Program

IMPRS-IS offers a structured, interdisciplinary program for graduate students who want to earn a Ph.D. by helping expand what is known about intelligent systems.

Here is a summary of the program, and the details are explained below.

  • All aspects of the program are in English.
  • You will be mentored by our internationally renowned faculty.
  • You will register as a university graduate student and conduct research for approximately three years.
  • You can take part in a wide variety of scientific seminars, advanced training workshops, and social activities.
  • Your doctoral degree will be conferred when you successfully complete your Ph.D. project.
  • Our dedicated coordinator will assist you throughout your time as a doctoral student.

The core focus of participation will be independent research that is guided by one or more of our faculty. This research will take place over approximately three years and culminate in a doctoral dissertation. In addition to ongoing support from the primary advisor, doctoral candidates benefit from regular interaction with their thesis advisory committee (TAC), a cross-institutional panel that includes three or more IMPRS faculty members.

Because all top research is published in English, the language of the IMPRS-IS is English. We welcome students from all countries and seek to enroll at least 70% of our students from outside Germany. No prior knowledge of German is needed, and free training in English, German, and other languages will be available to all students who enter our program.

The research topics of our school range from computer science to control theory, from mechanical engineering to neuroscience, and from mathematics to materials science. To bridge these disparate academic fields and facilitate creative insights, IMPRS-IS Scholars complete a core training program that provides a broad background across all relevant areas of intelligent systems. This training will be delivered through an intensive basic course each fall, taught by members of our faculty and associated faculty. Scholars may also take courses at both participating universities and are encouraged to join in a wide array of seminars, conferences, retreats, workshops, career-development courses, and social activities.

IMPRS-IS covers two nearby sites and brings together outstanding research and training opportunities in the South German region of Stuttgart (a modern tech-focused city) and Tübingen (an historic college town). Research at the Stuttgart site of the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems covers small-scale robotics, self-organization, haptic perception, bio-inspired systems, medical robotics, and physical intelligence. The Tübingen site of the institute concentrates on machine learning, computer vision, robotics, control, and the theory of intelligence.

The training and research activities of the MPI sites are matched by those of the universities in Stuttgart and Tübingen. Research at the University of Stuttgart focuses on control theory, robotics, machine learning, and computer vision, while the work at the University of Tübingen covers perceptual inference, psychophysics, machine learning, 3D appearance acquisition, and computational neuroscience.

IMPRS doctoral candidates also have access to a rich palette of professional training. Core activities help integrate newcomers and allow students and faculty to interact and make cross-connections. Supplementary activities provide special training in particular technical topics, such as deep learning, and useful soft skills, such as how to give effective presentations.

Students are supported throughout the program by a dedicated coordinator, as well as by older students, postdocs, and helpful staff at the participating institutions. The Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems International Office, the University of Stuttgart Office of International Affairs, and the University of Tübingen Welcome Center and Academic Advisory Office for International Students work in tandem with the IMPRS-IS coordinator to help students smoothly transition into our program. In particular, we guide our students in obtaining the necessary visas, finding short- and long-term housing, identifying career opportunities for partners, arranging childcare, securing health insurance, setting up a bank account, completing administrative forms, and handling any issues that may arise.

Our program is one of about sixty International Max Planck Research Schools run by the Max Planck Society in partnership with various universities and research institutions. IMPRS programs provide an extraordinary framework and working environment for graduate students, and they provide unique opportunities for interdisciplinary research projects and projects that require special equipment.

We are in the process of finalizing the precise academic requirements that will enable you to earn a doctorate from the IMPRS-IS. As such, we welcome your questions and suggestions; please address them to the coordinator listed below, and we will do our best to respond within two business days.

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