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COS PhD Program

Admission via Regular Track

The minimal requirement for admission into the Graduate School is a university degree from an internationally accredited university that would allow the applicant to enter a PhD program in biosciences in the country where the degree was awarded. Depending on the country, this may be a Masters, Licentiate or Diploma in Natural Sciences or equivalent. Applicants are expected to have received their final certificates (Master, Diploma etc.) before the projected start of the PhD work.

During the online application (see below), you will need to provide the following information.

1. Secondary School Leaving Certificate

Submit your Secondary School Leaving Certificate (equivalent to German "Abitur"). At this stage of the application process translation of the Secondary School Leaving Certificate is not required.

2. Academic Records

Submit copies of your official transcripts of academic records from every postsecondary institution attended for at least one year as a full-time student. Academic records should give information on the type and content of courses taken (Diploma supplement) and the grades you received. Your rank in class should be noted whenever possible. If the institution does not issue records in German, English, or French, original language records must be submitted with translations. At this stage of the application process the academic records may be submitted as uncertified copies/translations.

3. Curriculum Vitae

Please submit a formatted CV with all relevant information.

4. Proof of English Language Ability

If your native language is not English, proof of an adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission.

Proof can be provided either by

a) a TOEFL certificate ( (Score requirements: Paper based: 570+, Computer based: 230+, Internet based: 90+),

b) an IELTS certificate ( (Score requirements: band 6.5+) ,

c) a Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE ).

d) Applicants who took part in an undergraduate program in which the language of instruction was English or German are asked to provide a suitable certificate from their Faculty or supervisors.

e) Applicants who received an MSc degree from a university of an EU member state or an EU affiliated member state are exempted from providing an English language certificate. Their proficiency in English will be evaluated during the interview process.

f) Applicants who are enrolled in the MSc programs Molecular Biosciences or Molecular Biotechnology at Heidelberg University do not have to provide proof of language proficiency. For technical reasons these applicants are requested to write and upload a statement that they are exempted from providing proof of language proficiency. 

5. Statement of Purpose

Write a statement (+/- 500 words) describing your motivation to become a member of the COS/HBIGS PhD program, your preparation for this field of study and your future career plans. Describe the area of biology you find most interesting, your previous research experience, and other aspects of your background and interests that may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for the program.

6. Contact Details of Two Referees + Two Reference Letters

Letters of recommendation (LOR) can be provided by two routes: Either you upload the LORs or your referees send them as a PDF document (pdf is the only accepted format) to In case the LOR will be send via email, you have to provide a statement that your LOR will be sent directly to us, and upload this as PDF document during the application process. Please note that your application can only be considered as completed when we have received both LOR.

7. Extended Subject Test

The subject test consists of 20 questions each from the following four modules (total of 80 questions): Biochemistry, Cellular Biology, General Biology, and Molecular Biology. You may extend the subject test by one additional module of a specialized area (additional 20 question, total of 100 questions). If you are interested in extending your subject test, please specify your choice in the section “Supplemental Information” / How did you learn about the program. Select “other/ please specify” and use the following keywords to specify your modules of choice (e.g. CN for Computational Neurosciences):

  • Application for COS/HBIGS PhD program
  • selected module for extended subject test: CN  

8. [Optional] Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) Scores

The scores of the GRE Subject Test (Biochemistry and/or Biology and/or Molecular and Cellular Biology) or GATE (for applicants from India only) are not required, but a good score will strengthen your application. Scores must be from an examination taken within the last three years.

9. [In case you are already accepted as prospective PhD student by an HBIGS faculty member] Statement of Acceptance as PhD Student

Please download statement (click on image to download document), fill in the required information and upload the document in the field "Academic records".



Note: the following link will take you directly to the registration site of HBIGS.

Register and apply

/var/www/cos/ / COS PhD Program _e