When should I apply?

IST Austria processes applications to its PhD program once a year, in January.
All admitted students start the program the following September. 

The application deadline for 2017 has already passed (January 8) and the next call will open in the fall of 2017.

For students starting in September 2018 the *deadline for application will be in January 2018*. All applications must be received on-line through a web site available during the application period (mid-October to January).

Who is eligible?

Highly qualified students from all disciplines of the natural sciences, mathematics, computer sciences, and any related interdisciplinary areas, who are committed to pursuing their scientific career in an international research environment, are invited to apply.

All applicants must hold a master's or bachelor's degree (or equivalent), or anticipate the completion of the degree before September 2017. Participating students are expected to be proficient in written and oral English.

IST Austria is committed to equality and diversity. In particular, female applicants are encouraged to apply.

What are the selection criteria?

The main criteria for the selection of students are scientific excellence and promise.

Scientific excellence and promise are judged on the basis of undergraduate performance, reference letters, and statement of purpose:

  • Undergraduate performance is evaluated based on the quality of the undergraduate program, overall grades, grades in specific fields/courses, and other scientific distinctions (e.g. publications, seminar talks or presentations at conferences).
  • Reference letters are evaluated in terms of how strongly professors or senior scientists who know the candidate well support the candidate’s application for the PhD program.
  • The statement of purpose should reveal the candidate’s knowledge of the big questions in the field and will be evaluated regarding the preparedness, motivation, and potential of the candidate.

The selection committee will also consider the candidate’s background and diversity. This criterion is broad in scope and considers the degree to which the candidate’s background will enrich the scientific culture of the Institute. Factors include international mobility, interdisciplinarity, collaborations and completed internships, transferable skills such as experience in managing projects and working in teams, teaching, and English language and communication skills.

All applications will be considered holistically with regard to these selection criteria.

Candidates for fields outside of IST Austria’s research portfolio will not be considered.

What is ISTScholar?

ISTScholar is IST Austria’s PhD program, co-funded by an EU Marie Curie-Sklodowska grant. Top-ranked students who fulfill the mobility criteria will be selected as Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellows.  To meet the mobility criteria, a candidate should not have resided in Austria for more than 12 months within the past three calendar years prior to application. In other words, a candidate submitting their application for the January 8, 2017 deadline should not have resided in Austria for more than 12 months between January 8, 2014 and January 8, 2017.

Can I still apply if I do not fulfill the mobility criterion?

Yes, absolutely. We review all incoming applications and select our students regardless of whether they fulfill the mobility criterion or not. If your application is successful AND you are among the top ranked candidates, and you do fulfill the mobility criterion in addition, you will automatically obtain the title of “Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow”.

What documents do I need?

To complete your application, you will need the following:

1.    Your resume/CV: include
       a.    your educational history since high school
       b.    relevant work experience
       c.    additional qualifications
       d.    list of publications (if any)
       e.    scholarships, awards, etc. (if any)
2.    Statement of purpose: a 1-2 page essay in which you explain
       a.    Why you want to enter our PhD program
       b.    The research area(s) you find the most interesting
       c.    Which professor(s) you may be interested in studying with
3.    Three referees who taught or supervised your work in academic setting:
       you will need to enter
       a.    their names
       b.    institutions, and
       c.    email addresses

You will need to submit these using our online application form. For more details, see the instructions listed here.

What is the admissions process?

All complete applications will be reviewed and ranked by a selection committee consisting of professors at IST Austria.

Short-listed candidates will be invited to IST Austria for interviews and a campus visit in March 2016.

How and when will I be notified of the results?

Notifications to all applications and invitations to an interview will be sent out around mid-February. Final admission offers will be made shortly after the visit.

The deadline for students to accept or decline an offer is April 15, 2017.

How do I submit my application?

All applications must be submitted using our online application form.

All applications must be received on-line through a web site available during the application period (mid-October to January).

When applying, you will have to create an online account with us, which will allow you to track your application through its various stages. You do not need to complete the process in one sitting, but you can return to your account until you submit the application. Once you have submitted your application, you will not be able to make any changes.


Please refer to the detailed instructions (as PDF).

Step 1: Create an account
Register online by entering your email and a password using the link listed above. You will receive an email with the link to your user account immediately.
Step 2: Confirm your registration
Step 3: The application
There are 5 parts to your application. Make sure that you click ‘save’ every time before moving on to the next section. When leaving the page without saving it, your data will be lost and you will have to re-enter it.
1.    Personal data
2.    Education + Application data
In this section you will need to enter a resume/CV, a statement of purpose, details on your university education, and choose up to three areas that represent your current research interests. You need to upload the documents in PDF format.
In your resume/CV include your educational history since high school, relevant work experience, additional qualifications, list (if any) publications, scholarships, awards, etc.
The statement of purpose is a 1-2 page essay in which you should explain why you want to enter our PhD program, the research area(s) you find most interesting, and indicate which professor(s) you may be interested in studying with. You do not need to contact specific group leader(s) at this point.
Please enter all institutions of higher education (university, college, etc.) that you have attended. If your current course of study is still on-going, please provide the latest transcript and state when you expect to receive your degree. All applicants must hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree (or equivalent), or anticipate the completion of the degree before September 2016.
3.    Additional supporting documents
In this section you will also be able to upload additional supporting documents such as publications, TOEFL/IELTS and/or GRE scores. As the language of instruction is English, these documents are helpful, but not mandatory. IST Austria TOEFL code: 6384.

4.    Additional information
In this section you can give us some information e.g. about any lab experience you might have or internships you did, or anything else you think we should take into consideration.

5.    References
Enter the names, institutions and e-mail addresses of 3 referees who have taught you or supervised your work in an academic setting and are therefore able to evaluate your academic and research performance. They will receive an e-mail directly from us with the subject “Request for Letter of Recommendation – IST Austria” with a link to an online platform.  
Before submitting your referees’ details, make sure that they are willing and available to provide their recommendation by the given deadline (January 15 24:00 CET). Keep in mind that your referees need time to write and submit the letters!  
You will be able to track the status of the letters of reference. Please remind your referees if necessary.
Please note that you will not be allowed to upload scanned letters of recommendation yourself. All letters of recommendation must be submitted by your referees through our online application platform. Instructions will be sent to them in an automated email as soon as you submit and confirm their names and email addresses.
Note that we are unable to process your application without letters of recommendation. These letters are an integral part of your application, and it is your responsibility to ensure that all letters of reference are submitted by January 15, 2016 11:59PM CET.

Step 4: Submit your application.

Once you have submitted your application, you will not be able to make any changes to your application. Documents sent via email after the deadline will not be considered in the review process.

All applications must be received on-line through a web site available during the application period (mid-October to January).

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