Frequently asked questions

cartoon of student having questions


Who can apply?

You can apply to all of our molecular, experimental PhD programs if you have a Master (Bachelor of Honors only if you have at least 6 months molecular research experience), Diploma or Staatsexamen. We take students from a life science as well as medical (, MBBS) background. You should at least have done a 6 months independent - molecular, experimental - research project (e.g. Master project), preferably in one of the fields we are working on here in Hannover. 

! Students with an (bio-)engineering background are very welcome to apply to the "Regenerative Sciences" program.

! Of course, you can apply when you are still doing your Master and will be finished by September/October, when our programs start. You can hand in your Master certificate later. Please upload some marksheets in the application then.

! Sorry, but we hardly ever take dental medicine students, students from a plant/ crop science background or students who have been employed longer at industrial settings.


How do I receive the lists of projects? How does matching taking place?

All our project leaders also have to apply to HBRS with their open project offers by March/April. Program committees carefully check these mainly for feasibility, funding and scientific excellence. So, lists of projects will only be available shortly before our interviews (May/June).

However, if you look at various student lists of a respective programs and/ or the lists of faculty members, you will roughly get an idea in which fields/ departments projects are usually offered.

Please note: Most of our faculty members will only answer your emails/ requests after you have been invited for interview. So, please don't bother them prior to March 1st.

If you are already at MHH or partner institutes (either Master student or PhD) and would like to join our programs, you and your supervisor are welcome to apply. This implies that a supervisor can suggest a particular project just for you.

Interviews are conducted either in Hannover (for Germans and/or nearby countries) or virtually. Travel will be reimbursed.

Usually, we select our new students first, and the second step would be the project matching. During our 2-3 interview days in Hannover, you will be able to contact and meet supervisors of your interest if you are on site. Otherwise you can contact them and arrange individual virtual meetings. We advice all selected students to find a match before they start their PhD in October. 

In principle, selected students have a free choice from our open project lists. However, final decision is based on a mutual consent between you and the supervisor. It may well happen that, if you show interest in a particular group, in addition a respective supervisor will contact you via telephone or skype once you have been admitted to a program.     


Can I do a Master at MHH?

It is not possible at MHH to do a Master degree in English (accept for the European partnership program IDOH: Infectious Diseases and One Health) . Our local Master programs "Master Biomedizin", "Master Biochemie" and "Master Datenwissenschaften" are German only. In fact, a Master is one of our most important entrance criterium.


Fast-track Master

It is possible to do a fast track Master in our HBRS Master programs (Biomedicine, Biochemistry, Data Science). You will only do three semesters of the Master program, skip the Master thesis and directly start with your PhD thesis in one of our three PhD programs. Only excellent students will get the chance to do this. Please contact the Master or HBRS office. Fast-track Master students do not have to pay their matriculation fee themselves in 3rd semester, they can be employed as student assistent (HiWi) and will receive an equal amount of financial support (stipend, salary) to all other PhD students, after their so called "4th semester" (meaning from October, the start of PhD programs).
Please note that our Master programs are in German only! 


MD/PhD program "Molecular Medicine

This PhD program does not award an MD degree, so it is not a combined program like e.g. the North American programs. We only award PhD or Dr.rer.nat. degrees (to life scientists only). It is a 3-year program after your Staatsexamen or MBBS degree. The name MD/PhD has historical reasons, because we want to attract students with a medical background and the training program focusses on applied medical aspects.

There are are a number of paths and models for MD/PhD education

And, medical students are very welcome to apply also to the other PhD programs in HBRS.

The MD/PhD program Molecular Medicine has a written test as second selection step. This test is either performed online or in rare cases in your home country under supervision of a professor etc.

How will my studies be financed?

Every student receives either a stipend or salary of at least 1500,- Euro/month. In principle, the leader of project (supervisor) will give you financial support for the whole PhD time. We only accept open project offers if they are financially secured. 

You will have a student status! You will only have to pay the immatriculation fee (no study fee) and will receive a student travel card for Hannover and Lower Saxony.

We will support families/ students receiving a stipend with so called "money for children" (Kindergeld), which is currently amounting to 400,- Euro/month for the first child + 100,- Euro/month for all further children.   


What about insurances, and bank account?

We will organize the membership in a health insurance and opening of bank account - in particular for the international students - during the orientation weeks, beginning of October. We will always choose the health insurance best suitable for you.

Your bank account needs to be a German one! Of course, you can also choose an online option.
We recommend international students to buy a short-term travel health insurance.
And we recommend all our students to take a private liability insurance.     


What language is used?

English is the main language of the course, however, German language courses are offered to our international students.


Is HBRS open to all international students?

Yes, at the moment we have got  students from more than 40 different countries: Albania, Austria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Danmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India,  Indonesia, Italy, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan,  Tansania, Thailand, Turkey, UK, Ukraine, USA, Venezuela, Vietnam  etc. 


How will I be accommodated?

It is possible to apply for a room in one of our student's residences. The individual program offices take care of this and will kindly assist you in finding something suitable in town if you wish. Usually all international students manage to find accomodation before they come to Hannover and start their programs.


Is the curriculum obligatory?

We do require 300 hours of training (in three years) in addition to your research project. There are the 3 hour obligatory seminars on Mondays or Thursdays (attendance of different modules possible and flexibility for German Master students). And you have to attend 80 hours of project oriented lectures, method courses, workshops, summer schools etc. and 60 hours of interdisciplinary courses. 


What final degree will I achieve?

When you finish our programs you will either have a PhD or Dr. rer. nat. degree (for life scientists only).


Can I bring my family?

Yes, HBRS is highly family-oriented. We help you in finding suitable accomodation. And we have got an on campus crip/ kindergarten especially for scientists sponsored by the Wilhelm Hirte Foundation and through funds of the German Excellence Initiative.

Please contact us if you would like to bring your spouse. We would be very happy in assisting her/him to find a suitable position in Hannover region as well. We have excellent connections to all other universities, research institutes or industry.


How are my career perspectives?

Your perspectives are excellent. Most of our students finish their PhD with one, two or even more first-author papers in peer-reviewed international journals. Of course, we encourage people to stay at MHH afterwards for Postdoc or to return at least after having been abroad. Many students are offered Postdoc positions in outstanding labs worldwide (Harvard, UCSF, Imperial College etc.). Or they find very good positions in industry and other fields. Please see our "Alumni" section and in particular the newsletters.

We have a great number of activities, described in the "careers" section.