervisor has to be from Ulm University, but not from the institute where the work is performed.
  • The third supervisor is an external supervisor and must be from outside Ulm University. Industrial advisors are also possible.
  • You CAN choose a member of the Junior Faculty as fourth supervisor. The list of current JF members you can download here.
  • At least one of them must be a member of the PI list of the Graduate School. The list of current PIs you can download here.

All members of the TAC have to be qualified for this duty, e.g. be a professor (equivalent to full or associate professors) or should be at the level of junior professors, junior group leaders or comparable.

  • Monitoring of the student’s progress
  • Support in all problems related to the PhD project
  • Advice concerning experiments etc.
  • Realization and evaluation of intermediate exams (during Spring and Fall Meetings)
  • Evaluation of written dissertation
  • Realization and evaluation of disputation at the end of studies

Questions concerning PhD-examination procedure

According to the current PhD- study regulation, you can apply for a so-called "green talk" (green because of the color of the printed paper with the announcement), if your submitted first author paper was not accepted after three years and nine months in the IGradU.

Please note the following:

In early 2018 the PhD-committee decided to ease the procedure of the Green Talks as an exemption of the requirement of an accepted first author paper. From this time on you will have to give an oral presentation defending your paper,  only if the PhD-committee considers either your application to be not compelling or if your submitted paper needs further discussion prior the submission of the dissertation.
In any case you should submit your application for the Green Talk procedure not earlier than 3 months but latest one month prior to your deadline of four years. Please submit also the supporting letter of the supervisor, the manuscript of your paper and a proof that the paper was submitted.
Submission of the manuscript needs to be done at least 3 months before the deadline. Please also provide a comprehensible explanation for the time delay. The application has to be submitted at our coordination office.
The PhD committee will next decide on your application and will decide on first, acceptance or rejection of the application and second, on a further discussion during a presentation. You will be informed by the end of the forth year about the decision.
If your application is accepted but no further discussion is required, you will have to submit your thesis within 4 weeks after your initial deadline.
If your application is accepted but further discussion is required, you will have to organize the Green Talk within 4 weeks. In this case the further procedure remains as fixed in the PhD regulations. You will need to find a date where at least two thirds of  members of the PhD-committee can come to your presentation and finally decide upon your talk whether you pass it or not. Also in this case the thesis needs to be submitted within 4 weeks after your 4 weeks deadline.

You need 7 copies in total

Normally it takes 2-3 months from submitting your dissertation to your disputation (defense).

Please proceed to the file "legal position of translating an academic title" to be found here (English) and here (German).

The KIZ is controling the compliance with image copyrights very tightly - also for PhD theses! Please make sure that you do not only give the reference but that you also obtain the license for pictures you use in your thesis (from journals or authors). If you do not have a license, you might have to consider creating a figure or scheme yourself to be on the safe side. Violations against the German "Law for Copyright and similar Protection" (Gesetz über Urheberrecht und verwandte Schutzrechte) are defined in paragraph 2 “Rechtsverletzungen".

For further information, the KIZ offers course about copyrights.

1st authorship represents one of the cornerstones of the IGradU. However, the board will carefully discuss requests individually and take a decision based on the study regulations. If the board acknowledges that the contribution of the student in several publications is equal to the scope of a first author publication, graduation is possible.

You can submit your thesis earlier, if you already have an accepted first author paper, attended all progress reports, activities and talks. Also in that case, the PhD- committee has to approve your application for earlier submission.

For your thesis, you need four reviewers: three are your TAC members and one additional external reviewer, who has not published together with all of your TACs in the last five years.

For your thesis defence, you need four professors including one from the PhD- committee.

If your PhD is to be graded “summa cum laude” you need one additional external reviewer for the written thesis and a second member of the PhD- committee for the defence.

Yes, you need to! After receiving the confirmation from the coordinators that all your reviews from your written thesis arrived (takes between 2-3 months after thesis submission), you have to organize your defense:

1. Four examiners

2. Date of defense (doodle questionnaire can help). Once you have the date and the examiners, please contact the coordination office for the room organization. For external examiners, the IGradU will cover traveling and staying costs.

Once you are done with the defense (congrats on that) there are several steps you should do in order to finish your PhD-studies and to get the final certificates.

1.     celebrate well :)

2.     fill in the missing data in the second page which were left blank such as: Current dean / chairman of the Graduate School, 
3. External reviewer:
4. Day doctorate awarded (day of your defence)

3.     Make sure you do not change anything in the final copy, so do not improve any grammatical or content mistakes. If after the submission of your dissertation, the source references changed (e.g.  your article has been printed and your dissertations states only “accepted” ) you have to change these data and present the final pdf-version to the coordination office of the IGradU.

4.     For uploading your thesis go to www.uni-ulm.de/en/einrichtungen/kiz/service-katalog/wid/publikationsmanagement/university-publications/and follow the instructions yourself.

5.     Start the order then and wait for the confirmation. Please note that the KIZ may contact you in some cases.

Meanwhile the coordination office and the student secretary office are issuing your final certificates which you will be handed over once the KIZ confirms the rule-consistent submission of the statutory copies. You will be notified when you can collect your certificates at the IGradU coordination office. Alternatively, you can get them at Fall/Spring Meeting participating in the graduation ceremony.



