PhD Program Biodiversity and Ecology

Duration: three years (six semesters)
Degree: Dr. rer. nat. or Ph.D.
Prerequisite for admission: Study of at least eight semesters at a university, and a university degree in a biologically oriented discipline of life or environmental sciences; sufficient knowledge in English (to be proven by non-native speakers through successful completion of a language test such as TOEFL or an equivalent test). Students are admitted on the basis of a personal interview. Details can be obtained from the admission regulations (PDF file, in German / 107 kB)
Start of the terms: winter semester (October) and summer semester (April)
Number of admitted students: 20 per year
Application deadline: 15 September for the subsequent winter semester, and 1 January for the subsequent summer semester

Main features:

  • International orientation;
  • Doctoral thesis ("dissertation") in English, as a monograph or a compilation of publications accepted by peer-reviewed scientific journals;
  • Interdisciplinary and subject-specific seminars;
  • Supervision by a personal Ph.D. commission.

Students of the M.Sc. program "Biological Diversity and Ecology" or of an equivalent program may apply for admission to the Ph.D. program without having completed their Master's thesis. In this case, the Master's thesis will be finished within the framework of the Ph.D. program. Thus, the entire study program in "Biological Diversity and Ecology" - from the first semester of the B.Sc. program to the doctorate - can be completed within seven years.

Written applications (applications in electronic form will not be considered) in German or English should be sent by 15 September (for the subsequent winter semester) or by 1 January (for the subsequent summer semester) to the Dean's office of the Faculty of Biology (Untere Karspüle 1a, 37073 Göttingen, Germany). They should include the following documents:

  • Certificate of a university Diploma or Master's degree (or equivalent; in English or German, as an authenticated copy or translation) upon the completion of at least 8 semesters in the field of life or environmental sciences or related disciplines in organismic biology;
  • Curriculum vitae;
  • List of professional and scientific activities in the field of biological diversity and ecology;
  • Statement on former applications (with or without success) for doctorate studies;
  • Signed confirmation from the supervisor on the acceptance of the applicant as a doctoral student, and on the supply with sufficient resources in her or his working group;
  • Statement on the motivation for the application;
  • Certificate on fluency in English ("Test of English as a Foreign Language" [TOEFL]: minimum 550 points in the written test or 220 points in the computer-based test; or a minimum of 7 points in the ''International English Language Testing System'' [IELTS], or equivalent marks in other acknowledged tests);
  • Statement on former completion (with or without success) of other doctorate studies;
  • For foreign applicants: a proof of funding her or his subsistence.

The Ph.D. program qualifies for high-level scientific activities at universities as well as national and international scientific and research centres. It also qualifies for leading positions in administrations, research institutions and enterprises in the fields of nature conservation, environmental protection, agricultural and forest sciences; in museums and collections related to biology or natural history; in botanic and zoological gardens; and in national and international organisations of nature conservation and environmental protection.

In each year, the students attend one interdisciplinary seminar in English and, in addition, at least one further interdisciplinary or subject-specific course. The subject of the Ph.D. thesis and the study units can be chosen from the following institutions and research fields:

Faculty of Biology:
Animal Ecology
Biology of Nature Conservation
Didactics of Biology
Environmental History
Morphology and Evolution
Plant Ecology
Sytematic Botany
Sytematic Zoology
Vegetation Analysis
Faculty of Agriculture Sciences:
Biodiversity Economics
Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology:
Ecological Informatics
Environmental Policy
Forest Ecology
Soil Science
Stress Physiology of Woody Species
Wood Science
Faculty of Geosciences and Geography:
Landscape Ecology
Marine Biodiversity
German Primate Centre:
Primate Ecology
Faculty of Law:
Environmental Law