3. Documentation

FAQ 3.1 What information must be included in my curriculum vitae (CV)?
Please list all levels of your education in reverse chronological order (most recent first). The CV must contain a clear statement about your current status concerning occupation including information on current employment, unemployment, or parental leave. List also publications, prizes, scholarships social, cultural or sportive activities. Your CV should be a maximum of two pages in length.

FAQ 3.2 What is a "school leaving certificate"?
This is the official certificate you receive when completing the level of school which qualifies you for admission to a university or another higher academic institution. This will depend on where you studied (e.g. the Abitur in Germany, International Baccalaureate, a high school diploma in the US, or the A-Levels of a British Grammar School). Foreign certificates must be in English / German (only sworn translations are accepted).

FAQ 3.3 Do I need to upload transcripts from my bachelor and/or master studies?
Yes. Please upload official transcripts (in English or German) from all your degree-level studies.

FAQ 3.4 Whom should I approach to provide a reference?
The reference questionnaire send by us via email should ideally be filled by scientific/academic supervisors who have worked closely with the candidate and are able to directly comment on the candidate's skills relevant to the MPS Cog program (such as the candidate's merits, work ethic, scientific and leadership skills). A good reference should provide detailed knowledge about the candidate's ability and character, and thus should be filled out by a referee who has supervised the candidate for at least 6 months -- not, for example, just a senior academic whose name sounds impressive but does not know the candidate well enough personally and professionally.

FAQ 3.5 My previous intitution does not provide official transcripts in English / German. What now?
Foreign transcripts must be in English or German. You will need to obtain a certified English / German translation of the document(s). Transcripts must be complete and word-by-word translation of the original document. Please upload your transcripts with their accompanying certified translations (when applicable).

FAQ 3.6 How should I provide my Letters of Recommendation?
You will need to provide the email addresses of at least two different referees (academic sources, a third referee is possible in the system but completely optional) in the application portal. Please also indicate your relationship to each of them. We will send your referees a notification email with a link to the template of the letter that the school requires. The referees are required to fill in the template and submit it before the end of the application call (i.e. latest till 1st December each year). Please, make sure you obtain permission from the referees that you can nominate them, preferably beforehand, and inform them of the school’s deadline.
Note: at least one referee must NOT be a member of the Max Planck Society.

FAQ 3.7 What if one of my references does not provide a letter before the deadline?
Your application will be considered incomplete and therefore not qualify for the application phase. We strongly recommend to check in with your referees until completed.

FAQ 3.8 How many potential supervisors from the school should I mention in the application?
You should identify three potential supervisors from the faculty of the Max Planck School of Cognition (we strongly advice against contacting them ahead of admission). The full list can be found here.

FAQ 3.9 Will I have to do my doctoral studies with the supervisor(s) I suggested in my application?
Candidates will approach the fellows during their orientation year to establish supervision agreements. The orientation year is specifically designed to allow candidates to explore the field of cognition, and so, while the supervisors suggested in your application should be thoughtfully considered, it is entirely possible that during the orientation year, your preferred supervisor changes. Please see the Handbook for further information.

FAQ 3.10 I have a specific fellow in mind for supervising my PhD. Is it possible to confirm my supervisor before commencing the programme?
It is not possible to guarantee a supervisor before commencing the programme. The programme allows each fellow to supervise one candidate per cohort, to ensure sufficient supervision is provided. Thus, it is possible that more than one candidate per cohort will request supervision with a particular fellow. This decision will ultimately fall on the fellow as to which student is selected. We ask that candidates enter the programme with an open mind about supervision. Further information regarding the selection process can be found in the Handbook (see section 2.3.8 in particular).

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