Frequently Asked Questions

Application Timeline

What is the timeline for the next admission process?

Can I apply throughout the year?

The general admissions process for the doctoral program takes place once per year. Any other positions will be advertised on our website

Is it a full-time program?

Yes. The program is full-time and requires your presence in Berlin and at SCIoI.

I live abroad. Is there a way that I could study from here and travel to Berlin regularly to meet professors?

No. The program is full-time and requires your presence in Berlin and at SCIoI

I am very interested in your institution. I have attached a CV. Can you put me in contact with potential supervisors?

Please research potential supervisors on: and contact potential supervisors directly, e.g. in order to discuss a research idea.

How much are the fees?

There are no tuition fees, only the university’s administrative fees. Read more here.

How many people apply and how many get accepted?

SCIoI accepts around 7-10% of all valid applications.

I missed the deadline for this year’s call for applications. What can I do?

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do. Please apply next year. The online application tool will re-open in late October. If you want to be sure not to miss the next call, please check our website, connect to our Facebook site, or subscribe to our mailing list (you can unsubscribe yourself at any time).

Application Requirements

What do I have to do to apply?

You will find comprehensive information on our doctoral program and application requirements and on the admission procedure on our website.

What kind of degree must I have to apply?

SCIoI is an interdisciplinary program and our researchers come from many different backgrounds. Therefore, with regards to the academic discipline, requirements for each position will vary. However, you will need to have completed or be in the process of completing your master’s degree or PhD (for postdoc positions).

Will submitting my application early make a difference?

Submitting before the deadline will not enhance your chances, nor will submission very close to the deadline decrease them.

Take your time to proofread all documents and to make sure you have all documents ready for upload. Keep in mind that traffic on the site increases in the last hours before the deadline and that uploads may take longer than usual.

I applied previously, how do I reapply? Do I need to re-submit supporting documents?

Yes. If you apply for a new position, you will need to re-submit all required documents.

This is also the case if you apply for more than one position during the same call.


How do I apply?

Applications must be submitted through the online application tool. Please do not send any documents by email or post unless we specifically ask you to.


I hold a Bachelor’s degree. Would I be eligible to apply for the doctoral program, or do I need to complete a Master’s degree before applying?

In order to be accepted to the program and to enroll as a doctoral student and be hired as a doctoral researcher, you will need to have completed or be in the process of completing your master’s degree or PhD (for postdoc positions).

I am part way through my Master’s and will be finishing in summer. Can I apply to the program already, or will I have to wait until I have completed my Master’s degree?

We accept applications from people who are still finishing their Master’s degree. However, the graduation certificate must have been issued by the agreed starting date.

Is it necessary to get an authentication (a.k.a. certified copy) for all translated documents or just for diplomas?

For the written application, diplomas and transcripts that are not in English or German should be translated. Should you be accepted into the program, the university administration may require additional documents for the enrollment/hiring, and may also ask for the originals and or certified /authenticated copies.


Am I allowed to have a Ph.D supervisor outside of SCIoI?

Doctoral candidates at SCIoI will be supported in their dissertation by three supervisors. One supervisor should be from the synthetic and one from the analytical sciences. One of the supervisors should be external (e.g. not part of the research project).

External supervisors are allowed. Your primary supervisor should be from SCIoI.

I am older than your typical applicant – is that a problem?

No, it isn’t if you started late on your academic career. It may be an issue if your last degree was taken a long time ago, e.g. if you have been away from research for an extended period of time. Please contact the project lead directly for individual recommendation.


May I defer my admission?

Doctoral and postdoctoral positions at SCIoI are fixed-term salaried positions, deferrals are not foreseen.


How long should my statement of purpose be? Is there a word count?

There is no limited word count for the motivation letter/statement of purpose. However, we recommend not exceeding one (1) standard page.


Letters of reference

In your CV or in a separate document, please enter the names, contact details and institutional affiliations of two referees.

Please only enter the required information (full name, institution and e-mail address) for your referees. Please do not ask your referees to send us letters of recommendation at this stage.

Members of the respective admission subcommittee for each position will contact referees directly if necessary.


English Language Requirements

How can I prove sufficient knowledge of English?

The working language at SCIoI is English. If you are a non-native English speaker, we require proof of your proficiency. During the online application process, please upload a certificate providing proof of your English knowledge. The minimum demand is B2 which is equivalent to the following test scores:

UNIcert® II Certificate: 3,0

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic: 7,0 (computer-based tests in a local testing center, paper-based, or taken online)

Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE): B

TOEFL: Internet-based test: 87 – Paper-based test: 560

DAAD Language Certificate: C in all test sections (minimum requirement)

Please note: If you completed your Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree in an English-speaking country, or if your Bachelor’s and/or Master’s program were taught in English, the transcripts for your degree(s) will suffice. However, the transcripts must state clearly that the entire program was conducted in English!

Do you accept old TOEFL/IELTS scores?

Your TOELF or IELTS should not be older than 24 months.

Are GRE scores required?


What is the ETS code for sending TOEFL scores? Or Should I send results the TOEFL results electronically?

Please send electronically as SCIoI does not have an ETS code.

Which IELTS test results are required? IELTS Academic or IELTS General?

For the purpose of this application, we require the IELTS Academic.

Does the IELTS test have to be paper based? I cannot get an appointment.

In the light of recent developments and challenges posed by COVID-19, IELTS has launched IELTS Indicator, an online English language test for students not able to attend an IELTS test center due to the Covid-19 related restrictions. Read more here

I have completed my Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree in an English speaking country, and/or my Bachelor’s and/or Master’s programs were taught in English. Do I still need to provide additional proof of English proficiency, or will my transcripts suffice?

If a significant part or your complete Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree took place in an English speaking country, and/or my Bachelor’s and/or Master’s programs were taught in English, this will suffice as proof of English proficiency.


Do I need to give proof of German-language proficiency?

The working language at SCIoI is English. German skills are not required. We are however happy to indicate offers for German- or other language courses offered by the university.

I am an international student and my GPA is not on the German grading scale, what should I do?

Please contact graduate coordinator at

Online Tool – Softgarden

Is it necessary to select a specific project and target our application towards that project description for the science of intelligence PhD Program?

Yes. Positions vary greatly with regards to research focus and necessary requirements and qualifications.  While it is possible to apply for more than one position, you must direct your application at the position in question.

How do I find out the status of my application?

Please refer to admission timeline on our website. You will be notified by the admissions officer during the process/in due time

I recently I applied for a doctoral position at the Cluster Science of Intelligence and I was wondering if it would be possible to share some information about the selection process timeline?

You can find the timeline for the selection process here

Can I apply for more than one position provided I meet the requirements?

Yes. Multiple applications are possible but require a separate application for each position.

Applying for more than one position will neither increase nor decrease your chances for acceptance.

I have come across your website and found your research to be fascinating. Is there a mailing list / subscription service that I may sign up for via your website?

Yes, Subscribe to our mailing list here.

Is it essential to send hard copies of transcripts of records (for both BSc and MSc) and copies of degree certificates (BSc, MSc) for this application?

No. For the application via our online tool you do not need any hard copies; scanned copies will suffice. Hard copies would become relevant only once you have successfully been accepted for the position in which case you would need to present them for the hiring / enrollment office.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Visa for Germany

What if I have specific questions not covered here?

Please contact graduate coordinator at

I have a question concerning visa regulations.

Please contact the visa authorities directly.

Can SCIoI help me find a place to live?

We cannot but the international offices of our partner institutions might be able to assist with apartment listings.

Master's Track

I cannot find any information about the SCIoI Master’s Track

A master’s track is currently under development. Stay tuned for more information.