How to apply for the doctoral program



Please check the current announcements and open doctoral or postdoctoral positions. If the research area meets your interest please apply quoting the reference number.
>> currently open (post)doctoral positions


All applications for the ASP doctoral program in photonics can be done using our Online Application System. The same applies to postdoctoral candidates. Please note that due to the large numbers of applications we cannot accept applications via email. Please review the details of the application procedure and required documents as given below.


Prerequisites for applying at the doctoral program

Doctoral candidates must have obtained or be about to obtain a Master’s degree or equivalent qualifications in physics, natural sciences, or engineering. Students commencing their studies at our School should ideally have basic or in-depth knowledge of

  • mathematics (complex numbers and functions, function theory, linear and vector algebra, ordinary and partial differential equations, vector analysis, integral theory)
  • physics (electromagnetic field theory/Maxwell's equations, solid state physics)

A Master's degree topic related to physics and/or optics and photonics is advantageous.


Application deadlines and selection of doctoral candidates

Generally, there are no deadlines for doctoral applications, but detailed information about application schedules can be found in the description of open calls. Your application can be accompanied by your own project suggestion at any time.

All submitted data and information will be considered. We aim to match each individual case to one of the doctoral positions that are currently open. As a doctoral applicant you can support this process by making a clear statement about the doctoral project(s) you are applying for, or which research group and/or supervisor you wish to join.

The final acceptance decision is made by the Abbe School of Photonics evaluation committee, and the final vote lies with the prospective doctoral supervisor(s). It is common that the supervisor(s) will establish direct contact to the candidate a couple of weeks after the formal application. Another regular step is a face-to-face or online interview. In this interview, the applicant is encouraged to ask all pertinent questions about the offered doctoral topic, e.g., their scientific goals, the aspired temporal length of the project, or the salary.

Required documents during the application

In keeping with German standards, the following documents are required for your online application. Upon entering the Online Application System, you will be requested to upload:

  • Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.), Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.), or Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.), including the respective transcript of records with marks
  • Master of Science (M.Sc.), Master of Engineering (M.Eng.), or Master of Technology (M. Tech.), including the respective transcript of records with marks (if you have not yet finished your current academic degree, you may likewise apply with a preliminary transcript of records including all completed courses thus far)
  • Your high school (=secondary school) leaving certificate with marks
  • A comprehensive curriculum vitae (CV) without open or unidentified time slots. (Please list all stages of your education chronologically, starting with your high school graduation or equivalent. You should also give a clear statement as to your current status and/or occupation including potential information on (un-)employment or parental leave. Any prizes, scholarships or extraordinary social, cultural or sportive activities may also be listed.)
  • letter of motivation including a clear statement about the doctoral project(s) you are applying for, or the research group and/or supervisor you wish to join
  • A copy of your passport
  • Proof of your English proficiency by either of the following:
    • TOEFL, IELTS or an equivalent English test
    • a statement from your previous/current University confirming that relevant parts of your higher academic education were taught in English
    • German "Abitur"
  • Language exemptions: The following students are exempt from providing proof of their English proficiency:
    • Nationals of the USA, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, or BSc and MSc graduates who obtained their qualifications in one of these countries
    • Holders of German "Abitur" with sufficient exposure to the English language
  • To join an international doctoral program, it is common to provide letters of recommendation from previous academic supervisors.
    • In order to support your application in the strongest way possible, we encourage you to submit two academic letters of recommendation from two different referees (professors). A template for these letters can be downloaded here; however, this template is not mandatory. Please make sure that each letter of recommendation is signed. If one or both of your referees prefer personalized recommendation letters, these should contain a quantitative performance statement of yours, a date, and an official headline/stamp from the higher education institution the referee is affiliated with.
    • If you are not able to provide one or two letters of recommendation at the time of your online application, you may instead provide the contact data of one or two potential referees (professors), who can issue their letter of recommendation on your behalf. Please be aware that the Abbe School of Photonics will not contact your referees automatically. They will only be contacted at a later stage of the selection procedure, and only if your application gets top-ranked and shortlisted in comparison to other candidates.