Berlin School of Mind and Brain – Doctoral Degree Program

The Berlin School of Mind and Brain is an international and interdisciplinary graduate research school that offers a three-year doctoral degree program in English. The School was established in 2006 as part of Germany’s Excellence Initiative for German universities. It is the Berlin School of Mind and Brain’s mission to train outstanding young scientists to become experts in one of the relevant fields, and to give them the ability, and the opportunity, to cooperate with researchers from other disciplines.
Doctoral candidates are admitted by a four-step process that identifies the 10–15 best applicants. They are selected in a highly competitive and internationally open admission procedure.

Based at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, our main partner institutions in research, education and training are the Charité Medical School and the universities in Berlin and Potsdam, Magdeburg and Leipzig as well as the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, and Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences.

Application Deadlines
15 January: General application deadline for all students (with and without funding)
15 July: Additional application deadline for students with secured funding (scholarship)

Research within the School concentrates on six paradigmatic topics each of which connects brain- and mind-related research:

  • o perception, attention, and consciousness
  • o decision-making
  • o language
  • o brain plasticity and lifespan ontogeny
  • o brain disorders and mental dysfunction
  • o human sociality and the brain

Research is strongly embedded in the basic and clinical research conducted within the region allowing for synergistic research initiatives and opportunities.
The School has a faculty comprised of nearly 60 distinguished researchers, including five Max Planck directors, four Leibniz Prize winners, several ERC advanced grant recipients, and the Einstein Visiting Fellow. Together with the associated research groups they cover the most relevant research areas in the mind and the brain sciences.

Eight good reasons to choose the Berlin School of Mind and Brain:

  • o You become part of a structured program that offers ample opportunities in research, education and training in one of Europe’s largest mind and brain research communities
  • o You are assigned at least two professorial thesis advisors – usually one from the brain sciences, one from the mind sciences, in order to ensure the interdisciplinary impact and support for your work
  • o You regularly meet with leading international researchers through the School’s own scientific meetings and international lecture series
  • o You are provided with substantial financial assistance to attend national and international conferences
  • o You arrange your own journal and methods clubs and participate in academic retreats
  • o You attend a series of tailor-made courses on subjects relevant for interdisciplinary mind and brain research, and you have access to specialized scientific soft- and hard-skill courses, a mentoring program, career development, and coaching
  • o No tuition fees associated with the program
  • o The best applicants will be granted a scholarship by the School


Partnerships with several international universities are maintained for research and training exchange, joint conferences, and lab rotations:

  • o University of Aarhus, Denmark
  • o Bar-Ilan University, Israel
  • o King’s College London, UK
  • o University College London, UK
  • o Duke University, USA
  • o George Mason University, USA


Further Information
For further information please visit our website or contact mb-admission(at)