Preparation Phase

Students admitted to IMPRS-TRUST undergo a one-year preparation phase before embarking on in-depth research. The preparation phase consists of course work, seminars, research labs, reading groups, and doctoral privatissima. Depending on a student’s prior education and background, course work can be partially or completely waived at the time of admission.

Course Requirements

At the beginning of the program, students typically take courses to complement their existing knowledge of core computer science areas. The course work of a student aims for a healthy mix of breadth and depth, drawing from a large pool of lectures and seminars. The mentors guide the students in their choices, depending on their prior backgrounds and preliminary interests.

Exploring Different Research Areas

All incoming students are assigned a faculty research advisor but have the opportunity to explore additional research areas through projects with other faculty before deciding on their doctoral advisor at the end of the preparation phase.

Research Labs

Each student must take at least two research labs from different research groups. These are starter projects on specific topics, where the student is gradually guided into preliminary research. The lab projects can be pursued in parallel to other course work or in more intensive form during the teaching breaks.

Doctoral Privatissima

These are meetings in small groups of at most 5 students with one or more faculty members, to discuss advanced research directions. The goal is to inspire and guide students towards research and enable them to discuss research topics. The group meets regularly during the teaching season or in the semester break. The specific format can vary greatly.

Reading Groups are similar but focus on discussing and critically reflecting a set of advanced publications.

Soft Skills

The IMPRS-TRUST also provides opportunities for seminars and block courses on soft skills. These include language courses (German and advanced English) as well as courses in scientific writing and presentation skills. These courses may be taken at any time in the program.

Qualifying Exam

In addition to taking courses, students conduct research from the day they enter the doctoral program. Based on their initial research, students are required to pass a research qualifying exam, which is designed to evaluate a student’s ability to successfully obtain a doctoral degree.

The Qualifying Exam is also a requirement for students who directly enter the dissertation phase.