About the Max Planck School of Photonics

The Max Planck School of Photonics is a highly selective international graduate school that accepts only about 20 students per year. To apply, you must be finishing your bachelor studies with excellent results. The School offers top-level courses and PhD projects in world-leading research groups across 7 locations in Germany, but also very attractive financial support: about 1500 EUR/month during the initial two-year graduate course stage, and about 2200 EUR/month during the PhD project phase (after taxes and insurance). Applications by students with a master degree for direct entry into the PhD research phase are also possible.

More general information about the Max Planck School

Modern Curriculum

During the two-year course, Campus Erlangen will offer a fully up-to-date curriculum that starts with the foundations in physics and reaches all the way to state-of-the-art applications.

Learn about exciting topics such as Bell's inequalities, photonic crystals, optical communications, quantum computation and many others!


Wave phenomena and classical optics, electromagnetism, advanced quantum physics, doing physics with computers, statistical physics, condensed matter physics

Basics of Photonics

Quantum optics, laser lab, atomic physics, quantum electrodynamics, basics of photonics, nonlinear optics, optical communications

Special Courses

Superresolution imaging techniques, signal processing, attosecond physics, cavity optomechanics, integrated photonics, biophotonics, circuit quantum electrodynamics, quantum computation and communication, ...


Design your own research project

Research Internships

Join research groups (or industry) for advanced projects

MPSP mentoring system

Individual guidance and counselling

MPSP training

Block courses, guest lectures

Master’s Thesis

Research towards your Master’s Thesis can be carried out in any research group that is part of the Max Planck School, at any of the universities (Erlangen, Karlsruhe, Jena, Hamburg, Göttingen, Aachen, or Munich) or research institutions (DESY, Max Planck Institutes for Biophysical Chemistry, Quantum Optics, and for the Science of Light, GSI, Fraunhofer IOF and ILT, Leibniz IPHT)

The curriculum of the Max Planck School of Photonics: Campus Erlangen is organized within the context of the

Studying in Erlangen

Erlangen is a university town with a population of around 100,000. It is located in northern Bavaria, close to the city of Nuremberg. Its Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU) is Bavaria's second-largest, with some 40,000 students.

Erlangen has a long tradition in optics research and teaching. It is home to the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light and the Master Programme in Advanced Optical Technologies (MAOT).

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light

Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg

Physics Department Faculty of Engineering

Master Programme in Advanced Optical Technologies

Life and Leisure around Erlangen

Visit (or live in) nearby historical cities like Nuremberg or Bamberg, with a vibrant cultural and arts scene.

Enjoy hiking in the hills and rocky outcrops of 'Franconian Switzerland', half an hour away, which is a famous rock-climbing destination. Travel south to the Alps at the weekend.

Nuremberg Bamberg

Franconian Switzerland

The Lecturers

These are the main lecturers connected to the Max Planck School of Photonics, together with their research topics.

Gerd Leuchs

Quantum Optics, Continuous Variable Quantum Communication, Structured Light

Florian Marquardt

Theoretical Quantum Optics, Optomechanics, Quantum Many-Body Theory, Machine Learning for Physics

Philip Russell

Photonic Crystal Fibres, Nonlinear Optics, Optical Sensing, New Light Sources

Bernhard Schmauss

Optical Communication Technologies, Signal Processing

Maria Chekhova

Nonlinear Quantum Optics, Entangled Light Beams

Peter Hommelhoff

Ultrafast phenomena, Short Pulses, Electron Acceleration by Light

Christoph Marquardt

Quantum Technologies, Quantum Key Distribution, Photonic Links to Satellites

Nicolas Joly

Photonic Crystal Fibres, Nonlinear Optics

Norbert Lindlein

Classical Optics, Optical Sensing, Shaping of Light Fields

In addition to the Max Planck School Fellows listed above, lecturers from the physics and engineering departments and from the Master Programme in Advanced Optical Technologies (MAOT) will be responsible for your graduate courses. See the list of lecturers in MAOT and the department by following the links above.


You have a bachelor’s degree in physics or engineering and apply successfully to the highly selective Max Planck School of Photonics graduate program.

This means you will enjoy two years of initial graduate studies at any of the three designated 'curriculum universities' of MPSP: Erlangen, Jena, or Karlsruhe. Afterwards you will have your choice of research group from among the world-leading teams situated at the 7 locations of the School: Hamburg, Göttingen, Aachen, Munich, Karlsruhe, Jena, and Erlangen. Within another three years, you will complete your PhD at the selected research group.

Go to the Application Form

Note: Don't forget to indicate 'Erlangen' as your preferred campus!