FAQ Admission Mind & Brain  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) re. Application and Admission to M&B


On this FAQ page we post answers your questions about doctorates conducted through the structured doctoral program of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain (M&B), an institution of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Detailed information on how to apply can be found here: http://www.mind-and-brain.de/doctoral-program/application/

If a doctorate with the Berlin School of Mind and Brain is not what you want, you will find more general information on doctoral studies in Germany as well as on specific doctoral opportunities in Berlin outside the framework of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain in our section Doctoral studies in Germany.

Important for your application:

Below, you will find answers to 95% of all questions we receive. If your question belongs to the 5% which are not covered by our FAQs, please e-mail us on mb-admission-please remove this text-@hu-berlin.de, using as the subject line the code words which are mentioned below in the FAQs. Only e-mails with that subject line will be answered individually.


Question: Do you offer any internships at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain?
Answer: Please refer to the following page on our website: http://www.mind-and-brain.de/overview/internships-and-lab-visits/

Question: Can you advise me on a doctorate at your university?
Answer: If you mean: generally, the answer is No. Please note that we can advise exclusively on doctorates conducted as part of the structured doctoral program of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain (an institute of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin).
If you do not want to conduct your doctorate in our structured program, but perhaps as an individually-conducted doctorate at Humboldt-Universität, or at one of the other Berlin universities, or in a structured program somewhere else in Berlin, read here: http://www.mind-and-brain.de/doctoral-program/doctoral-studies-in-germany/

Question: I am an international student who wants to apply for a doctoral program in LINGUISTICS [[this is an example, replace with e.g. PSYCHOLOGY, DENTISTRY, PHARMACOLOGY, COMPUTER ENGINEERING, BIOLOGY, etc.]] in your university. I have a BA degree in XX study and will finish my MA/MSc program in September. My MA program is a one-year program in LINGUISTICS [[e.g.]] in England. Am I qualified to apply for the doctoral program in your university, since my BA degree is not for LINGUISTICS [[etc., see above]] and my MA degree is a one-year program? May I have more information about applying for the doctoral program in your university? 
Answers: Your question contains several aspects at once.
     Answer (1): Are you asking about obtaining a doctorate in LINGUISTICS at our university, but not with the Berlin School of Mind and Brain? If yes, ask the Humboldt university's faculty responsible for LINGUISTICS. Link: http://www.mind-and-brain.de/doctoral-program/doctoral-studies-in-germany/
     Answer (2): Or are you interested in obtaining a doctorate at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain within our research area Language and the Brain/Linguistics? Then your suitability and acceptance will predominantly depend on the quality of your own research proposal (can you show that you have a suitable [suitable to your proposed project] academic background and/or what it takes methodologically to conduct the doctoral research you are interested in?) and the relevant supervisors at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain (do they think that you can do it?) and the university faculty (will they, with recommendations from your supervisors, accept you as a doctoral candidate into their faculty, even if with an additional exam?). 
     Therefore, before applying with an unusual background, we recommend that you contact members of the school’s faculty for the field you are interested in directly (though getting responses may be very difficult owing to the high number of requests) in order to inquire about the possibility of supervision and to get feedback on your proposal: http://www.mind-and-brain.de/people/faculty/.
     Or enquire with the respective department or faculty [e.g. LINGUISTICS] at your preferred university and find out about their regulations. Ultimately, all students within our program, though they will receive their education and supervision through our school, will receive their doctorates (doctoral title) from one of the participating faculties (see also Doctoral degree).

Question: I am writing to enquire about my application for a DAAD scholarship from the DAAD Center in my home country for the Doctoral Programme of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. I have been in contact with the DAAD Centre in my home country and I was told I need to prove a prior contact with and/or acceptance from the universities I have chosen to study at in Germany. Can I get such a letter from you?
Answer: No, not for our program. We are unable to send out preliminary acceptance letters. To get an acceptance letter from the Berlin School of Mind and Brain you will have to have gone successfully through the entire application and admission process,


Question: Can I apply through the year?
Answer: No, the online application tool opens each year on 1 December and remains open until 15 January 23:59:59 hrs CET.

Question: Is it a full-time program?
Answer: Yes, it is a full-time program, and it requires students' presence. However, the school and supervisors may agree to part-time work on the doctorate in order to accommodate equal opportunity considerations such as family responsibilities or dealing with serious health issues.

