Admission requirements

Who can register for Life@FAU?

Doctoral students from the Faculty of Medicine and the Department of Biology can register for Life@FAU. The prerequisite for admission to the Life@FAU is the realisation of a doctoral thesis with a medical, biological or biophysical question. You may not have started your doctoral thesis more than 6 months ago (transition period 12 months). The Steering Committee decides on a case-by-case basis in all other cases (e.g. Dr. Ing., doctoral students from other faculties, other doctoral degrees in collaborative projects with the Medical Faculty/Department of Biology).

Can I still join if I complete my doctoral thesis shortly?

This is only possible for members of structured training programmes, if all achievements are confirmed by the coordinator and meet the requirements of Life@FAU.

Is it possible to register without participation in a Research Training Group?

A registration is basically possible. Doctoral students without a Research Training Group connection have the possibility to register to the IZKF Research Training Group and to make use of the IZKF training offers. If you do not wish to join the IZKF Research Training Group, you and your direct supervisor are responsible for fulfilling the prescribed training modules through other suitable offers (e.g. from the Graduate School of Life Sciences, external offers). This includes bearing the costs for further training programmes etc. yourself.

Is there a possibility of a lateral entry into Life@FAU?

Lateral entries into Life@FAU are possible provided that the minimum requirements have been largely met so far or can be met within the framework of a structured training programme.


Which documents do I need for the registration?

The following documents are required for registration: application form, curriculum vitae, brief summary of the doctoral project and a copy of the supervision agreement. Since 2021 we also need the confirmation of your doctorate at FAU.

Who signs the supervision agreement with natural scientists?

As a rule, the supervision agreement for natural scientists who write their doctoral thesis at institutions of the Medical Faculty is signed between the direct supervisor from the Medical Faculty (and not the direct supervisor from the Faculty of Natural Sciences) and the doctoral student.

Must the supervision agreements (for physicians and scientists), available on the Life@FAU homepage, be used?

No. Other forms of supervision agreements can also be used.

Until when do I have to register for Life@FAU?

The application for admission to the Life@FAU should be submitted within 6 months after registration of the doctoral project or at the beginning of the experimental work at the latest (medical doctoral candidates).

Training modules

Overview of requirements (training modules)

Please note that these are the minimum requirements of Life@FAU. Each graduate school can also define further mandatory training modules.

Module Regulations for
Dr. med.
Regulations for
Dr. rer. nat./ Dr. rer. biol. hum.
Verification by
Mentoring Committee
at the beginning of the experimental work (full-time research /scholarship),
after completion of the experimental works (full-time research /scholarship) and
afterwards annually until the doctorate is submitted
initial meeting
then annual meetings and
meeting at the end
short protocol (remains in the study book = Studienbuch)
for members of the IZKF Research Training Group and members without GRK-connection: submission of copy at IZKF administrative office
Presentation at national conferences
in total at least one
in total at least two
accepted abstract and programme
Jour fixe
organized by Phd  students
in total at least 6 participations (one lecture)
at least 6 of 8 meetings per year during duration of PhD (3 years, in total at least 18 participations), annual lecture
documented in the relevant form
Guest speaker seminars
in total at least 10 seminars
annually, at least 10 seminars during duration of PhD (3 years, in total at least 30 seminars)
List/entry in online study book
The guest speaker seminars attended are to be reviewed and confirmed during the meetings with the mentoring committee
Subject-specific and interdisciplinary further training courses
in total at least 2 training courses
in total at least 3 training courses
certificate of participation
Internal retreat
in total at least one participation one participation every year (in total at least 3 participations) certificate of participation
in total at least one
one participation at least one
certificate of participation /proof
at least one
at least one Publikation







Mentoring Committee

Who elects the Mentoring Committee?

The members of the Mentoring Committee are appointed by the doctoral student.

Is the supervisor entitled to take the examination/ official supervisor of the doctoral thesis part of the Mentoring Committee?

The members of the Mentoring Committee are appointed independently of the official supervisor of the doctoral thesis. If the official supervisor wishes to participate, this is of course also possible.

How many members does the Mentoring Committee have?

The Mentoring Committee consists of three supervisors, of which at least one (medical students: two) member must be entitled to confer the PhD degree.

Do I need to consider the institution when selecting members for my Mentoring Committee?

Yes, at least one member of the Mentoring Committee must belong to another institution.

How often do I have to meet with my Mentoring Committee?

• Medical doctoral candidates: initial meeting at the beginning of the experimental work (full time research/scholarship), meeting after completion of the experimental work (full time research/scholarship), then annually until submission of the PhD thesis.
• Scientific doctoral students: initial meeting, thereafter annual meetings until the end of the research work, final meeting

By when must the doctoral project be presented to the Mentoring Committee?

Each doctoral student must present their doctoral project by submitting a research proposal or a project outline and a lecture to the Mentoring Committee 3 months after admission to the Life@FAU. A copy must be sent to the Life@FAU administrative office, this does not apply to members of other research training groups.


Does Life@FAU provide travel funds for participation in symposia?

No. Life@FAU cannot provide any travel funds itself.

Who can cover travel expenses for participation in symposia??

The travel costs must be borne by your institution or your graduate school. Please note: Within the IZKF Research Training Group, the IZKF travel pool is only available for doctoral students financed by IZKF projects.

Jour Fixe

Is it possible to set up independent jour fixes and what is necessary?

