PhD programme


Traditionally German universities had no formal PhD programmes. Doing research and writing a PhD thesis was mostly between the PhD student and his/her advisor. There were no extra courses to participate in or formalisms to fulfil apart from writing (and defending) your thesis. This was owed mostly to the comprehensive education students received in the old German diploma system.

In the context of internationalisation German universities are currently changing over to a more formal system, that attempts to integrate PhD students deeper into the department's research in order to speed up their work and encourage more collaboration and multidisciplinarity. First-year examinations are not quite the rule, yet, and teaching opportunities will be given at a more advanced level.

Munich Geophysics has participated in this process early on. We were and are involved in several projects

and have designed our own PhD programme along the guidelines of THESIS.

THESIS is shaping graduate Earth Sciences education at Munich in the most innovative way in that it brings together research and teaching in experimental, theoretical and observational geosciences from leading research faculty at the joint Munich GeoCenter of LMU and TUM under the umbrella of a unified Research School. Top-level students are educated in a highly interdisciplinary environment that reinforces the multiple links between theoretical, experimental and observational work.

Many graduate students have been awarded prizes and honourable mentions for their presentations at international meetings. Furthermore, the department is regularly hosting international top-ranking guest scientists, among these four Humboldt Prize recipients in the last three years.

The Department of Earth- and Environmental Sciences at LMU has a long and successful tradition in training and supervising graduate students. About 60 graduate students are currently developing their PhD projects within the department, 23 of them are supervised by professors of the Geophysics section.


The legal framework for the PhD programme is laid down in the "Promotionsordnung der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München für die Fakultät für Geowissenschaften" (Version as of 18. August 2006 with changes from 15. January 2007).

In order to successfully reach their goals all graduate students of the Geophysics section are required to

  • review and reset project objectives in regularly meetings with their supervisor(s)
  • attend the weekly meetings of their working group where organisational topics as well as the latest advances in the research field are discussed
  • attend the weekly section’s seminar and present the state of their PhD project there once per semester
  • publish the research results in peer-reviewed international journals

Furthermore, the graduate students are advised to

  • attend special seminars, lectures, and short courses organised by the graduate school THESIS and the Munich GeoCenter
  • take advantage of the presence of visiting scientists
  • attend international meetings, where they present their work
  • spend some time at one of our partner research institutes abroad

In addition, students are encouraged to make use of the comprehensive supply of seminars, lectures and short courses offered by the LMU in order to evolve their interdisciplinary skills.


If you are interested in pursuing a PhD thesis at Munich Geophysics please note the following two technical requirements. We expect from our students

  • a university degree at the master/diploma-level (5 year programme, bachelor and master together)
  • good mastery of the English language

If you meet these requirements please

  • First consult our research pages to see, whether the research focus of one of our groups is compatible to your ideas for a thesis' topic.
  • Send an email to the respective head of group with the following documents
    • curriculum vitae including contact details for two references
    • description of your research interests
    • thesis/publications (if available)
    • certificates of your highest degree
  • We will then check whether a joint PhD project can be formulated and what funding opportunities are available.