Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Please refer to the frequently asked questions and answers below if you have any concerns regarding your application to the FMI International PhD Program (open to all countries).

Q: What are the required degrees / pre-requisites to be eligible to the FMI PhD Program?
A: Applicants must hold a university degree that would formally qualify them to enter a PhD or equivalent program in their home country (MSc., Diploma, DEA, etc.).

Q: Do I need an English certificate to apply to the program?
A: No this is not required. Even though English is the business language used at FMI there is no requirement for you to have an English certificate.

Q: When is the best period to submit my application?
A: The FMI offers 2 rounds of selection every year, with application deadlines usually in May and November (with interviews in June and January respectively).
Thus there is no best period to apply, and you can submit your application whenever you feel is appropriate.
We receive approximately 800 applications every year.

Q: How many openings are offered in each round of selection?
A: The number of openings varies between each round of applications but is in the range of 15 - 25 per year.

Q: Why is there no list of groups that will have positions available?
A: Positions frequently become available only after the application date. You may consider contacting a group leader directly if you wish to enquire about the availability of a position in a particular group. However, we encourage you to join the interviews with an open mind, because we have observed in the past that students become excited about groups and research topics they had not initially considered.

Q: In the application form, I am asked to indicate research groups at FMI that are of particularly interest to me and to write an essay on my specific research interests. Does this anticipate which group I may join?
A: No. Although we use this information to channel the application review, it is the quality, not the topic of the essay that matters most. Candidates that are invited to the interviews can freely explore all available openings, irrespective of previously expressed interests.

Q: Can I apply more than once?
A: Although there is no formal limit on the number of times you can apply, we discourage re-applications because of their low success rates. Hence, you should only consider reapplying if you can update and revise your original application to strengthen it substantially. Please note that due to the volume of applications we are not able to provide feedback on the reasons that specific applicants were not invited.

Q: Can I submit my CV for review before I apply, so you can check that I fulfill all the requirements?
A: Due to the very high number of applications we receive every session, this is unfortunately not possible. Please note that if you have the required degrees then you are allowed to apply.

Q: Do you offer PhD positions in Bioinformatics?
A: Many group leaders at the FMI are involved in bioinformatics projects and FMI has a dedicated Bioinformatics platform composed of 4 permanent members. Thus we encourage you to apply if you are interested in this field of study.

Q: Can I update my application once it has been submitted?
A: Yes. Once you have submitted your application you will receive a confirmation email with a personalized link to update the content of the application. You will be able to modify your application until the submission deadline.

Q: Can I add/remove referees once I have submitted my application?
A: Before the submission deadline, you may add referee(s) to the originally submitted list, but not remove them. Contact details for a total of up to 3 referees can be provided.

Q: Where is the link for my referee to upload the reference letter?
A: Once your application has been submitted, an automated email will be sent to the referee(s) you have entered in the form. The email contains a personalized link for the referee to submit the reference letter.

Q: Once the reference letter has been uploaded by my referee, do I get informed?
A: Yes. Once the referee has submitted the reference letter through our online tool an automated email is sent to the referee and you to inform that the upload has been successful.
However you will not see the content of the letter submitted. If you have not received a confirmation email close to the application deadline, we highly recommend that you contact your referee to ask for a status.

Q: I made a mistake in the email address of my referee, how can I correct it?
A: If you realize that there is a typo in the email address of your referee we ask you to contact your referee and ask him/her to send an email to in order to change the email address. You are not allowed to modify the email address yourself.

Q: Is the deadline for the referees to upload the reference letters the same as the deadline for the candidates to submit their applications?
A: No, referees have one more week after the application deadline to submit the reference letters. However, we strongly encourage you to contact your referees few days before the application deadline to ensure that they send the reference letters on time.

Q: If I am accepted for an interview, will I be reimbursed for the trip and stay in Basel?
A: Yes, the FMI will reimburse you for your travel expenses. You are required to book and pay your travel tickets (plane, train, etc) ahead of your interview and the FMI will reimburse you based on the invoices provided. Your stay in the hotel will also be covered.
The invitation letter you receive after having been selected contains more information and guidelines about the travel expenses. Please do not book your travel until you have confirmed your visit to the FMI.

Q: If I am accepted for a PhD position, will I receive compensation during my time at the FMI?
A: Yes. The FMI provides financial support to graduate students in accordance with the scale of the Swiss National Science Foundation. Income is generous relative to international standards for PhD students (see document in German - English).

If your question is not listed above, please contact for information.

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