PhD programme

The Department of Earth- and Environmental Sciences at LMU has a long and successful tradition in training graduate students. About 60 graduate students are currently doing their PhD projects within the department, around 25 of which with us in the Geophysics section. Many of our graduate students have been awarded prizes and honourable mentions for their presentations at international meetings.


German universities traditionally have no formal PhD programmes. The research and writing of the thesis is largely done between the PhD student and their supervisor. Usually, there are no extra courses to participate in or formalisms to fulfil apart from writing and defending your thesis.

In the last 10–20 years, more formal systems in the context of graduate colleges have appeared at German universities. The gaol is to speed up PhD projects and to encourage collaboration and foster multidisciplinary research. Details and regulations vary between projects, depending on the specific funding party. Munich Geophysics has participated in graduate colleges early on. We were and are involved in several such projects:

Ongoing programmes

Research Training Group Geophysical modelling of vertical motion processes constrained by geodetic and geological observations funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

The UPLIFT Research Training Group started in April 2022 and is run between the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and LMU Munich under the auspices of the Munich GeoCenter. The RTG aims to understand and quantify uplift mechanisms of the continental lithosphere in an interdisciplinary approach involving geophysics, geodesy, geology, geomorphology, mathematics and computer science.

Priority Programme 2404 of the DFG entitled Reconstructing the Deep Dynamics of Planet Earth over Geologic Time

The fundamental goal of DeepDyn is to exploit the exceptionally long paleomagnetic record, and especially changes in reversal frequency, to reconstruct the evolution of the core-mantle system. The lower mantle has a manifold impact on the dynamo, but neither the long-term evolution of the lower mantle and the dynamo nor the coupling between the two are well understood. Solving this puzzle will be tackled through the collaboration of five distinct scientific disciplines: Paleomagnetism, Dynamo models, Mantle dynamics, Mineral physics, and Biomagnetism.

Within the Priority Programme, PhD funding has to be acquired through individual proposals through specific calls.

Past programmes


International Graduate School of LMU and TUM funded by the Elite Network of Bavaria

Marie Curie Research Training Network funded by the European Commission

Initial Training Network funded by the European Commission

  • The Munich Centre of Advanced Computing

Part of the International Graduate School of Science and Engineering (IGSSE) of TUM


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 the goals of their individual projects, all graduate students at Geophysics 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 Geophysics seminar series and present the state of their PhD project there once per year
  • publish the research results in peer-reviewed international journals
  • first-year examinations are not quite the rule, yet, and teaching opportunities will be given at a more advanced level

Furthermore, the graduate students are advised to

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

In addition, students are encouraged to make use of the comprehensive suite of seminars, lectures and short courses offered by LMU Munich 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 fits your academic background and is compatible to your ideas for a thesis topic
  • send an e-mail to the respective head of group with the following documents
    • curriculum vitae including contact details of two references
    • description of your research interests
    • theses/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.