Applying for a position

The Research Training Group will start in April 2020 and we intend to hire 4 PhD students starting on April 1, 2020. Further positions will be filled in October 2020 and – usually – in April and October of the forthcoming years. You can now submit applications on this web site for positions starting April 1, 2020, and October 1, 2020, respectively. The legally binding text is the German formal announcement of the positions. See the bottom of this page for information on the schedule for applications in November/December 2019 .

What we offer

The positions that we offer

The positions we offer to PhD students are 3-year-positions at a salary level of 75% of an E13 TV-L position. (This will result in a net income of roughly 1,800 EUR/month in the first year, the exact figure depending on your tax situation. You can obtain more precise information from pages like this one . After one
year, there will be a salary raise (Erfahrungsstufe 2).)

Since these positions are funded by the German Research Foundation, there are no teaching duties. Our qualification program is an on-site program based on physical presence of the PhD students.

Doing your PhD in Essen

The Essen Seminar for Algebraic Geometry and Arithmetic is one of the largest clusters in this area in Germany. Ten research groups are part of the new Research Training Group, covering research fields such as algebraic geometry, complex geometry, arithmetic geometry, algebraic number theory, global analysis, algebraic topology. We have a large group of PhD students, postdocs and visitors here at Essen, and have many joint activities such as our weekly research seminars and summer schools.

Each term, there are several specialized courses at an advanced master’s/early PhD level. As a member of the ALGANT consortium we have several students from abroad in our master’s program each year. Courses we offered in the previous few terms .

It is important to us to provide a family-friendly environment at ESAGA. The university has several offers regarding child care for children of PhD students and postdocs in place, and we will be glad to help you in setting these things up. Please do get in touch if you would like us to provide further details. We are committed to raising the proportion of female mathematicians in our group and especially encourage female students to apply.

The Research Training Group 2553

As a member of the research training group, you will be supervised by a principal advisor and a second advisor with related research interests. The topic of your thesis will be chosen soon after your arrival in Essen together with you.

During the term, we have a number of research seminars and other weekly events. More information

We have funding for travel expenses which will allow you to visit workshops or schools in other places (typically once a year). We also envisage that every PhD student completes one longer stay in another university, possibly abroad, during her or his PhD. Such a stay would typically last between 3 and 6 weeks.

What we expect from you — requirements

  • You have completed a master’s degree in mathematics with very good success (or will have completed the degree until the starting date of the position)
  • You have very good knowledge in at least one of the research areas of the Research Training Group
  • You are interested in pursuing a PhD degree in one of these areas, and motivated to contribute to the Research Training Group (by, for instance, attending seminars and giving talks there, talking to other people in the RTG, participating in summer schools/workshops/…)
  • You are fluent in English


If you will be offered one of the positions, and you are not a citizen of the European Union, then you will need a visa for Germany which allows you to work here. We will be glad to assist you by providing supportive documents, and help you with the formalities once you are in Germany, but it is ultimately your responsibility to obtain a visa in due time. Please check early on what the requirements are and what the expected time line would be.

Applying for a PhD student position

We require the following documents to be submitted with an application

  • a CV covering in detail the studies in mathematics and related activities so far,
  • a “letter of intent” describing the motivation of the applicant for doing a PhD in one of our research areas, and naming one or two possible advisors that she/he would like to work with, and a summary (half a page to one page) of the (expected) content of the master’s thesis,
  • (possibly partial) transcripts of records of your master’s degree and your bachelor’s degree,
  • A piece of mathematical writing authored by you (like a chapter of the master’s thesis, or the bachelor’s thesis, or – if possible – the finished master’s thesis),
  • references to two mathematicians who are willing to support your application by sending us a letter of recommendation (one of them would typically be the advisor of the master’s thesis). The participating scientists of the Research Training Group are eligible as letter writers. The letter writers do not have to be professors, but should have a PhD and have experience with advising students. Please give us the name, institution and email address of your letter writers. We will then contact them directly and have the letters sent directly to us.

How the process will continue

We will review all applications. The most promising candidates will be asked to visit Essen for a short research talk about the contents of their master’s thesis and for an interview. In cases where this would be impractical, we will also conduct interviews via video conference. The talks are open to all members of the Research Training Group. Each interview is led by two participating scientists who are designated in advance. The interviews are open to the participating scientists only. In addition to the talk and the interview, there will also be the possibility of talking informally to some of the PIs.

Based on the interviews, we will make the final decision about admission to the Research Training Group.

We will be looking for candidates that

  • have obtained (or are expected to obtain, resp.) their master’s degree quickly and with excellent marks,
  • have a strong mathematical background in one of the research areas of the RTG,
  • gave a clear talk as part of their interview,
  • left a good impression in the interview regarding their motivation and potential of doing a PhD in our group,
  • optimally, have already had a first hand research experience during the preparation of their master’s thesis.

Acceptance of an applicant requires an unanimous vote of all participating scientists and the declaration of one of the participating scientists that she/he is willing to serve as the principal advisor of the PhD student.

We especially encourage female students to apply.

Schedule for applications in November/December 2019

We are accepting applications for positions to be filled in April 2020. You will also be able to apply for a position to be filled in October 2020 already at this point. There will be a second round of applications for the October positions in the spring/early summer.

Since the final decision of the German Research Foundation on our Research Training Group is very recent, for the November/December 2019 applications our schedule is very tight. If you intend to apply, please start preparing your application right away, and keep in mind the following dates and strict deadlines:

  • The deadline for submitting an application is December 20, 2019 (23:59h Essen time, at which time we will close the web portal accepting applications; you will still be able to see the status of submitted applications)
  • When an application is submitted, we will ask the two persons named as references for letters of recommendation. The deadline when these letters have to be submitted to us is January 2, 2020. The earlier you submit your application, the more time the letter writers will have to write a thoroughly thought out letter in your support. You must contact the letter writers before you fill in their name in the form on our site and ask them if they are willing to write a letter for you. Please already inform them of the deadline for letters of recommendation. You can also pass on the link to the page containing further information for letter writers . If we do not receive two recommendation letters for you until January 2, 2020, the chances of success of your application will be seriously diminished.
  • We will make a decision on which candidates are invited to an interview in the week of January 6 to January 9, 2020, and inform the successful candidates immediately after.
  • The interviews for the positions starting in April will take place in Essen on January 23 and January 24, 2020. We will decide on interview dates for the October positions later. Update: We will have interviews for the October positions on March 10 and 11, 2020.
  • We will decide to whom we offer a position shortly thereafter and inform the successful candidates by the end of January (or, at the latest, in the first week of February). In order to be hired as of April 1, 2020, you will then have to decide quickly whether you accept our offer. For the positions to be filled in October 2020, there will be more time.