Behavior and Cognition (Ph.D.) at The University of Göttingen

University of Göttingen 6 Semesters
Germany Full Time
PhD Onsite

The focus of this study program is on the foundations and the evolution of non-human and human primate behavior. Research projects are undertaken in the fields of psychology, anthropology, cognitive sciences, and evolutionary biology, with an emphasis on comparative approaches. Core areas are the evolution of social behavior, group behavior and group coordination, developmental psychology, as well as the cognitive, neurobiological, and physiological foundations of behaviour.

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Course Details:

Doctoral students are affiliated with one (or sometimes two) of the research groups of this program. Each project is supervised by a three-member thesis (dissertation) committee that advises on research questions and studies content. A research colloquium provides a platform for progress reports and discussions. The core of the dissertation is the student’s own research project.

In five different modules, a moderate amount of additional course work and teaching is required (total number of ECTS points: 20). To prepare for a variety of future activities and a diverse job market, these modules are broadly defined and go beyond the scope of the actual research project.

Modules require participation in seminars, colloquia, and methods courses, contribution to teaching, presentation of own research work at international conferences and meetings, and acquisition of soft skills and key qualifications.

Enrollment Requirements:


Applicants must hold a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in mathematics or the natural sciences (incl. psychology); the degree must have been obtained in a field relevant for BeCog. Degrees which have been obtained in a country not a signatory to the Bologna declaration must be formally confirmed to be equivalent and be accepted by the program committee. A fast-track option for particularly successful students enrolled in a relevant Master’s program is available.

A confirmation of supervision, signed by a member of the study programme must be submitted upon application.

Please visit our website ( for details on the application process.


Teaching Language:


Costs/Tuition Fees:

Free of Cost

Language Requirements:

Applicants whose native language is not English are asked to submit proof of proficiency in English; the following certificates are accepted:

  1. Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English, at least grade “B”
  2. Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English at least grade “C”
  3. IELTS Academic: at least band 6.0
  4. TOEFL iBT: at least 80 points
  5. TOEFL PBT: at least 550 points
  6. CEF (“Common European Framework”): at least C1
  7. UNIcertF: at least level III

The successful completion of an English-speaking study programme is accepted; certificates must not be older than three years at the time of application.
Native English speakers and applicants who spent at least two of the last three years in an English-speaking country for profe

About the University/Institution:

The founding of Göttingen University took place at the instance of the local ruler Elector George Augustus of Hanover (who was at the same time the King of Great Britain as George II due to the personal union with Great Britain and Ireland from 1714), after whom the University was named.

The actual “spiritus rector” (guiding spirit) of this new foundation was Hanover Minister Gerlach Adolph Baron of Münchhausen who created a new type of university: the Georgia Augusta served the goals of enlightenment even more consistently than Halle University, which was only a few decades older.

Accordingly, scientific research was freed from censorship by the church (Münchhausen as the representative of the Elector however reserved for himself the right of censorship), and at the same time, academic teaching was given high priority. The library, which was systematically sponsored and developed, was open to the students as well – which was a shocking innovation at the time; for emerging and seminal scientific disciplines,

Münchhausen created new professorships to which he systematically appointed outstanding representatives of their subjects. Lectures at the University commenced in 1734, and the official inauguration took place in the presence of Münchhausen in 1737.

Application Deadline:

31 July for the following winter semester
31 January for the following summer semester
Please see for further information.

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