Frequently Asked Questions
Candidate for a doctorate at an accredited university financed in part or in whole by the MPIWG. These scholars carry minor responsibilities (no more than 10 per cent of their time) within their research unit.
Early career scholar who is ordinarily no more than five years past the granting of the doctorate and who is financed in part or in whole by the MPIWG. These scholars carry minor responsibilities (no more than 10 per cent of their time) within their research unit.
Early career scholar who has ordinarily already had at least one postdoctoral fellowship or equivalent academic experience. This is the equivalent of an entry-level academic position (e.g., assistant professor in North America, Lecturer in the United Kingdom, Maître de conférences in France). These scholars carry considerable responsibilities (no more than 30 per cent of their time) within their research unit.
Visiting Predoctoral Fellow
Candidate for a doctorate at an accredited university who is externally financed by the home university or other fellowship.
Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow
Early career scholar who is ordinarily no more than five years past the granting of the doctorate and who is either externally financed or receives a Fellowship rather than a contract from the MPIWG.
Established scholar as evidenced by significant publications and broad academic experience spending a fixed term as guests at the MPIWG for research purposes. These may be externally funded or receive a Research Fellowship from the MPIWG.
In conjunction with ongoing research (such as Working Groups), a small number of Visiting Scholars are invited to the MPIWG for stays ranging from several weeks to several months. In addition, scholars whose work is directly relevant to these research projects and who are supported by external funds may also apply to spend time working with one of the Institute's research units.
The number of such places for external applicants is extremely limited; they are awarded on the basis of the qualifications of the applicant and the fit of the proposed research to ongoing projects. Both junior (Predoctoral Fellows, Postdoctoral Fellows) and senior scholars may apply. Such applications should include:
- formal letter of application, stating dates of desired stay and source of funding;
- a curriculum vitae, including publication list;
- a brief research proposal (maximum 1000 words) in which the relationship to an ongoing Institute project is made clear.
Predoctoral students are also requested to submit a letter from their dissertation advisor. Decisions will be made twice per year on the basis of the applications received before the previous deadline.
Applications should be sent by January 1, or June 1 every year, to the office of the Department or Research Group that you wish to apply for (or, for unsolicited applications to Department III, at this portal). Applications to other email addresses might not be handled in a timely fashion.
- On details, please consult the advertisement.
- For most advertisements, we ask you to use our online application portal. You will find the link in the advert. Application documents submitted any other way will not be considered, and may be sent back to you by post. The exception is advertisements that specifically ask for applications to be submitted by email.
- We also accept a small number of unsolicited applications. More information can be found in the "Unsolicited Applications" FAQ.
Starting a postdoctoral appointment or fellowship is conditional on your already having defended your doctoral dissertation. However, you do not need to have finished your doctorate when you apply; you can send in your PhD certificate later on. You must, however, be able to show that your doctorate is at a sufficiently advanced stage. Include with your other application documents a letter from your university or—preferably—your advisor confirming that your PhD is close to completion. Please also mention in your cover letter the fact that you have not yet defended your PhD.
Your application may be submitted in either German or English. If we also accept applications in other languages, this will be mentioned in the advertisement.
- For all areas of work at the MPIWG, we require good or excellent knowledge of English.
- Scholars are expected to be able to present their work in English and discuss other people’s work in English.
- The main language of administration at the MPIWG is German. We support our employees in finding and funding a German language course if relevant.
- If other languages are required for the specific tasks involved, this will be mentioned in the advertisement.
Yes. This will not work in your disfavor.
- The time it takes to process applications varies widely, based on a range of factors such as the number of applications, the time required to request references, or the availability of the selection committee members.
- In general, we do not send out any interim communications. Please do not contact us with inquiries about the progress of your application.
- Unless otherwise specified in the advertisement, unsuccessful candidates will be informed in writing.
The personal data you enter into our application system will be stored and processed exclusively within the Max Planck Institute for the purposes of the application and recruitment process.
Fields marked with an * are mandatory fields that are required for the application process. Fields not marked with an * are fields which you can complete voluntarily. By completing the voluntary fields, you grant us your permission to store and process these data exclusively internally for the purposes of the application and recruitment process.
Your data will be stored for up to six months counting from the end of the recruitment process or, in the case of an unsolicited application, until six months after the end of the exploratory process or, as the case may be, the appointment process.
Your data will be transmitted via a connection with state-of-the-art encryption.
For any queries regarding data protection, please contact the Max Planck Society’s Data Protection Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel.: +49 89 2108 1554.
- The link given in the advertisement takes you directly to the relevant site. Before you start, please check one more time that the box shows the job you wish to apply for.
- You can choose whether to use the portal in German or English.
- The portal takes you through the required information and documents step by step.
- There is a separate upload opportunity for each document. The option “Other documents” enables you to upload items that either were not explicitly requested or do not fit into the other categories.
- Please note that you cannot save your application as you go along. If you interrupt the application process, you will have to start again from the beginning.
- You will receive an automatic confirmation of receipt within 24 hours of submitting your application. In most cases, you will receive the confirmation within a minute. However, if you have any queries, please wait for at least one hour after submission.
- If the advertisement requires letters of reference, during the application process you will be asked to enter the name, academic title, institution, and email address of your potential reference writers.
- At the MPIWG, there are two scenarios:
- A (standard): Email requests for references are only sent out if the candidate has been shortlisted.
- B (special case, noted in the advertisement): Email requests for references are automatically sent out when your application is submitted through the portal.
- The email sent to your reference writers will include your application documents, a deadline, and instructions on how to upload the reference.
- In the case of scholars, we are looking for an assessment of your way of working, along with an evaluation of your research and its originality.
- For non-research posts, your last employer (from employment, an internship, or training) may be a good person to give you a reference.
- As a matter of principle, it is up to you to decide whom to name.
- Please ensure that the people you name have specifically agreed to give you a written reference.
- If the advertisement requests a cover letter (personal statement), you should include one. In that case, the portal will offer an upload option for this document.
- If the advertisement does not directly request a cover letter, you can still choose to submit one. It may be a good idea to include a letter of this kind if, for example, you wish to explain a change of career path or lengthy gaps in employment, or to give us any other information that might be relevant to your application.
If a word limit is given, it generally does not include footnotes and bibliographies. If a page limit is given instead, again this does not include bibliographies.