study program

Our mission is to train the next generation of leaders in microbiology.



More than 30 research groups contribute to the excellent eduction of our highly interdisciplinary, structured curriculum in all areas of microbiology including Microbial Ecology & Physiology, Cellular & Molecular Microbiology, Microbial Biochemistry & Structural Biology and Systems and Synthetic Biology.

Marburg School of Microbiology offers several educational 'building blocks' to ensure a maximum of qualification. These are shortly described in the following:  

Research project

The research project is the central element of the program and constitutes the basis of the PhD work. The main advisor of the research project is the group leader.

Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC)

At the beginning of the PhD work, each student must assemble a thesis advisory committee (TAC). The TAC should consist of up to four group leaders, will provide additional input into the research project and offer individual advice to the student.

Student and TAC meet annually and discuss the progress of the research project. The student prepares the TAC meeting by providing a written progress report (max. 10 pages) and an oral presentation (45 minutes).  

Regular Lectures and Seminars

An essential part of our education is the regular participation of the graduate students in lectures & seminars on all facetts of modern microbiology offered in the framework of SYNMIKRO and the SFB987. Central are the mandatory SFB 987 lectures taking place every month. Graduate students are able to invite external speakers to get first hand access to internationally renown scientists. Additionally, our graduate students will benefit from regular seminars of the associated departments and institutions, e.g. the seminar series in environmental, cellular and molecular microbiology at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology


The workshops aim at strengthening the theoretical and practical education. On a regular basis, our experienced staff scientists and group leaders offer workshops and hands-on training on state-of-the-art methods. Topics include (but are not limited to) reverse genetics, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, chemoinformatics, modern biochemistry, Hydrogen-Deuterium Exchange Massspectrometry, X-ray crystallography, electron micrsocopy or super-resolution microscopy. On the theoretical side, workshops on basic methods of modeling and computer lab courses will be offered on mathematical modeling, quantitative data analysis and bioinformatics.

Each student will participate to a minimum of 3 workshops during his PhD work. Moreover, each student has to attend at least one experimental or one theoretical workshop. 

Soft Skill Training

Soft skill workshops are offered by the Marburg School of Microbiology via the Marburg University Research Academy (MARA). The topics of the workshops include (among many others) project management, presentation skills, conflict management and enterpreneurship.

Every student is encouraged to particpate in soft skill training.

Annual Retreat

Every year the students of the Marburg School of Microbiology meet at a 2 days long retreat. The aim of the retreat is maximize communication, joint research and exchange of knowledge between the students, invited speakers and the senior scientists. The retreat includes progress reports, presentations, and intense scientific discussions. Moreover, we provide training in planning scientific research projects, grant writing and scientific publishing.

Participation at the retreat is mandatory for each graduate student.

Spotlight meeting - Organize your own international meeting

Established in 2015, the students of the Marburg School of Microbiology organize an international meeting in Marburg, named the Spotlight Meeting in Microbiology. The Spotlight Meeting is a great chance to train your organizational skills, get into contact with internationally recognized scientists or simply inspire yourself by excellent research.

Please visit the program of the Spotlight Meetings (just click the year): 2015 and 2017