Training and Supervision

The scientific and professional skills training program of the MDC Graduate School is intended to provide each student with the necessary knowledge and skills to successfully complete the dissertation project and to move on to the next step in their career, inside or outside of academia.

Day-to-day supervision of students by the group leader is complemented with a PhD Project Committee, consisting of the PhD supervisor and two addtional scientists of the MDC or parnter universities. In addition, external scientists can be nominated to support the PhD Project Committee in guiding the student's work.

Training at the MDC Graduate School consists of regular PhD Project Committee meetings, scientific and research-related lectures, seminars and workshops, scientific presentations at meetings/conferences, and transferable skills courses.

Research at MDC

MDC Graduate School Curriculum


The MDC Graduate School currently supports over 360 doctoral students working in one of the more than 60 research groups at the center or at one of our partner institutions. The MDC Graduate School as well as the research schools and exchange programs are each headed by one or more program speakers, while day-to-day administration and general management is carried out by the respective program coordinators in the MDC PhD Office. Representing the student body, the PhD Representatives meet regularly with the program speakers and coordinators, as well as with the MDC directorate and they participate in the association of Helmholtz Juniors, which consists of doctoral student representatives from all 18 Helmholtz Research Centers across Germany. In case of work-related problems, MDC PhD students can seek advice from one of the Ombudspeople.

PhD Students


PhD Program Speakers

PhD Office

Student Representatives


Helmholtz Juniors


MDC PhD students, together with doctoral students of the Leibniz-Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP), organize each year a scientific event bringing together young scientists from all research areas at the two institutions. Highlights of the scientific sessions are plenary talks by internationally recongnized senior scientists. The scientific program is usually complemented with social activities and discussions of scientific topics and their relevance for society.

PhD Retreat

PhD Symposium

Science and Society

Doctoral Degree and Funding

As a research institution in the Helmholtz Association, the MDC as such is not entitled to award the doctoral degree. Therefore, MDC doctoral students enroll at one of our local partner universities, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin or Freie Universität Berlin, who will award the degree. Students can opt to graduate at any other university as long as joint supervision with the MDC is accepted. German universities generally award a Dr. rer. nat. in the life sciences, which is equivalent to the American Ph.D. Students are required to enroll at a university within the first year, which will cost approx. 100 Euros per semester or 250 Euros including a semester ticket for public transport.

The MDC Graduate School offers assistance with university procedures of Berlin partner universities. Please contact Annette Schledz (e-mail: aschledz(at)

Freie Universität Berlin

Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy

Doctoral Degree Procedure at the Faculty of Biology, Chemistry, and Pharmacy

Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Faculty of Life Sciences 

Promotionsordnung der Lebenswissenschatlichen Fakultät/ Doctoral Regulations of the Faculty of Life Sciences

Most MDC PhD students are fully funded through a working contract with the MDC. Net salaries amount to approx. 1100 Euros per month in the first year (health insurance coverage already deducted) and about 1500 Euros per month from the second year. In cases of third-party funding by the host group or individual funding secured by the candidate, these rates may vary.





The application portal can be found  HERE. Please use one of the following web-browsers: 

Google Chrome >40.0; Mozilla Firefox >53.0.2; Safari >MacOSX 9.5; Internet Explorer >10.0



Dr. Michaela Herzig
MDC Graduate School Coordinator

Dr. Konstantina Diamantara
MDC Graduate School Manager

Mrs. Annette Schledz
Administrative Assistant