The Life@FAU Steering Committee and the IZKF Management Board decide on the establishment of a Jour fixe (JF). In principle, the JF must meet the following requirements: a thematically coherent concept (description on half a page/DINA4), usually interdisciplinary, generally open to further participants and publicly announced via the Life@FAU homepage, and in any case a sufficient number of doctoral candidates (approx. 30 participants in the long term), so that a critical mass can be guaranteed in each meeting. The programme of the JF has to address content-related- (lectures of the doctoral students) and methodological aspects (presentation of technologies). In addition, each JF requires a supervisor (usually an appointed professor) who guarantees the functionality and quality of the JF.

Can I participate in the JF without registering in the IZKF Research Training Group?

Yes, that is possible.

How often do I have to participate in the JF and do I have to present my project?

You are obliged to attend at least six meetings per year and to present your own work (once a year).

Is it possible to switch within offered Jour fixes?

Yes, you can switch from one JF to another. It is also possible that you may attend meetings of a JF even though you belong to another JF. Please inform the JF spokespersons and the Life@FAU administrative office. The dates of the JF meetings can be found under the following link: https://www.life.fau.de/veranstaltungsuebersicht/seminare/

Guest speaker seminars

What requirements must a guest speaker seminar meet?

Guest speaker seminars are lectures by renowned scientists from other domestic and foreign institutions. They are announced publicly. The seminar must take place live.

Where can I find an overview of the guest speaker seminars?

You will find an overview of the lecture series that you are welcome to attend on the Life@FAU homepage. This list does not claim to be complete. Of course, you may also attend other guest speaker seminars and have them documented in your Studienbuch.

Is it possible to get credits for several guest speaker seminars during one symposium or congress?

No. The attendance of several guest speaker seminars at one symposium can only be considered as one lecture. If the symposium is also evaluated as a retreat or congress participation, an additional credit as a guest speaker seminar is not possible.


Does Life@FAU itself offer courses?

No. The courses are offered and financed by the respective Research Training Groups. Life@FAU does not have any funds at its disposal in this matter.

Can I receive credits for Word- , PowerPoint- or similar courses?

No. Word and PowerPoint are regarded as basic knowledge and cannot be credited as soft skills courses.

Which courses are approved?

Only courses offered within the programme of Life@FAU and the Research Training Groups as well as the Graduate School can be recognized.
Please note: Since 18.04.2023 we can accept courses with a minimum duration of 4 hours. Courses before that date must have a duration of 8 hours.

In individual cases, courses offered by external providers may be also approved. Please contact the Life@FAU administrative office in advance on this matter. New courses must be listed in the training programme of Life@FAU and the Graduate School and be announced via the corresponding websites and distribution lists.


Can I receive credits for retreats plus lecture within a working group instead of credits for the IZKF Research Training Groups?

No. However, a lecture/presentation at a congress (exceptionally and on individual request) or at the IZKF Postgraduate Workshop/ IZKF Symposium, provided that a poster is presented there, would be creditable. No contribution can be credited twice.

In which retreat can I participate without being a member of the Research Training Group?

The IZKF Research Training Group invites doctoral students without connection to a research training goup to their internal retreat.


How do I prove that my training modules have been completed?

The Studienbuch must be kept as proof of performance. The doctoral candidate is responsible for having all achievements documented in the Studienbuch. (paper or online)

Where can I find the templates for the Studienbuch?

The Studienbuch forms are available on the Life@FAU homepage under the following link: https://www.life.fau.de/teilnahme/studienhandbuch


Will a certificate be issued for the participation in life@FAU?

Yes, after successful completion of the PhD examination and all training modules (documented in the Studienbuch and confirmed by the coordinator, if relevant, to the Life@FAU administrative office), a certificate of successful participation in the Graduate School for Life Sciences will be issued. A copy of the PhD certificate must be submitted to the IZKF administrative office.

Is it possible to receive a preliminary certificate?

It is possible to receive a preliminary certificate for the application phase of the doctoral students.

Members of Research Training Groups (RTGs)

Does the research outline/-proposal have to be submitted by members of current research training groups

No, that is not necessary.

Do I have to additionally perform work that was not previously required within the framework of the RTG?

No. All existing research training groups meet the minimum requirements of Life@FAU. The requirements of the research training group must be fulfilled on an ongoing basis. Individual documentation of accomplished training offers in the Studienbuch for lateral entrants does not have to take place until the time of registration. For admissions as of 01 October 2018, all achievements must be fully documented.

Can earlier achievements be credited? How exactly is this done? Which steps must be taken?

An accomplishment of individual achievements prior to registration in Life@FAU is not required. The speaker of the RTG confirms the fulfilment of the requirements of Life@FAU in total.

Can this also be accomplished with academic achievements (Good Scientific Practice)?

An accomplishment of earlier achievements is not required.

Do I have to request the signatures of my supervisors again?

This is not necessary. The naming is sufficient, if the version signed by all supervisors is available in the respective RTG office.


Can medical doctoral students be admitted to Life@FAU without a scholarship?

A scholarship is not required for admission to Life@FAU.

Can medical doctoral students with reduced research time be admitted to Life@FAU?

No. The research period of 9 months must be strictly adhered to.

PhD procedure

How does the Graduate School for Life Sciences relate to my doctoral studies/the doctoral degree regulations?

The Graduate School Life@FAU (like the IZKF Graduate School, which is now part of Life@FAU) offers a structured training programme parallel to the PhD studies, i.e. the doctorate and the regulations laid down in the doctoral degree regulations are to be seen independently of Life@FAU. In order to receive the Life@FAU certificate, only the doctoral degree must be proven on the basis of the doctoral certificate. Otherwise, the formal doctoral procedure and the training programme at Life@FAU are independent of each other.