FAQ Admission Mind & Brain  

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

Please note:

On this page we advise exclusively on doctorates conducted through the structured doctoral program of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain (M&B), an institution of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

If this 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 intenships 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? 
Answer: You 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/.

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 might 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: 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: How much are the fees?
Answer: There are no tuition fees, only administrative fees: www.mind-and-brain.de/doctoral-program/fees/

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's 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 you are already half-way through your PhD, transferring into our program will not make much sense. It would be make more sense for you to find a faculty member as a supervisor for an individaully-conducted doctorate, independent of our structured program.

Question: Will I be able to work as a psychotherapist after completing the Berlin School of Mind and Brain program?
Answer: No. The psychotherapy training is a separate, highly regulated training 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. If you want to be sure not to miss the next call, please subscribe to our mailing list: 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 at various locations all over Berlin and beyond and do not come to the school 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 relevant ones 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 and that in any case 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 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: I cannot upload my 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.

Question: 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: 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 2018/12/05 and 2019/01/15
Answer: The online application tool is not yet open for 2020. It will be activated during the first week of December 2019. Please try again.

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: 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: Yes. But at this stage in the application process, you do not need to provide anything other but your preference for a supervisor.

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, the will be an overall assessment of your academic suitability for the program during the interview.


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

Question: Once I am accepted, will I get funding for my studies?
Answer: We have a number of scholarships for the best applicants, and we will support supervisors and 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 scholarships during the application process. You should be able to get help at your present institution or from the many funding organizations providing scholarships. However, our website provides some guidance: http://www.mind-and-brain.de/doctoral-program/funding/

Question: I have studied the DAAD 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 scholarships and residency in Germany 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/
In order to know for sure, please contact your local DAAD office.

Question: Regarding the Mind and Brain scholarships: Is there a separate procedure or guidelines to follow?
Answer: No. The Mind and Brain scholarships will be offered to the best applicants of each year. The scholarshi ranking will be decided by the admission committee.

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: 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.

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 subject line. We will be happy to help and reply individually as soon as possible.

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

This page last updated on: 15 November 2019