Program - Max Planck School of Cognition
The Max Planck School of Cognition offers an international four-year PhD program starting with a one-year orientation period followed by three years of research for the doctorate. Students can enter with a Bachelor’s (fast-track) or a Master’s degree.
Table 1: Overview of the four years PhD program at the Max Planck School of Cognition.
During the first year (so-called orientation period), there is an emphasis on teaching and prolonged laboratory rotations, of 3–6 months duration each, in at least two different labs of fellows of the Max Planck School of Cognition. A major feature of the orientation period is that students can acquire interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary perspectives on a common research theme (e.g., by combining artificial intelligence and cognitive neuroscience or psychology and basic anatomy).
- Laboratory rotations
Lab rotations will allow first-year students to explore several potential groups (Figure 1). This will help define their research interests and aid in choosing the laboratory where they would like to develop their PhD research.
Students will take basic courses consisting of two main sections each:
1. E-learning during which the essentials are covered (see Table 2), and
2. Classroom weeks so-called cognition 'academies' in which all students will come together: a) one at the beginning of the academic year on introduction to the Max Planck School of Cognition; b) the second and third 'academies' will consist of three teaching weeks on basic courses.
The first year will end with an evaluation of the students, before one can advance to the 'research-phase' (i.e., second to fourth years). Only after a successful evaluation will students identify faculty members for their supervisory team.
Basic Courses Cognitive Neuroscience Functional Neuroanatomy & Neurophysiology Artificial Intelligence & Intelligent Systems Philosophy of Mind, Ethics Methods in Cognitive (Neuro-)Sciences Experimental Design & Statistics Basics in Molecular Neurobiology and Genetics Clinical Neuroscience
Table 2: Basic courses during the first year (orientation period)
Second and Third Year
- PhD research work
At the beginning of the second year students will work together with their supervisor to develop a feasible and
relevant project proposal, to be presented to a thesis advisory committee. After its approval, students can start
Students will attend two ‘academies’ per year (four total in the second and third years), each of which lasts two weeks. Each academy involves one week of courses on advanced topics and one week of student, faculty and guest speaker presentations on their research topics.
- PhD research work
Students are expected to finalize their dissertation by the end of the fourth year.
Students will have one cognition ‘academy’ involving only presentations by the faculty, students, and guest speakers
on their research topics.
PhD degrees will be awarded by the university to which the supervisor of the respective student is affiliated.