List of Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I would like to have some more information on your PhD program. I expect to finish the degree in June, so I would like to know if I can send my application now and weather or not I am an eligible student for your program.
A: Please understand that we can't come up with a statement as long as we did not see your complete application material. University degrees from foreign Universities may differ significantly so that we need as much as available details to find out whether your degree is equivalent to a M.Sc. with a master thesis by research.
Q: Is it that an applicant has to take care of the matriculation/enrolment with LMU along with the application process? Or is it a formality to be fulfilled after the admission would be granted?
A: No, we will get your material checked by the Ludwig-Maximilans University of Munich to see whether your degree is equivalent to a M.Sc. with Master Thesis. If you will be granted a PhD support, it will be preliminary as long as we have not received a copy of your final M.Sc. transcript AND a copy of your Master Thesis AND the University has approved it so that you are allowed to enrol for the PhD program. Note that a M.Sc. needs to have an excellent grade to get accepted by the University to get into the PhD program. The Master Thesis should have been done by research and should have taken about a year time.
Q: I shall be starting my Masters Thesis in January 2017 and I plan to finish it by July 2017 at the maximum. However, I have already completed all of the compulsory academic courses and I can provide you with the official transcript as well. But my Masters degree, along with the Thesis will be fully completed by July 2017 only. So would this effect the PhD application process?
A: No, simply mention this in your application material and include all transcripts and certificates which explore the state and level of your education. It would be of advantage to give a one page summary of the master thesis project.
Q: I will not need a PhD grant and want to participate in the IMPRS on own funds. Will that be possible?
A: If you come on own funds please mention this clearly in your application material. It then will be much easier to be accepted. Otherwise, only the best students will be successful and will receive a PhD grant.
Q: It will not be possible to do the TOEFL/IELTS test in time so that the results will be available at the time of the due date. Is that a problem?
A: You can apply without the TOEFL/IELTS and submit the test scores as soon as you have passed the test. In the case you would be accepted for a fellowship your acceptance might be pending until you have passed and submitted the TOEFL/ IELTS results which have to meet the IMPRS requirements.
Q: I submitted my application material on Nov. 14 only, so that most likely it will not arrive on Nov. 15. Does that cause my application material to be rejected?
A: The due date for applications is indeed Nov. 15. However, we will consider all applications which we receive if we are informed on late applications in advance, though early application is strongly encouraged and of your favor as the evaluation process will start after Nov. 15. based on the applications and documents we received by then.
Q: What is the difference between the questions "course work" and "summary of your education" in the application form. To me it seems that both section ask for the same information.
A: In section "course work" we request detailed information on all university courses and exams you have taken part in, as well as what grades you obtained in this courses and exams. In section "summary of your education" we ask for a tabulated summary of your complete education which includes e.g. College, University, Summer Schools and other activities which might be relevant for your application.
Q: What is the Institution and Department Code of the IMPRS on Astrophysics, required to for the TOEFL score report ?
A: For TOEFL, the Institution and Department Code is 8223. For the IELTS test you don't need this code. Simply give them our post address and they will send your test scores to us by mail. This address is: IMPRS on Astrophysics at the University of Munich, Admission Office, PO BOX 1312, Giessenbachstr. 1, 85741 Garching, Germany.
Q: I have a degree in physics (equivalent to B.Sc). Do I need to apply first for a master to the LMU and then for the PhD after I have received the master or is it sufficient to submit an application for the Ph.D. only ?
A: To be accepted for graduate studies at the IMPRS as a student with a bachelor degree you have to fulfill two requirements. The first one is the successful conclusion of an oral physics exam which corresponds in level to the German master in physics (this exam can be done in English). The second one is the completion of a master thesis which corresponds to about a one year research project.
As described on our website, we can provide a B.Sc. fellowship for a duration of 1 1/2 year. During that time you should prepare yourself for the physics exam (e.g. in attending Physics courses at the LMU) and, after the exam has successfully passed, write a diploma thesis. Please note that at the LMU only some lectures are presented in English although the exam and the diploma thesis can be done in English. Lectures at the IMPRS are all in English but they are all advanced courses expected to be visited during your Ph.D. time.
The preparation of the master thesis usually needs about 1 year. In many cases, however, it will be possible to align the topic of the master thesis with the topic of your PhD. thesis so that this research project can be seen as an introduction for your PhD. thesis. Please note that you will be accepted for a PhD position only if the grades archived in your master examination are superior.
So entering IMPRS at the B.Sc level requires about 1 1/2 year to reach the M.Sc. level and about 3 years for the PhD.
It might be worth to check if it is easier for you to finish your study in your home country first and than to apply to the IMPRS with a M.Sc. (or equivalent). It is also possible (though we handle it as an exception) to participate in the IMPRS program in doing your thesis work at IMPRS in Munich but submitting the thesis at the university in your home country. This needs a supervisor on both sites (your university and the LMU) and is best done if there are already collaborations established between scientists at your university and the participating institutes in Munich.
Q: I'll finish the university next year June/July but the application due date to the IMPRS is Nov 15. Is it sufficient to include preliminary academic certificates and grades in the application.
A: In such cases we will try to rank your application based on what you provide us. However, the acceptance will be preliminary until you have provided us the final academic certificates as soon as they become available to you, but in any case before August. A final decision on your acceptance can only be made based on your final documents.
Q: I should be glad to take a part in IMPRS, but I have large trouble: is it possible to send the results of the TOEFL test after the application due date? I can't make it in time due to a flagrant financial situation. I will make TOEFL in April-May next year. All of the other required documents will be submitted in time.
A: As all courses at the IMPRS are in English we ask applicants whose native language is not English to provide us with a certificate of their English proficiency to make sure that their successful participation is not hampered by an insufficient knowledge of the English language. Standard for this are certificates of the TOEFL or the IELTS test. I understand that the TOEFL test is expensive for you. You may consider the IELTS test as an alternative which I believe is less expensive. If you can not manage that as well please contact us. In any case, your application will be ranked according to the material which is available to us during the review of applications. If you really cannot manage to provide us the certificate you should make clear your situation to the committee (e.g. in an accompanying letter) and may consider to provide us with equivalent information to prove your English proficiency.
Q: I have no funds to make the TOEFL or the IELTS test. Can I apply without this test. You can check my English proficiency for example in an interview.
A: We have received many requests like this and we understand your situation. However, it is important to note that with an incomplete application (like a missing TOEFL or IELTS test) your application may not be considered by the committee. This tests are standard and we need a certificate of your English proficiency to make sure that your successful participation is not hampered by an insufficient knowledge of the English language. To test your English proficiency in an interview is also not practicable as the interview will be the final step in the selection process of applications. In a first step a short list will be produced and with incomplete application material you may risk not to make it to this short list.