Physics at the University of Regensburg and University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

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The Elite Graduate Programme

The regular physics degree courses at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) and University of Regensburg provide excellent and broad education for physics students who aim for a great variety of ambitious and successful careers in industry, teaching and academia.

However, some students decide, early on, to pursue a career in academic research. They seek suitably tailored courses and additional training in demanding research projects as well as summer and winter schools.

The Elite Graduate Programme in Physics – a unique course of studies funded directly by the Bavarian state government and this university – offers precisely this: exclusive research-focused courses embedded into the standard physics programme at Erlangen and Regensburg which are complemented by an extensive programme of research schools and social activities.

Entry into the programme – from within this university or from other universities worldwide – regularly takes place at the beginning or during the second year of undergraduate studies. Admission is contingent upon very strong academic performance during the first year of university studies, which needs to be demonstrated on paper and in an interview with a panel of university professors. An open mind and a well rounded personality are further requirements for admission.

Mastering the Art of Research

Research is an art as much as a science. The Elite Graduate Programme teaches both, through the following means:

Integrated courses

Both vision and technical skill are required to conceive of original and relevant research projects and to successfully execute them.

Learning this requires a highly individualized process that strongly benefits from students being taught and supervised intensively in small learning groups.

The programme achieves this by combining the theoretical and experimental standard courses in each semester into one single integrated course – taught by one experimenter and one theorist to only a small number of students – in order to allow for the cross-fertilizations that are so important for conceiving and judging research ideas.

Research Projects

Mastery of any art needs practice galore. Three research projects – injecting students in the programme directly into research teams – will provide for this essential aspect. These take students to the research frontier very early on. Particular emphasis is placed upon gradually enabling students to work independently.


Masterful communication of great ideas is as important as their conception. Semi-annual Study Days and an annual Study Week provide intensive training for communication of what students have learnt or discovered in their projects. The Study Week will usually highlight one area of physics of foundational importance or an area of current research interest, which will be chosen together by students and professors.

The Study Days and the Study Week are a unique opportunity for students to interact informally with professors, invited guest speakers from all over the world and their fellow research training course students from Regensburg and Erlangen. Many scientific ideas are born in such informal settings

Access to Other Lectures and Seminars

There is nothing lost, only opportunities gained. Students admitted to the Elite Graduate Programme of course continue to have full access to the entire spectrum of advanced courses offered at the University beyond the programme. This way, students in the programme can freely combine courses to suit their individual plans.

Degrees and certificates

Regularly the programme is concluded with a Ph.D., but intermediate B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees and a special certificate by the Bavarian state government are also obtained.


English is the lingua franca of international science, and thus courses are taught in English throughout.

Study course

Initial phase Intense study phase Intense research phase
I II III IV V VI VII / VIII 2.5 - 4 years
Experimental Physics 1 + 2 Experimental Physics 3 Integrated Course 1 Integrated Course 2 Integrated Course 3 Sabbatical Semester
Theoretical Physics 1 Theoretical Physics 2 Voluntary Advanced Lectures
EC:N-P Soft Skills EC:N-P EC:N-P
Introductory Laboratory Course Project Laboratory Course Laboratory Course in Electronics EC:P Bachelor's thesis Master's thesis
Math 1 Math 2 Math 3 EC:P
EC:P EC:P Master's colloquium
Mathematical Methods EC:P EC:P
Research Project 1 Research Project 2 Research Project 3 Research Project 4
Student Workshop Student Workshop Yearly Student Workshop

You can find the detailed examination regulations here


Physics students from any university, who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance during their first year of university studies and have a substantial interest in pursuing a research career, are encouraged to apply to the Elite Graduate Programme.

Deadline for entry of a full application (cv, letter of motivation, transcript of records) is 15th August (15th February for entry after the third semester) each year. These documents must be entered via the online form on the left. Suitable candidates will be invited for interview, and successful applicants will receive their offers shortly afterwards.

If you want to apply, please send an email to Please include your name, your curriculum vitae, a letter of motivation, your high school diploma and your transcript of records.


If there are any questions left, do not hesitate to contact us via

or contact one of the organizers for Erlangen / Regensburg

Prof. Dr. Kristina Giesel
University of Erlangen-Nürnberg
Institute for Quantum Gravity
Theoretical Physics III
Staudtstr. 7
D-91058 Erlangen

P:  +49 9131 85 28470
Prof. Dr. Christoph Strunk
University of Regensburg
Institute for Experimental and Applied Physics
Universitätsstraße 31
D-93053 Regensburg

P:  +49 941 9433199