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Study program


All PhD students being a part of Synmikro are automatically members of Marburg School of Microbiology. If you decide otherwise, contact your supervisor and managing office of the Marburg School of Microbiology.

If you plan to join the Graduate School with your own fellowship, as a either visiting or exchange student, please contact the coordinator of the Marburg School of Microbiology in order to gain further information.

Modularity and Credit Points

The curriculum of Marburg School of Microbiology offers several educational modules to ensure a maximum of qualification. Each of the modules is associated to a number of credit points (CP) that are awarded after successfully participation to the module. A summary of credits points given for each module is given in Table 1.

A total number of 150 CPs entitles you to gain a Certificate of Completion of the Marburg School of Microbiology.

In the following sections, each module is shortly described and the amount of CPs is given:

Table 1. Summary of CPs for each module.

Module Mandatory CPs Times to Do Total CP
(3 years)
TAC Yes 20 3 60
Microbiology Lecture (Blue Seminar) Yes 1 30 30

Yes 10 3 30

Yes 10 3 30
Total CP: 30

Overview of the modules

  • Research Project

    The research project is the central element of the program and constitutes the basis of the PhD work. The main advisor of the research project is the group leader.

  • Thesis Advisory Commitee (TAC)

    At the beginning of the PhD work, each student must assemble a thesis advisory committee (TAC). The TAC should consist of up to four group leaders being members of the Gradschool. A selecting committee members is a competence of the student, however their scientific interests need to be considered, which result in substantive input into the research project and individual advisory commitment.

    Student and TAC meet annually and discuss the progress of the research project. The student prepares the TAC meeting by providing a written progress report (max. 10 pages) and an oral presentation (45 minutes).

    Please download this form ahead of the meeting and bring a printed copy to every TAC meeting.

    20 CPs per TAC meeting  

  • Regular Lectures and Seminars

    An essential part of our education is the regular participation of the graduate students in lectures & seminars on all facets of modern microbiology offered in the framework of SYNMIKRO and the School od Mikcrobiology.

    Central are the mandatory microbiology lecture, taking place once per month. Blue seminars are scientific lectures, given by external and internal scientist, covering broad spectrum of scientific topics. Graduate students are able to invite external speakers to get first hand access to internationally renowned scientists. 

    Additionally, our graduate students will benefit from regular seminars of the associated departments and institutions, e.g. the seminar series in environmental, cellular and molecular microbiology at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology

    1 CPs per SFB lecture

  • Workshops

    The workshops aim at strengthening the theoretical and practical education. On a regular basis, our experienced staff scientists and group leaders offer workshops and hands-on training on state-of-the-art methods.

    Topics include (but are not limited to) reverse genetics, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, chemoinformatics, modern biochemistry, Hydrogen-Deuterium Exchange massspectrometry, X-ray crystallography, electron micrsocopy or super-resolution microscopy. On the theoretical side, workshops on basic methods of modeling and computer lab courses will be offered on mathematical modeling, quantitative data analysis and bioinformatics.

    Each student will participate to a minimum of 3 practical workshops during his PhD work. Moreover, each student has to attend at least one experimental or one theoretical workshop. 

    10 CPs per workshop

  • Soft Skills

    The Marburg School of Microbiology via the Marburg University Research Academy (MARA) offers soft skill workshops.

    The topics of the workshops include (among many others) project management, presentation skills, conflict management and entrepreneurship. Please visit the webpage of Marburg University Research Academy (MARA) to choose workshops and seminars. Every student is encouraged to participate to a minimum of two soft skill trainings.

    Marburg University Research Academy

     5 CPs per MARA course

  • Annual Retreat

    Every year the students of the Marburg School of Microbiology shall join MAM scientific retreat (1-3 days long). The aim of the retreat is maximize communication, joint research and exchange of knowledge between the students, invited speakers and the senior scientists. The retreat includes progress reports presentations, and intense scientific discussions. Moreover, we provide training in planning scientific research projects, grant writing and scientific publishing.

    Participation at the retreat is mandatory for each graduate student.

    20 CPs per Retreat

  • Spotlight Meeting- Organize your own international meeting

    Established in 2015, the students of the Marburg School of Microbiology organize an international meeting in Marburg, named the Spotlight Meeting in Microbiology. The Spotlight Meeting is a great chance to train your organizational skills, get into contact with internationally recognized scientists or simply inspire yourself by excellent research.

  • Scientific Meeting and Conferences

    To attend symposia, conferences and the like as well as visiting collaborators you have to ask your supervisor for permission and financing issues. Request for official journey (Dienstreiseantrag) with detailed information regarding conference and costs involved has to be sign by supervisor and submitted to responsible office before departure.

    For booking the conference as well as accommodation, please contact your responsible office for the group-specific rules. If booking yourself, you have to adhere to the rules of the University of Marburg

    Please keep all bills and tickets, confirmations etc. in original for reimbursement. Add these to the “Reisekostenabrechnung” (reimbursement form): Sign the reimbursement form and pass it on within six month after your return to the responsible secretary or managing office respectively.

  • Mentoring and teaching activities

    In order to gain experience in teaching and mentoring, students are encouraged to contribute to workshops, laboratory courses for BSs and MSs at Philips University as well as supervising other students in their laboratories.

  • Certificate of the Marburg School of Microbiology

    After completion of the PhD study and successful thesis defense students receive a Certificate of Completion of the study program together with detail information about their activities within Marburg School of Microbiology