University of Heidelberg
Home > Frequently asked questions>

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Q: Who is eligible to apply to the HBIGS PhD program?

A: Please refer to our admission requirements.

Q: What are the deadlines for applying to the Graduate School?

A: In general, you can submit your application at any time throughout the year. Please note, however, that there are individual deadlines for announced projects and that projects are removed from the website even before the deadline is reached once an appropriate applicant is found. We, therefore, recommend to apply as early as possible to announced projects.

Q: How can I apply for a PhD position?

A: The Online Application System will guide you through the completion of your application. You will need to write a letter of motivation and upload the requested documents. After registering with your email address, you will be able to fill in and update your application as often as you want during the application period. You may submit your application as soon as you have uploaded all necessary information, but it is not possible to view or change your application once it has been submitted.

Q: The system does not allow me to submit my application. What can I do?

A: If you are not able to submit your application, then it might be incomplete. Please make sure you have uploaded all the necessary documents.

Q: I have completed my application profile and have uploaded all required documents. How can I submit my application?

A: Click on "My applications", then press the "+" icon (right upper corner on the webpage).
Choose the project you want to apply to from the "Project" scroll bar. If you want to submit an unsolicited application, select "Unsolicited application" from the scroll bar.
Write a statement why you wish to apply to the project you have chosen. Applicants who submit an unsolicited application are asked to indicate the name of the principal investigator(s) they would like to apply to.
Finally, press the "Submit" button.
The system allows you to submit up to three applications.

Q: Can I send my application via regular mail?

A: No. Please do NOT send any documents via mail, neither regular nor electronic, as we will not consider any application or document received this way.

Q: How much time should I plan to complete my online application?

A: You should start with your application as soon as possible. Even if you have all documents ready for submission, you must allow at least a week for the referees to submit their letters of recommendation. Please make sure that both referees have got the appropriate link and are aware of the deadline.

Q: Do I need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?

A: If your native language is not English, proof of an adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission.
Proof can be provided either by
a) a TOEFL certificate ( (Score requirements: Paper based: 570+, Computer based: 230+, Internet based: 90+),
b) an IELTS certificate ( (Score requirements: band 6.5+) ,
c) a Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE ).
d) Applicants who took part in an undergraduate program in which the language of instruction was English or German are asked to provide a suitable certificate from their Faculty or supervisors.
e) Applicants who received an MSc degree from a university of an EU member state or an EU affiliated member state are exempted from providing an English language certificate. Their proficiency in English will be evaluated during the interview process. For technical reasons these applicants are requested to write and upload a statement that they will provide proof of their language proficiency during the interview.
f) Applicants who are enrolled in the MSc programs Molecular Biosciences or Molecular Biotechnology at Heidelberg University do not have to provide proof of language proficiency. For technical reasons these applicants are requested to write and upload a statement that they are exempted from providing proof of language proficiency.

Q: Do my referees have to submit letters of recommendation (LOR)?

A: You have two options. Either you upload the letters of recommendation or your referees send them to . If the latter applies you have to write a statement that your LOR will be sent directly to us, and upload this as .pdf-file (one .pfd document for every recommendation letter). Please note, however, that your application can only be considered as completed when we have received both LOR. The are no LOR forms available for download.

Q: I cannot upload documents to the Online Application System. What might be the problem?

A: Supported file formats are JPG and PDF, up to a file size of 3MB.

Q: When will I hear about a decision on my application?

A: Shortlisted applicants who applied for an advertised project will be notified and invited for interview in Heidelberg usually within three to four weeks after a deadline has been closed. Shortlisted applicants who submitted an unsolicited application will be invited as soon as they are selected by an HBIGS principal investigator. This period of time my vary depending on various parameters, e.g. the number of non-advertised open positions etc. The final decision will be made swiftly after the interviews.

Q: If I am invited to Heidelberg, do I have to cover the cost of transport and accommodation?

A: If you are selected to attend the interview process in Heidelberg, HBIGS will reimburse you the cost of a plane or train ticket. Meals and lodging will be provided by the Graduate School for the duration of the interviews.

Q: I am invited for interviews in Heidelberg but am unable to come. Can the date of the interviews be rescheduled?

A: Yes, rescheduling is possible since interviews will be conducted every month. If you are unable to attend because of factors outside of your control (i. e. a delay in the granting of a visa), please let us know as soon as possible so that we can try to find a solution.

Q: I need to apply for a visa to enter Germany. Will I have enough time to do so? What type of visa should I apply for?

A: If selected to conduct interviews in Heidelberg, you will have enough time to apply for a visa to enter Germany, should this be necessary. Because you are not accepted as a PhD student yet, you must apply for a tourist visa.

Q: What expenses do I have to cover?

A: Accepted PhD students have to take into account that there are expenses involved with starting their PhD in Heidelberg, such as fees for visa and immigration, the cost of a one-way flight to Germany, and the deposit for an apartment. These costs are not reimbursed by the Graduate School.

Q: Are PhD positions paid?

A: Yes. PhD positions are usually remunerated according to TV-L E13/2.

Q: How will I hear about a decision on my application?

A: Selected candidates will receive notification via email as soon as the decision is made.

Q: Who is eligible to apply to the MD/PhD program?

A: Only medical students enrolled at Heidelberg University can apply as MD/PhD students. Six MD/PhDs will be accepted per term (Read more...).

to top of page