FAQs Pre-Doc Internships



I am already a student in Germany or did my bachelor/master in Germany. Am I eligible to apply?

No, our exclusion criteria are: We do not accept applications from students who have lived in Germany in the last three years or did their Bachelor or Master Degree in Germany.

I would like to do a Pre-Doc internship at your institute, but haven’t experienced any significant difficulties constraining my future education. Can I still apply?

Yes, you may apply. However, applicants that can demonstrate significant constraints and comparable qualifications receive preferential status. If you do not meet our internship criteria or you are not accepted for other reasons, you are welcome to send an application directly to your lab of interest and might be accepted without funding of this internship program.

I have graduated with a master’s degree a couple of years ago (and haven’t started a PhD yet). Am I eligible to apply?

It is not a problem if you are not a recent graduate. Applicants may not have started their PhD project until the end of the pre-doc internship, though.

Does my background in [some subject] fit the program?

We do not apply strict criteria on which study programs are eligible for this internship. If your scientific interests lie in one of the fields researched at our institutes and you acquired relevant skills during your studies / professional experience that meet the requirements for our PhD program and the projects you are applying to, you are eligible to apply.

What are the English language proficiency requirements? And do I need to provide a language certificate (e.g. IELTS, TOEFL, etc) with my application?

We require a good command of the English language such that you can fluently communicate with your project supervisor and colleagues, follow scientific talks, and read and write scientific literature in English. We do not require you to provide any certificates but will assess your English proficiency with your application and interview.



I am stateless, which nationality should I provide?

Please enter your country of residence and provide information on your situation in your application (e.g. as an additional document or, if applicable, explain the circumstances in the section detailing factors which negatively impact your career).

Is it a problem if I cannot provide a reference letter?

You need one reference letter from a university professor. Otherwise your application will not be accepted.

I have a reference letter, how is it submitted?

Reference letters should be sent directly by the referee via email to:

graduateprogram (at) bccn-berlin.de

Can I apply to the program a second time?

Once your application was successful and you have completed a Pre-Doc Internship at the BCCN Berlin, you cannot apply for a second internship.

If your application has not been accepted, you are encouraged to apply again. No preference is given to students who have previously applied.

I am currently enrolled in a master degree, which transcripts should I provide?

Please provide a provisional transcript.

Do my documents (transcript, diploma, etc.) need to be in English?

Yes. The coordinating team and scientists reviewing your application will need to be able to read your documents.

The translations don’t need to be done by an official translator. You can translate the documents yourself. Please ensure to translate all of the documents, including explanatory details and footnotes.

How do I make a single PDF from all of my documents?

If your PDF software does not allow you to combine documents into a single PDF, there are online alternatives such as www.ilovepdf.com

We only accept applications which are submitted as a single PDF document.



Can I work on my own project during the internship?

Yes, you can suggest a project yourself. However, you will have to find a supervisor who is willing and able to supervise it.

If you have problems with finding a supervisor, please contact us:

graduateprograms (at) bccn-berlin.de.

Is it best to apply for a single project? Or are my chances better if I apply to several?

You should apply to those projects/labs that you are interested in - there is no limit. You may apply to several labs which you would like to work with, if they fit your background and interests.

Note that applying to several projects / labs may increase your chances because several applicants may apply to the same lab and there is limited space. Thus, the more projects / labs that you apply for, the more opportunities you have of finding an internship.


Visa, Travel, and Accommodation

How do I apply for a visa / can you provide me with the documents I need for my visa?

If you need a visa, you will be required to apply for your visa yourself.

After the selection committee has made their decision, we will send you a letter confirming your acceptance to our program. With this letter, you will be able to begin your visa application.

Please inform yourself about the visa formalities at your German embassy during your application process for the Pre-Doc internship to be familiar with the process and the conditions.

Please make sure to make an appointment for the visa at the German consulate as soon as you get your acceptance letter. Visa application can take up to four months.

Does the program pay my visa fees?

We are not able to cover fees associated with obtaining your visa. However, the program includes a good fellowship that covers living expenses, health insurance and accommodation as well as compensation for travel costs. Thus you will be able to compensate your visa fee during your stay.

Is it difficult to find accommodation in Berlin?

Yes. Finding accommodation is increasingly difficult in Berlin. We are currently working on a solution to facilitate the process.

We will connect you to current BCCN Berlin students who may be able to help you finding accommodation.



We are in the process of finding a solution for you to open a German bank account for your stay.


Student Status

You will enroled at the university as a “program student” during your stay. The student status provides you with many benefits including free access to public transportation services (subway, local trains, buses, trams), discounted entrance to events in Berlin, reduced meals at the university restaurants/cafeterias, as well as a reduced health insurance fee. The enrolment costs around 50.- Euro/month, and will be covered by your fellowship rate. We will assist you with the enrolment process after you have been accepted to our internship program.


Health Insurance

You need to have a health insurance during your stay in Germany as a student/intern. We will assist you in obtaining a public health insurance e.g. with the Technische Krankenkasse (TK).  For students, public health insurance costs ~80€/month and will be covered by your fellowship rate.


Other Insurances

As an intern you need to have a liability insurance which covers damages that you might cause to third parties e.g. equipment, personal belongings etc. The small monthly fee can be covered with your fellowship rate.

We will assist in finding and buying this insurance.



Where do the internships take place, and can they be virtual?

The internship will take place in Berlin. We are not offering virtual internships.

Can I still attend courses at my home university during the internship?

The internship is full-time. However, in special cases, in agreement with your supervisor you might be able to attend other courses, events or activities during the working hours. We recommend though to participate as much as possible in the BCCN Berlin teaching activities during your stay.