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Genes in Development, Disease and Evolution (Ph.D.)


The doctoral program "Genes in Development, Disease and Evolution" is part of the Göttingen Graduate Center for Neurosciences, Biophysics, and Molecular Biosciences (GGNB).

The program focusses on Genetics and Developmental Biology to better understand developmental, physiological, and evolutionary processes as well as to study the cause, course and treatment of diseases.

Genes in Development, Disease and Evolution
doctoral degree (Dr.rer.nat./Ph.D.)
Graduate school:
Standard period of study:
6 semesters
Start of studies:
summer and winter semester
Language of the programme:
restricted admission (application to GGNB)

Get to know us


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

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

Students get training in the fields of classical developmental biology, developmental genetics, cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, histology, physiology, infection biology, genetic diseases, functional and comparative genomics, genome editing, as well as evolutionary biology. The participating research groups use a wide spectrum of classical model organisms, emerging model organisms, and non-model organisms to study the molecular basis of human diseases, regeneration, as well as evolutionary developmental biology of embryogenesis, brain diversification and sex determination, and use applied developmental biology for insect pest control.

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.


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

GGNB Office
Michaela Wasmuth-Kroker
Justus-von-Liebig Weg 11
37077 Göttingen

Tel.: +49 551 39 26682