In the course of the program, the students are expected to achieve about 30 credit points from two different categories. Our credit point system corresponds to the standards of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Scientific Modules

  • Lectures, Seminares and Practical Courses
    All lectures and seminars provided by our member institutions and the scientists associated with the Graduate School are open to the students.

    It is the purpose of the practical courses is to introduce students to new methodologies. These courses are thematic upon request. The students are free to additionally participate in practical courses organized by external institutions. For reimbursement of course fees, please contact the coordinators.
  • Scientific events
    It is our goal to integrate MatSEC students into international scientific community and to facilitate networking. Students are encouraged to invite guest scientists, organise symposia and colloquia, and to present their own work at international conferences and to actively participate in the shaping of their scientific field.

    The  attendance of the MatSEC Research Colloquium and the PhD Seminars are mandatory for all students.
  • Publications
    The doctoral researchers are strongly encouraged to present their own work to the scientific community and submit at least one part of their research to a scientific journal within the 3-year PhD period.

Complementary Modules

  • Soft Skill Courses
    The Graduate School is part of the Dahlem Research School (DRS) , which offers a variety of soft skills courses. MatSEC covers the fees for DRS courses for MatSEC graduate students.

    Additionally, relevant courses at any institution affiliated with MatSEC can be attended. For a reimbursement of potential course fees, please contact the coordination office before course enrolment.

    Once a year the PhD students affiliated with the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin organize a retreat for all PhD students.
  • HZB School Lab "Blick in die Materie"
    Student laboratories offer children and young people an opportunity to discover the fascinating world of research. PhD students are wellcome to join the team.

For more information about external courses please click => here


Work progress is monitored through regular departmental seminars and semi-annual research colloquia. According to the HZB guidelines on doctoral training, PhD students have to  present a formalized progress report on the current status and planning of their work to their supervisor at intervals of 6, 18 and 30 months after the start of their doctoral contract. This report must be forwarded to the MatSEC Coordination Office after being and the report will be assessed in writing by the MatSEC spokesperson.

Please download the progress report form, collect all signatures required and send the report to the MatSEC Coordination office.

Progress Report: matsec_phd_report.docx