Question: I live abroad. Is there a way that I could study from here and travel to Berlin regularly to meet professors?
Answer: No, this will not be possible. This is a full-time program based in Berlin.

Question: Can I apply to the school even if I have already secured a position with a supervisor?
Answer: Yes, you can apply with funding already secured through a research position with a supervisor or a stipend. However, for your application with us you will still have to develop and defend a research proposal. This may be more difficult to achieve if you applied for a position for which the research proposal was written and your project carved out by other people, i.e. your supervisor and her/his group. In your proposal you will at least have to show your individual contribution to the (future) development of the project. Read more here

Question: How much are the fees?
Answer: There are no tuition fees, only the university's administrative fees. Read more here

Question: How many people apply and how many get accepted?
Answer: We accept around 10% of all valid applications.

Question: I am very interested in pursuing my PhD at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. I am currently doing my PhD at a different university but would like to transfer.
Answer: That may be possible, but first you will have to apply as a regular candidate, using our online tool, and get accepted into the program. If by the time of application or acceptance you are already half-way through your doctorate elsewhere, transferring into our program (taking into consideration the teaching weeks and extra courses you will have to attend) will not make much sense. It would perhaps be make more sense for you to find a faculty member as a supervisor for an individually-conducted doctorate at one of our participating universities, independent of any structured program.

Question: Will I be able to work as a psychotherapist after completing the Berlin School of Mind and Brain program?
Answer: No. In Germany, the psychotherapy training is a separate, highly regulated program. Our graduate school does not offer it.

Question: I missed the deadline for this year’s call for applications. What can I do?
Answer: Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do. Please apply next year. The online application tool will re-open on 1 December. If you want to be sure not to miss the next call, please check our website, connect to our Facebook site, or subscribe to our mailing list (you can unsubscribe yourself at any time): mind.brain.verteiler-subscribe-please remove this text-@lists.hu-berlin.de

Question: I am in town for a few days. Would it be possible to meet with faculty members / potential supervisors?
Answer: Please contact the faculty member in question directly: http://www.mind-and-brain.de/people/faculty/. We do not dispose over their agendas. Also, faculty members have their offices and labs at locations all over Berlin or in Leipzig, Magdeburg, Potsdam and do not come to the school's premises on an everyday basis.

Question: I have a question concerning visa regulations.
Answer: Please contact the visa authorities / embassies / consulates directly.


See also: http://www.mind-and-brain.de/doctoral-program/application/requirements/

Question: What do I have to do to apply?
Answer: You will find comprehensive information on our doctoral program, the application requirements, and the admission procedure on our website:

Question: What kind of degree must I have to apply?
Answer: In order to be considered as an applicant for the school, students must apply with a project proposal for a mind-brain project and have completed (or be in the process of completing) a Master’s degree in a field relevant for mind–brain research, e.g., psychology, neuroscience, cognition studies, philosophy, linguistics, biology, medicine.

Question: I have a Master’s degree in a field which is not amongst the relevant fields listed on your webpage [e.g. my degree is in COMPUTER SCIENCE, DENTISTRY, YOGA STUDIES, SCIENCE TEACHING ...]. Can I still apply?
Answer: The fields listed on our webpage are the most common (and perhaps relevant) fields for the Berlin School of Mind and Brain’s research topics. Most of our applicants have a background in one of these fields. You should be aware that you will have to compete with them, considering additionally that only around 10% of all valid applications will be successful.
If, however, you still think that despite your more unusual academic background you do fulfill the requirements (i.e., that you have a high-quality research proposal for a doctoral project and are able show that you have what it takes to conduct the research), then your application is welcomed.

Question: How do I apply?
Answer: Applications must be submitted through the online application tool. Please do not send any documents by email or post unless we specifically ask you to: http://www.mind-and-brain.de/doctoral-program/application/online-application/

Question: I have a BA degree and will finish my MA program in September. My MA program is a one-year program in England. Am I qualified to apply for doctoral studies in your program?
Answer: The formal requirements for admission are: MA/MSc 120 ECTS (usually 90 ECTS for the coursework and 30 ECTS for the Master’s thesis and defense). We accept applications from applicants who have 300 ECTS in total from their BA/BSc and MSc/MA, irrespective of the exact distribution of the ECTS between these degrees. E.g., if you have acquired 200 ECTS in your BA/BSc and 100 in your MA/MSc, you will be fine.

Question: I hold a Bachelor’s degree. Would I be eligible to apply for the doctoral program, or do I need to complete a Master’s degree before applying?
Answer: You are required to hold a Master’s degree or be in the process of obtaining one in order to apply.
The school also offers a Master’s program: http://www.mind-and-brain.de/master/

Question: What is the “doctoral proposal”? What should it say?
Answer: Your proposal for an original doctoral project is the central building block of your application to the school. From the proposals the admission committee hopes to glean the level of interest, methodological expertise, academic prowess and intellectual independence of the respective applicant. The proposal should have no more than five pages plus references and must relate to one of the six research areas of the school. All research proposals must have clear mind–brain relevance. You will have to upload your proposal with your online application.

Question: I am part way through my Master’s and will be finishing in summer. Can I apply to the school already, or will I have to wait until I have completed my Master’s degree?
Answer: We accept applications from people who are still finishing their Master’s degree. However, the graduation certificate must have been issued by the time our program starts (usually 1 October).

Question: Is it necessary to get an authentication (a.k.a. certified copy) for all translated documents or just for diplomas?
Answer: For the written application you need to get a certified/authenticated translated document for the diplomas. Should you be accepted into the school, the university may require additional documents, and may also ask for the originals, but for the time being originals are not necessary.

Question: What is a certified copy and where can I get my documents certified?
Answer: If certified copies (official certifications) are requested at some point by the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, on no account may simple Xerox copies be provided. Please read the information about official certifications and who is allowed to carry out official certifications: https://www.uni-assist.de/en/how-to-apply/assemble-your-documents/certified-copies-and-translations/#c2785. Documents which are not written in German or English may be certified in the relevant consulates located in Germany (e.g. Polish documents in the Polish consulate).

Question: Who is permitted to translate documents?
Answer: Translations of documents to be provided with you application may be done exclusively by a sworn translator. The applicant’s own translations of official documents are not permitted!. In this database you can look for sworn translators in Germany working in various languages: http://www.gerichtsdolmetscherverzeichnis.de
If applying from abroad, a list of translators recognized in Germany can be obtained from German embassies and diplomatic agencies.

Question: I already have a PhD. May I apply for this doctoral program as well?
Answer: Yes.

Question: I am older than your typical applicant – is that a problem?
Answer: No.

Question: Do you need to see any written work? I don't see it as a requirement.
Answer: If written work is not mentioned in the requirements, then it is not a requirement. But the research proposal (see above) is essential.


Question: Which IELTS test results are required? IELTS Academic or IELTS General?
Answer: IELTS Academic.

Question: I have completed my Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree in an English speaking country, and/or the program was taught in English. Do I still need to provide additional proof of English proficiency, or will the transcripts suffice?
Answer: The transcripts for your degree will suffice if they state clearly that the entire program was conducted in English.

Question: What do I need to hand in in order to give proof of German language proficiency?
Answer: Only proof of English language proficiency is needed for your application. Knowledge of German is not a requirement.


Question: Can I apply through the year?
Answer: No, the online application tool opens each year on 1 December and remains open until 15 January 23:59:59 hrs CET.

Question: Do I have to enter three supervisors even though I do not know them? What if I have not been able to talk to them?
Answer: In the online tool, you will be asked to list suggestions for max. three supervisors at our school. You will find a list of all available full faculty members in the dropdown menu of the application online tool. Your choosing a supervisor during the application process is simply an indication for us and it is an optional (= non mandatory) requirement in the application process. Eventually, i.e. once accepted, each doctoral research project must be supervised by two experienced advisors, but these supervisors can be determined and agreed upon during the later stages of the application process. And: if you are thinking of a main supervisor who is not on the drop-down menu list, please list that person's full name in the extra field provided.

Question: I cannot find a place where to upload my letters of recommendation. Where should they send them?
Answer: 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 the data (full name, institution and e-mail address) of your referees. 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 we ask your referees directly for their letters of recommendation for you.

Question: I cannot upload my Master's certificate in the application tool because I do not have it yet. What can I do?
Answer: Please upload a transcript of records (the most up-to-date version possible) from your Master’s program. However, should your application be successful, we can accept you into the school only once we have received your certificate (by 1 October of that year, see above).

Question 1: I am trying to upload my documents for the Berlin School of Mind and Brain, however, I can't access the page, and the login space shows an error: “As the application phase is over, your account has been disabled for login.” What can I do now?
Question 2: I have accessed the link you sent me, however, when I created an account and create a profile, I received the following message: Register and complete data between 2020/12/01 and 2021/01/15
Answer to 1+2: After closing on 15 January 23:59:59 hrs CET, the online application tool re-opens on 1 December and remains open until the next 15 January 23:59:59 hrs CET. Before or after that period the tool will be closed.

Question: Do any copies need to be sent to your school physically by mail services, or does a digital version (through the online application tool) suffice?
Answer: At this stage, we need digital copies only. In the application tool you also have an option for the upload of additional files.


Question: I haven’t succeeded yet in getting in touch with my potential supervisors - do I still have to choose supervisors in my application?
Answer: No, it is not mandatory at this stage. In the online tool you do not need to provide anything other but your preference for a supervisor. And there is also a field for suggestions for non-faculty supervisors.

Question: One of my potential supervisors has confirmed already that they will issue a supervision agreement for me. Will this positively influence my application process?
Answer: No, a supervision agreement (or willingness to engage in supervision) is no guarantee for a successful application. A successful application depends on your academic qualifications and on the assessment of your original research proposal. In addition, there will be an overall assessment of your academic suitability for our program during the interview.


Please read our webpage on Funding: http://www.mind-and-brain.de/doctoral-program/funding/

Question: Regarding the Mind and Brain or the DAAD GSSP scholarships: Is there a separate procedure or guidelines to follow?
Answer: No. The Mind and Brain and the DAAD GSSP scholarships will be offered to the best applicants of each year without a separate application procedure. The scholarship ranking will be decided by the admission committee.

Question: Once I am accepted, will I get funding for my studies?
Answer: We have a number of scholarships for the best applicants (according to the admission committee's ranking), and we will support supervisors and accepted students in securing funding, but funding is not guaranteed by our school. Please read more about funding in the relevant section on our website.

Question: I have questions regarding scholarship applications. Can you help me?
Answer: We cannot answer general questions regarding scholarship applications during the application process. You should be able to get help at your present institution or from the many funding organizations providing scholarships. Our website provides some guidance: http://www.mind-and-brain.de/doctoral-program/funding/

Question: On your website I have studied the (German Academic Exchange Service) DAAD GSSP scholarship requirements and understand that I am not eligible for that scholarship because I have been living in the European Union for some months. Is that true?
Answer: We have tried to give precise information about the DAAD GSSP scholarships and residency regulations in Germany regarding these scholarships on our website. We cannot give any more information beyond what’s written on our website: http://www.mind-and-brain.de/doctoral-program/funding/
If this is not sufficient information, please contact your local DAAD office.

Question: The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), in association with XX program in my country, is providing PhD scholarships for masters to do their PhD in Germany.  I would like to know if this program is related to the Berlin School of Mind and Brain.
Answer: We gladly accept students with their own DAAD funding, but only once the have gone through the entire standard application process and have been accepted into the school. There are no shortcuts for DAAD scholarship holders.

Question: Will I be automatically considered for the Einstein Center for Neurosciences (ECN) when applying to the Berlin School of Mind and Brain?
Answer: No. You need to apply separately: https://www.ecn-berlin.de/education/phd-fellowships.html

Question: Can I fund my doctoral studies privately? I have sufficient personal savings.
Answer: No, we do not admit students into the program without funding from a public funding agency or a university department. It is not a prerequisite for a successful application to our school that applicants have secured funding for their doctorate at the time of the application, but funding will have to be secured by the time that students start on the program. The minimum amount of external funding that we accept as sufficient for your doctoral studies is 1,103 € per month.

Question: My parents are willing to finance my doctoral studies. Does this count as “external funding”?
Answer: No.

Question: I read the FAQs and the webpages carefully, but I have not found the information I was looking for. What can I do?
Answer: Send us an email with “Not in the FAQ nor on the website” in the subject line. We will be happy to help and reply individually as soon as possible.

Question: Can I work in the evenings or on weekends to finance my studies?
Answer: No, the admission committee will not perceive this as an acceptable way to finance the doctoral phase at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain.

Question: Does your institute provide scholarships for the Master’s degree?
Answer: No.

This page last updated on: 16 January 2020