Mobility programme

PhD-Students may get up to 3,000 Euros according to budget availability for the whole period of their PhD-studies

If you have already used a certain amount of money and not sure how much budget you still have, please contact the coordination office



First of all find out how much mobility budget you still have. Then, register for the conference/practical training sumbitting there your abstract. With this, you can fill in the mobility application form AND an evidence for your active participation (abstract or poster) 

Please differentiate whether you are hired by the clinics or by the university. 

a) clinics: 

Please fill in the travel authorization form (Dienstreiseantrag) by ticking both times the fields “keine Kostenerstattung", and further below,: "keine Kostenerstattung, nur Unfallversicherung" let it signed by your boss and send it to us so our management can also sign there. We’ll send the form back to you which you then send to the personnel department of the clinics.  After your return you have to submit the form "Reisekostenabrechnung"  as well as daily allowance document  in duplicate together with your original receipts and a copy of  all expenses to the Coordination office.  Please note that we will send back the form if the receipts of the expenses are not copied.

b) university: 
in that case submit this travel authorization form at least two weeks prior to your journey and after you come back this form in duplicate together with your original receipts and a copy of  all expenses to the Coordination office.  Please note that we will send back the form if the receipts of the expenses are not copied.

After all in both cases you are expected to write a short report on your journey (about 1 page). 

No! In that case please contact your supervisor to find out whether he/she can support your journey. Please also get in touch with ProTrainU as they sometimes support conference stays and practical trainings. 

Question around our seminars, workshops and activities

In total 5 for the whole period of your PhD-studies, 1 for the first year (project plan is counted as one activity), and respectively 2 activites for the proceeding years (year two and three). Please see the study plan.

Optional activities can be workshops, excursions, scientific meetings, summer schools, retreats, mini symposia or key competence seminars. Activities not organized by the Graduate School also count (although it is not possible to perform activities in your own Institute or working group). One of the optional activities for the first-year PhD-students has been replaced by the submission of the project plan to the coordination office.

The optional activities must be recorded in the list of activities. Confirmation of participation in two optional activities must be provided for the registration for the intermediate examinations/evaluations. You will be reminded per email in time. If you are not sure, whether the Graduate School will accept an event as an optional activity, please contact the coordination office. 

Due to the pandemic situation the PhD committee has released the following exceptions/specifications:

• It is required to collect 30 optional talks for the lecture series. It is now allowed to attend online talks of GRKs, SFBs, TED talks, online conferences and seminars of respective research institutions such as e.g., DF/HCC Connecting the Scientific Community Seminar Series - DF/HCC (harvard.edu). Furthermore, online talks on distinctive research portals are also acceptable (e.g., http://eubias.org/NEUBIAS/training-schools/neubias-academy-home/neubias-academy-archive-spring2020/ ; http://eubias.org/NEUBIAS/training-schools/neubias-academy-home/). 

Every IGradU-student is eligible to participate in four key competence seminars per year (on a first-come-first served basis). Please register only for those, which you really need because the courses are also reserved for the students of the “experimental-medicine” programme.

Remember that because of many recent short-term cancelations, your application to a key competence seminar will be checked. People who sign up for a seminar and do not show up without cancelation will be at the end of waiting lists for upcoming seminars.

PhD-students have to attend at least two courses in different labs with a total duration of 10 days for both courses.

Also, please note that you can use your mobility budget also for practical trainings in other labs outside Ulm.

Recently it occurred that activities you signed up for (e.g. workshops, excursions) were cancelled by you on short notice (i.e. on the day of the activity) or that you attended activities only partially. Inform us IN ADVANCE if you have no time or a registration is wrong.

It should go without further saying but we urge you to please:

  • Book only workshops and activities when you have no time conflicts.
  • Book only workshops when you are interested in the content.
  • If you book an activity you have to participate during the entire time.
  • Cancel bookings self responsibly when you recognize that you have a time conflict or directly after the REMINDER.
  • Deadlines from the lecturer are strict, and you have to submit the preparatory work in time.​​​​​
  • A cancellation after we have sent you the request/documents for the necessary preparatory work is not possible.
  • When you have to cancel the workshop at short-notice due to sickness, we will need a doctor's certificate.

If you do not or only partically participate or if you cancel the activity on short-term (without doctor's certificate) we will from now on leave open the possibility that the IGradU does not pay the pending fees and will make students accountable in line with regulations.

Biannual meetings

Our biannual meetings - the spring and fall meeting - are an encounter with international flair. 

Twice a year we organise an international meeting - the Spring and the Fall Meeting. The attendance of the Meetings is compulsory for all PhD students.

The meetings are attended by speakers of international renown who embrace current and future developments in the field of Molecular Medicine, and provide the opportunity for students to integrate themselves into the scientific community and get in contact with potential laboratories to perform a post-doc. The students give presentations and seek advice for their work from professional international scientists. Additionally, poster sessions provide the possibility for all doctoral students to participate actively in the meeting and to discuss issues with the invited speakers. Thus, our meetings provide a platform for getting to know each other personally and fostering research collaborations and networking.