International Max Planck Research School "The Leipzig School of Human Origins"

The International Max Planck Research School “The Leipzig School of Human Origins” (IMPRS LSHO) is a unique PhD program that combines different disciplines to study the evolutionary history and origins of humans and other primates.

The IMPRS LSHO is based at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Leipzig University which are both located in Leipzig, Germany. Our international PhD program brings together PhD students from various scientific backgrounds who select a research topic that falls within the scope of one of three disciplines:

  • Discipline 1: Molecular Anthroplogy
  • Discipline 2: Human History, Evolution and Ecology
  • Discipline 3: Language, Culture and Cognition

In addition, PhD students receive extensive expert information outside their chosen topics, broadening their horizons towards potential interdisciplinary approaches. When they graduate from the Leipzig School of Human Origins after three years, PhD students will have obtained expert knowledge, skills, and an innovative spirit to start a successful career in evolutionary research and beyond.


International Max Planck Research Schools
A state-of-the-art degree in research

Since 2000, the International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) have become a permanent part of the Max Planck Society's efforts to promote Ph.D. students. Talented German and foreign junior scientists are offered the opportunity to earn a doctorate under excellent research conditions. A shared characteristics of the graduate programmes at Max Planck Institutes is a close colloboration with universities.

Currently, there are 68 IMPRS. The research schools are established by one or several Max Planck Institutes. However, these IMPRS work in close cooperation with universities and other – sometimes foreign – research institutions. This provides an extraordinary framework for the graduate students to work in, and is a great advantage in interdisciplinary research projects, or in projects that require special equipment. Currently, approx. 80 Max Planck Institutes are associated with an IMPRS.

In general, about half of the junior researchers who receive their training at an IMPRS are from Germany and the other half from around the world. The principal component of the 3-year study programme is the doctoral thesis representing a major piece of independent research, mainly in an interdisciplinary topic. Doctoral students also benefit from regular workshops, which facilitate exchange of information and provide students with the opportunity to see their research topic from different perspectives. The right to confer degrees remains with the respective university. However, supervising tutors at both the universities and the Max Planck Institutes look after the students, instruct them and test them.

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