Students will be admitted by the school’s Scientific Council on the basis of a competitive, internationally open application procedure that starts with an online application. Please read the instructions below and the FAQ section (internal link) carefully before you start with the online application process.

Please note:
The central requirement for admittance to the school is the proposal for a doctoral project developed by you, the applicant, yourself (see point 1).

Documents and certificate to be supplied with the online application

(1) Research proposal (5 pages including bibliography and references)

(a) The central requirement for admittance to the school is your proposal for a doctoral project developed by yourself. All research proposals must have clear mind–brain relevance. Typical projects will investigate research questions that are of relevance to mind and brain research and to more than one discipline. Please look up the school’s overarching six research topics – they pay tribute to that approach.

(b) A project proposal must contain a detailed project idea, including:

  •     Summary of previous research
  •     Justification for relevance of project and research methodology
  •     Summary of the hypotheses and research questions to be addressed
  •     Relevant bibliography (list of publications relevant to the subject)
  •     Clear exposition of ideas

(c) All proposals will be reviewed by several faculty members some of whom may not be specialists in your field. Therefore, your research proposal should be accessible also to non-specialist reviewers.

(d) Successful project proposals will draw on findings from both mind and brain research. Results from both fields should play an essential role in achieving the objectives described in the research proposal. This means: “Brain”-related research should also cover mental phenomena, and “Mind”-related projects should incorporate findings from brain research. This requires sufficient grounding in the complementary field, but formal training or a degree in the complementary field is not mandatory.

(e) Please read this advice from our faculty for successful proposals: download pdf 50 kb

(f) Formal requirements for proposals:

  •     Max. five pages. Please note: Excess text will be blacked out!
  •     Single spaced
  •     Font: Times New Roman
  •     Size: 12 point
  •     Margins: on all sides at least 2 cm
  •     File format: PDF (do not password-protect or lock your file!)

(2) Letter of motivation (1 page)

Your letter of motivation is another important part of the application. It should be clear, concise, well crafted, and written in English. 1 page, in Times New Roman font, size 12 point, single spacing. Please also describe your previous experience of inter- or transdisciplinary work at the interface of mind and brain research. Please present and discuss your academic and career objectives. Be as specific as you can about your particular academic interests as well as your previous experience of transdisciplinary work at the interface of mind and brain sciences. Beyond what is apparent from your transcripts, describe your preparation for the program of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain.

(3) Are you eligible? Academic background

To be able to apply for our doctoral program, you must have completed (or be in the process of completing) a Master’s degree (with thesis, usually two years) in a field related or relevant to mind–brain research. The most promising degrees for a successful application are in philosophy, linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science, neurology, psychiatry, and biology; with mind-brain related projects also in law, economics, or computer science.

(4) Proof of proficiency in English for non-native speakers

Our doctoral program is conducted in English. If you are a non-native English speaker, we require proof of your proficiency. During the online application process, please upload a certificate providing proof of your English knowledge. The minimum demand is B2 which is equivalent to the following test scores:

  •     UNIcert® II Certificate: 3,0
  •     International English Language Testing System (IELTS): 7,0
  •     Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE): B
  •     TOEFL: Internet-based test: 87 - Paper-based test: 560
  •     DAAD Language Certificate: C in all test sections (minimum requirement)

(5) German language skills

Knowledge of German is not a prerequisite for doctoral studies at the school. However, during the online application, we would like to know your proficiency (if any) in the German language.

(6) Your education history

We will ask about your education history. Please list your college/university degrees in chronological order and provide your

  • Transcripts of records
  • Certificates/diplomas of studies completed

(7) Research experience

In your CV, please describe your prior research experience (e.g. lab work, use of computer programs) and list your disciplinary background, methodological skills, and research experience as well as research interests. If applicable: List your publications and teaching experience.

(8) Suggestions for supervisors

You will be asked to list suggestions for max. three supervisors at our school. Each doctoral research project must be supervised by two experienced advisors. Usually, one of these advisors will have a “mind” background and the other a “brain” background, but that can vary and depends on the nature of your research project. At least one of the supervisors, preferably both, should be a member of the school’s Faculty. You will find a list of all available faculty members in the application online tool. We recommend that you try to contact your potential supervisors for a personal talk or feedback before handing in the application (though we know that this may not always possible).

(9) Recommendation letters  - change of procedure valid since 2019!

During the online application process you will be asked to enter your referees' names, affiliations and e-mail addresses into the online application tool. Please only enter their data! Please do not ask your referees to send us letters of recommentation at this stage.

Only if you reach the next stage in the admission process will the M&B admission committee ask your referees directly for their letters of recommendation for you.


This page last updated on: 31 August 2019

Admission Officer
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+49 30 2093-89750 (Tue and Fri)