We are looking for highly qualified candidates to apply for the PhD program at ISTA.

The call for applications for the 2024 Intake of our PhD Program is now closed. The application period for a start in September 2025 will be the second half of October 2024  to early January 2025

Learn more on what the PhD program at ISTA has to offer here , for more details on the curricular set up consult this page

Inform yourself about how you can apply to the program and the process by taking a closer look at application page.

If you have further questions that are not answered in the pages above feel free to contact us.

Bachelor’s and Master’s Students Eligible to Apply

ISTA welcomes students with different academic backgrounds who can bring their skills and experiences to the scientific setting.

Students with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in biology, chemistry, neurosciencemathematicscomputer sciencephysics, data science and scientific computing, astronomy, earth science and related areas are encouraged to apply.

How Do I Apply?

ISTA processes applications to its PhD program once a year. To apply, you have to create an online account, which will allow you to track your application through its various stages. We do not accept applications and documents received outside of this system.

Please fill out the form using a web browser on a desktop computer. Web browsers on mobile devices (i.e. Android, iPhone, iPad, etc.) are not supported.

What Application Materials Are Required?

We ask you to upload the following documents to the application portal:

  • CV
  • Statement of purpose  (SoP) The Statement of Purpose is an important part of your application. In it, please share with us anything that prepares you for graduate-level research. For instance, you can describe your past research projects, motivation, skills, and background relevant to the research areas and groups you selected on the application form. Try to be as specific as possible about your experiences, with an emphasize on the technical skills you master.

    Please structure your Statement of Purpose by first addressing the general points above, and finish by addressing the following specific questions:

    1. An important goal of the first year in the Graduate School is to find an academic home by affiliating with a research group. Taking into account that a successful affiliation does not depend only on your own preferences, you might consider multiple options. Based on your research interests and background, which group(s) would be relevant for you, in what order, and why? Please specify up to three research groups at ISTA’
    2. During the first year in the Graduate School you need to complete three rotations in three research groups. Explain which groups you would choose and why. The Graduate School encourages students to consider one rotation outside of their field of expertise; should you decide to explore this option, which research group would you consider and why?
  • University transcripts and diplomas of all degree programs and all years you have attended and/or are currently enrolled in (in English and in original language)
  • Contact information of 3 referees who can assess your academic and research performance

All documents have to be submitted in English and copies of university transcripts also in their original language.

What Are the Selection Criteria?

The selection committee uses a collection of indicators to evaluate the applicant’s preparedness, motivation, and potential. The following will be considered:

  1. undergraduate performance: overall, with a special focus on relevant field-specific courses
  2. reference letters provided by professors and senior scientists: one letter from industry is acceptable, but letters from an academic background are given priority; referees are asked to address analytical capabilities, technical proficiency, ability to work independently and motivation/commitment;
  3. statement of purpose: the applicant’s past research experience and motivation for applying to this particular PhD program: is it a good academic fit? how does the program contribute to the candidate’s future career plans?, etc.;
  4. additional relevant skills (field-specific): demonstrated in, e.g., internships and/or participation in research projects, participation in science Olympiads, programming languages, lab techniques, etc.
  5. transferable skills: e.g. communication skills, experience with working in teams, previous mobility and international experiences, leadership experience as demonstrated in student organizations, etc.;
  6. diversity: e.g. a woman in computer science/math/physics; an applicant who switched fields, etc.;

Application and Selection Timeline

The call for the 2025 PhD program will open in the second half of October 2024. The first review process will be completed in the course of February. Candidates will notified about their status by the beginning of March.

Shortlisted candidates are invited for interviews, to take place in March/April Interviews may be conducted either remote or onsite. Offer letters will go out after the interview period, and candidates can accept or decline the offer of admission by 30 April. The start of the PhD program is uniformly on 15 September.

Application opens 2nd half of October
Application closes early January
Pre-selection meetings February
Student Interviews March
Final selection meetings mid to 2nd half of March
Offers sent out after the final selection meeting
Offer need to be accepted 30 April
Start of PhD program 15 September

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

For more information about the application process and PhD admissions, please read the FAQ page.

If you have any questions about the PhD program, please contact phd.admissions@ista.ac.at


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