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First Application Round: Documents

Complete applications must be submitted via the online application tool:

For a better administration and more informed answers to possible inquiries, all interested candidates are strongly recommended to open a personal application profile as early as possible. The application profile can be edited at any point until the submission deadline. 

1. Curriculum Vitae with up-to-date information

2. Letter of motivation consisting of:

  • description of prior experience and knowledge related to reasoning and argumentation and empirical research in the Learning Sciences,
  • clear ranking of three research areas in terms of relevance to the future PhD project.

Guidelines on writing a motivation letter

3. A maximum 500-word proposal of the envisioned research project related to the research area prioritized as first option in the motivation letter. The proposal should also include explanations for suggested data analysis methods.

Guidelines on writing a research proposal

4. Notarized copies of the master’s diploma and the transcript of records. Applicants who are still in the process of finishing their Master’s studies (or equivalent) are required to upload a letter from their university confirming the expected date of graduation, as well as the existing transcript of records at the point of application. 

5. MCLS Recommendation Letter issued by an MCLS (REASON) member

The MCLS Recommendation Letter must be submitted by an MCLS (REASON) member him/herself. There are two possible ways to obtain the document:

  • Get in touch with potential supervisors directly and try to come to an agreement with one of them. If you come to an agreement, he/she should issue an MCLS Recommendation Letter for you. In this case enter the contact information of the intended prospective supervisor in the online application tool. This automatically generates an email to the professor with further instructions. Please note that you MUST contact your prospective supervisor prior to entering their contact information in the application system. 

    Check the fields of research of the main supervisory body professors and find a topic that is relevant to your academic interests. If the professor is potentially interested in supervising your research, ask him/her for an MCLS Recommendation Letter in which he confirms his/her general interest in your research and he/she agrees to conduct an interview with you.
  • Participate in the pre-screening period: In this case you submit you have to submit your application on April 1st 2019. During the pre-screening period your application will be made available to all potential MCLS supervisors. In the event that one of the MCLS members considers supervising your doctoral project, he/she will upload an MCLS recommendation letter before the deadline. We will inform you about the final result as soon as possible (presumably end of April).

6. One reference letter (e.g. issued by a previous professor)
The reference letter must be submitted by the referee him/herself. Applicants have to enter the contact information of the intended referee in the online application tool. This automatically generates an email to the referee with further instructions. Please note that you MUST contact your referee prior to entering their contact information in the application system.

Important note: The reference letter (point 6) and the MCLS Recommendation Letter (point 5) are two independent criteria! A complete application comprises two separate letters, issued by different professors (one from a previous professor and one from a potential supervisor). 

7. Proof of English proficiency in the form of an acknowledged language test certificate for non-native English language speakers. The certificate must confirm a result equivalent to the B2 level established by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment.

Correspondence table for upper B2 level of English proficiency (Examples)

6.5 548 211 79 B 59 (prior to 2015)

157 (after 2015)

The table represents a non-exhaustive list of the minimum required score on exemplary language examinations. Any further proof of English proficiency will be evaluated on a case-to-case basis by the selection committee. English language proficiency is also validated during the interview.

The coordination team would be happy to assist with any question that might arise during the process. Please visit our contact section.


!Useful link: Further information on preparing all aspects of an application can also be found on the official website of Jobline, an online resource offered by the University of Munich’s Language Center (Sprachenzentrum der LMU München). Although intended for German applicants, Jobline serves as invaluable information source and also contains template examples of various application documents.