The IMPRS curriculum for PhD students consists of five parts.
All IMPRS students are required to write a 20-30 page minithesis and submit it for examination before the end of the 11th month after starting their PhD. The minithesis should contain three main sections: a review of the field of research, a summary of their progress to date and a detailed description of their planned PhD research. This thesis will be orally examined by the advisor & co-advisor. Failure to satisfy the examiners will result in termination of the studentship.
Students are required to attend 4 lecture blocks within the first three years. A single lecture block consists of 3 lectures on topics related to their PhD research. A list of suitable lectures will be provided by IMPRS, with input from all advisors. After each block, the student must obtain an attendance certificate, signed by the lecturer, and present it to the IMPRS coordinator. As an alternative, it is possible for students to fulfill these requirements by attending four block-lectures during the IMPRS annual meetings.
Students are expected to attend a monthly get-together, held at one of the institutes or laboratories participating in IMPRS, and organised by the IMPRS students themselves. The duration of these meetings will be 1-2 hours. Talks will be given by local researchers, postdocs and IMPRS students, and speakers from other institutions may also occasionally be invited. Attendance at these get-togethers will be monitored by a sign-in sheet. Starting from March 2017, students are expected to attend at least 20 get-together during their first 3 years with a maximum of 3 lectures from the distinguished lecture series.
Students are expected to attend at least one international summer school, in a field related to their research topic, during their time at IMPRS. An attendance certificate, signed by the summer school organisers, must be presented to the IMPRS coordinator, together with a 1-page summary report.
A 4- or 5‐day annual meeting will be held once a year at a location outside Erlangen. Annual meetings feature lectures by invited speakers, postdocs and advisors. All first year IMPRS PhD students will be required to present a poster about their research, whereas all second and third year IMPRS PhD students will be obliged to present a poster and give a talk about their research. The best student poster and best student talks will be elected by the PhD and master students and awarded with a certificate. The annual meeting will include block-lectures provided by invited lecturers or advisors. Every IMPRS student is required to attend three annual meetings in the three years of PhD studies.
Besides the additional curriculum, IMPRS PhD students have the chance to attend German classes. Soft skill seminars will be organised according to the topics selected by the students. Visiting a partner university abroad is encouraged. In addition, IMPRS PhD students receive funding for some of their travel expenses to national and international conferences with the approval by their advisors.