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Systems Neuroscience (Ph.D.)


The doctoral program "Systems Neuroscience" is part of the Göttingen Graduate Center for Neurosciences, Biophysics, and Molecular Biosciences (GGNB).
The scientific profile of the Systems Neuroscience is characterized by three foci: Translational neuroscience, functional brain imaging, and comparative studies of non-human primates and humans.

Systems Neuroscience
doctoral degree (Dr.rer.nat./Ph.D.)
Graduate school:
Standard period of study:
6 semesters
summer and winter semester
Language of the programme:
limited admission (application to GGNB)

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Göttingen Graduate School for
Neurosciences, Biophysics and
Molecular Biosciences (GGNB)

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The doctoral program "Systems Neuroscience" is part of the Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences, Biophysics, and Molecular Biosciences (GGNB). It is hosted by the Center for Systems Neuroscience (CSN) and is conducted jointly by the University of Göttingen, the German Primate Center and the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences.

The research-oriented program is taught in English and open to students who hold a Master's degree (or equivalent) in the life sciences, physics, or related fields.

  • Translational neuroscience focuses on research that enables the transfer of results from basic science to human diseases. Core topics include neurodegenerative diseases, schizophrenia and neuroprotection.
  • Functional brain imaging techniques have developed into one of the most versatile tools in neuroscience. In Göttingen a cluster of EEG-labs flanks two groups that operate several MRI systems at different field strengths for the use on humans and experimental animals. Collaborative projects focus on research addressing human brain disorders (incl. rodent models) and sensory information processing.
  • Comparative studies on non-human primates (NHP) and humans:
    The German Primate Center (DPZ) provides unique opportunities for systems level neuroscience research. Research foci include basic research into higher-level processes in the visual cortex (e.g. attention, motor planning) as well as clinical and translational research on sensory deficits, neurological and psychiatric human diseases.

Related programmes

Related programmes


The GGNB offers an integrated training and qualification concept consisting of:

  • Thesis advisory committees advising the doctoral student and monitoring the progress of the doctoral project,
  • Scientific methods courses, seminars and summer schools in all science areas covered by the graduate school,
  • Professional skills courses in the four categories Scientific Communication; Good Scientific Practice, Ethics, and Intellectual Property; Self-Management and Organizational Skills; and Career Development, as well as German language courses and courses on Scientific English,
  • Industry excursions to biotechnological, pharmaceutical, optical or (bio)physical companies, guided by GGNB alumni,
  • Student-organized scientific symposia and career-related events,
  • Annual Ph.D. retreats organized by the programs.
In total, 20 Credits are required and doctoral students can tailor their individual curriculum by choosing from all courses and events. Only a Seminar on Good Scientific Practice is mandatory.

The doctoral students hold at least three annual Thesis Advisory Committee Meetings within the regular PhD time of 3 years. The maximum duration of PhD studies in GGNB is 4 years.

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Previous education:

  • M.Sc. degree (or equivalent) in the biosciences, chemistry, physics, or related fields.

Language requirements:

  • If English is not your first language, you need to provide proof of proficiency in English at level C1 of the CEFR (or equivalent, e.g. completion of an M.Sc. degree in English or IELTS Band 7).

Further requirements:

  • You are eligible to apply to GGNB if:
    • you have already secured a doctoral position with a GGNB faculty member (apply within 3 months after the start of the PhD project), or
    • you have successfully established contact to a GGNB faculty member who has expressed an interest in your application and who may be able to offer you a PhD position if you pass the selection process (apply up to 4 months before the planned start of the PhD project).



Academic Advising

Michaela Wasmuth-Kroker

GGNB Office

Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 11
37077 Göttingen

Phone: +49 551 39 26682