A central part of EC2/BIG-NSE activities is the recruitment of excellent national and international students who meet the highest international standards of qualification. The aim is to recruit about 10 - 15 highly qualified students for UniSysCat(through EC2/BIG-NSE) per year (half of them "scholarship holders," the other half "fellows," see details here).


A master's degree in an appropriate discipline is required for admission into the PhD program. If you are not sure if your master's degree is equivalent to a German one (basically five years of studies, including a written thesis at the end), please ask Peter Marock, from the Recognition Office of TU Berlin.


In order to meet the high quality standards required for cutting-edge science and to allow for the fast and transparent selection of the candidates, particular care is taken in the recruitment process, which is divided into

an application phase,

the assessment of the application,

and the final decision and offer.


    EC2/BIG-NSE only accepts applications once a year (autumn) and the available positions are advertised in newspapers and journals, at collaborating international institutes, and on the internet.

    Usually, the application have to be completed online, including additional material (diplomas and corresponding transcripts/records, proof of proficiency in the English language, and reference letters). This year, due to a last minute update of the server operating system, applications will exceptionally have to be sent per email: See details here. The decision on the acceptance of applications is usually made within two months of the deadline.

    A careful selection process is carried out to ensure the highest quality and suitability of the prospective candidates.

    An initial assessment of the applications is performed by a formal screening of the applications according to the grades of the degrees, reputation of the school, age of the applicant, publications, awards, motivation, non-scientific interests, letters of recommendation and a language proficiency test for applicants whose native language is neither English nor German (TOEFL with a minimum of 550 or equivalent). On the basis of these criteria, a short-list of candidates is created by the managing director of EC2/BIG-NSE and presented to the other members of the Recruitment Committee of EC2/BIG-NSE.


    Candidates on the short list are subject to more extensive screening, which may be carried out in collaboration with the DAAD, Goethe Institutes, embassies and consulates, or scientific contacts. On this basis, candidates are selected for individual scientific presentations and personal interviews in Berlin, In some cases, the interviews may also take place abroad, e.g. in China or India, provided that a sufficient number of potential excellent candidates can be pooled.


    Altogether, our PhD program only accept the best applicants (e.g. the top 10%) who have received a final grade for the qualifying degree (master's or diplom) equivalent to the grade “excellent” or “very good” in the traditional German educational system (1.0–1.4). Selection procedures are based on best-practice experiences in the respective disciplines. 

    Candidates for batch WS14

    Candidates for batch WS15

    Candidates for batch WS16

    Candidates for batch WS17