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

The 2022 call for PhD students is now closed. The next call for students wishing to enter in September 2023 will open up in the second half of October 2022.


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 and related areas are encouraged to apply.


How Do I Apply?

ISTA processes applications to its PhD program once a year. The application portal will open in the Fall (2nd half of October). 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 download the instructions manual here.

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 that explains your research experience and your motivation for applying to the ISTA PhD program. It should be 1-2 pages maximum. In your statement, specify up to three research groups you find the most interesting. At this stage you do not need to contact potential supervisors.
  • 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

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? 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 application call opens mid-October and ends in January. The first review process is completed in early February. Candidates are notified about their status by mid-February.

Shortlisted candidates are invited for interviews in mid-March. Offer letters go out in late March and candidates can accept or decline the offer of admission by April 15. The start of the PhD program is uniformly on September 15.

Application opens mid-October
Application closes January 8
Pre-selection meetings end of January
Student Interviews mid-February to mid-March
Final selection meetings March
Offers sent out after the final selection meeting
Offer need to be accepted mid-April
Start of PhD program September 15

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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

Download an instruction manual here.

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


Download Brochures & Posters

You can also obtain an overview of the ISTA PhD program from the “The ISTA PhD Experience” brochure.

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