Duration of PhD thesis and financial support

The typical duration of a PhD thesis at EMBL is 3.5 to 4 years. EMBL predoctoral fellowships are initially awarded for 3.5 years, with the possibility of a half-year extension. The stipend is competitive by international standards and includes broad health care benefits and pension.

Fellowship Rates 2021

Thesis Supervision

In addition to the day-to-day supervision by the group leader, each EMBL PhD student has a thesis advisory committee, consisting of the group leader and ordinarily 3 other advisors (typically one additional EMBL group leader from the same and one from a different unit, and a non-EMBL scientist- where possible from a university of one of the member states), who guide the student during thesis work. After the first 6 months, students prepare a written outline of their thesis project and discuss it with their thesis committee. At the end of the first, second and third year of the thesis, students write an annual report on their work, give a seminar, and discuss the report and seminar with their thesis advisory committee.

Predoctoral Courses

At the beginning of the first year (i.e. in October/November), a special PhD student course ('Core Course in Molecular Biology') is taught by the EMBL faculty. The course is organized by the Graduate Committee, covers all scientific areas represented at the EMBL and includes lectures, practicals and student seminars.

PhD degree

In December 1997, in recognition of the high quality of its EMBL International PhD Programme, EMBL was granted the right to award its own PhD, becoming the first international institution providing training in molecular biology in Europe that may do so. Currently, EMBL's students obtain their degree from a national university or jointly with EMBL. EMBL is also interested in promoting research at the interface between Molecular Biology and Medicine. We will offer the possibility to pursue an MD/PhD degree to medically qualified candidates on a case by case basis.