PhD Programme: how to apply

Applying to our programme


Information for applicants in response to the novel coronavirus

In order to reduce the impact and spread of the novel coronavirus EMBL has taken the difficult decision to close its six sites in Barcelona, Grenoble, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Hinxton and Rome from 18 March. Sites will remain closed until further notice, and EMBL management will keep the situation under constant review. For further information please refer to the following page:

The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted individuals and organisations worldwide at different levels. To give equal opportunities to all applicants, the deadlines for the EMBL PhD Summer Recruitment 2020 have been extended by 2 additional weeks:
-    Application deadline: 19th of April
-    Reference deadline: 21st of April

Further information regarding the application process is indicated below.

Our aim is to continue with the PhD Summer Recruitment as planned. Any changes in the evaluation/interview procedure (including the possibility of holding the interviews by video-conferencing) that may be required due to future developments will be communicated to invitees in a timely manner.  

Please contact the EMBL Graduate Office should you have any questions or require further information.


Admission to the EMBL International PhD Programme at EMBL-EBI is very competitive. We evaluate all applications solely on the basis of qualification and scientific potential.

There are two important deadlines to keep in mind: the first is registration in our online application system, and the second is completing your application.

Application Opens 10 February 2020
Application Deadline 19 April 2020, 23:59 CEST (BST+1)
Reference Deadline 21 April 2020, 23:59 CEST (BST+1)


Watch a webinar to learn everything you need to know about preparing and submitting your application. Link to webinar


Job alerts

You can sign up for job alerts - and find other opportunities throughout EMBL - at


The application process

  1. Select an area of interest.
  2. Register for the online application system. Applicants MUST register – application is via online submission only.
  3. Apply for a PhD position starting in October of the year you are applying. Make sure you have your references in by the deadline!
  4. Interviews at EMBL Heidelberg, Germany and Hinxton (Cambridge), UK take place in January (Spring round) or July (Summer round).
  5. The first assessment is carried out by a faculty member who is familiar with the applicant's national education system.
  6. The application is then reviewed by the faculty members of the EMBL Scientific Programme at EMBL-EBI.
  7. The EMBL Graduate Committee short-lists the candidates who will be invited to interview.
  8. Short-listed applicants are invited to attend an Initial Admission Assessment (IAA) interview, conducted by a panel of EMBL faculty members at EMBL-EBI. This 20-minute pass/fail interview is the prerequisite for eligibility for the EMBL programme. During the interview, you may be questioned on any aspect of molecular biology and your previous training.
  9. The days following the IAA are filled with panel and one-to-one interviews with Group Leaders as well as group visits.
  10. Successful candidates are then awarded entry into the EMBL International PhD Programme by the Graduate Committee.

If you have questions about the programme or admission process, you may wish to email the EMBL Graduate Office: or the Research Office at EMBL-EBI: