The VDS-P Program

The Vienna Doctoral School in Physics offers doctoral training across all key research areas of the Faculty of Physics at the University of Vienna.

You can apply for the program all year around. Note that, in order to start your PhD at the University of Vienna, you need to find a supervisor who can offer you a position. We therefore advise you to apply according to the current open positions which you will find listed below. 

University of Vienna

Matter-Wave Interferometry 
(Prof. Arndt)

Open Position: Cooling of silicon nanorods into rotational quantum states
Our project focuses on novel techniques to launch and cool dielectric nanoparticles for advanced quantum interference experiments, aiming at pushing the interface between quantum physics and the classical world.

Website research group >>

Quantum Imaging and Biophysics
(Dr. Thomas Juffmann) 

1. Cavity enhanced microscopy for live cell imaging

Phase microscopy has applications from biology to diagnostics. In your project you will employ cavities and wave-front shaping techniques to push the sensitivity of phase microscopy. In an interdisciplinary environment at the interface of physics and biology you will design and use your tools for live cell microscopy, as well as for the detection of single proteins.

2. Electron optics made from light

Electron microscopy has revolutionized our understanding of structural biology. While the technology is considered mature, the interaction of electrons with intense lasers recently opened new possibilities for electron optics. In your project you will use femtosecond laser pulses to shape the wave-front of an electron beam via shaped ponderomotive potentials. This will allow for a new class of electron optics of unprecedented versatility.

The two experimental PhD positions are available within the framework of the ERC Starting Grant MicroMOUPE.

Website research group >>

Disorder in Materials
(Prof. Jani Kotakoski) 

1. In situ electron microscopy of 2D materials
The main focus of the group is on the analysis and manipulation of the structure of low-dimensional materials (such as graphene and other two-dimensional systems) via aberration corrected transmission electron microscopy. The current research project is related to the influence of defects and temperature on out-of-plane corrugations, strain, and fracture characteristics of two-dimensional materials, observed at the atomic-resolution. The successful candidate is expected to take an independent role in designing the details of their PhD project.

2. Control over the Properties of 2D Materials at the Atomic Level

The main focus of the group is on the analysis and manipulation of the structure of low-dimensional materials (such as graphene and other two-dimensional systems) at the atomic level. The tools range from state-of-the-art aberration corrected transmission electron microscopy including in situ straining, heating and electric measurements through ion irradiation and implantation to atomistic simulations. At the moment, one open position is related to the influence of defects and temperature on out-of-plane corrugations, strain, and fracture characteristics of two-dimensional materials, observed at the atomic-resolution, whereas one or two additional positions are in the field of structural manipulation of 2D materials through ion irradiation. The successful candidate(s) is expected to take an independent role in designing the details of their PhD project.

Website research group >>

Low Dimensional Quantum Solids
(Prof. Thomas Pichler)

1. 1D, 2D and 3D Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs)
MOFs represent a new class of compounds that consist of metal nodes and organic ligands to form various nanostructures. Our project, in cooperation with TU Wien and J. Heyrovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry in Prague, aims to study quantum confinement effects in MOFs for optoelectronic and spintronic applications.
Link 1 Vienna
Link 2
Link 3 Prague
2. Advanced nanochemistry and nanospectroscopy in filled nanotubes
Website research group >>




VDS Physics Application Procedure

Pre-selectionBeginning of December, March, June and September

Possible hearings

Mid January, April, July and October

Note that the cut off-date for the hearing in July 2018 is June 1. When your application arrived after this time you will be considered for the hearing in October. 

Next hearingJuly 16 & 17


Note that if you hand in your application after our pre-selection, you will automatically be considered for the next round. 

How to apply?

The VDS Physics opens calls for doctoral fellowships throughout the year. The hearings usually take place in Mid January, April, July and October. 

All application materials should be submitted electronically via our online application system. Admission to the VDS Physics is competitive and we can therefore not consider incomplete applications. Please also make sure to read into the different research groups and their projects before applying.  

Pre-selected candidates will be invited to a hearing in Vienna. The VDS Physics will refund travel expenses within reason and provide accommodation.

Once admitted to the VDS Physics, you will receive a Welcome Letter providing information about how to get started in Vienna. 


Admission to the VDS program is a three-stage process: 


1) Online application

Candidates are invited to provide their application documents via the online submission system.

They are requested to inform their academic advisors that these need to upload their recommendations via this link. These recommendations will be treated confidentially and they will not be shared with the applicants.

All candidates will be notified of the decision of the pre-selection committee. 


2) Hearing in Vienna

Short-listed candidates will be invited to a two-day hearing in Vienna. The candidates will be asked to give short presentations and to participate in interviews with the selection committee. The candidates will have the opportunity to visit the VDS Physics research groups, inform themselves about the research projects, meet their potential supervisors and fellow students.

Selection in this second stage is based on academic achievements, scientific promise and research personality as well as the commitment to actively contribute to the community building goals of the VDS. The University of Vienna is an equal opportunity employer. Doctoral candidates will be considered independent of gender, race, religion or nationality.
The short-listed candidates will be notified of the final decision of the selection committee shortly after the hearing and can start their PhD any time of the year, upon agreement with their supervisor.
Acceptance to the Doctoral school of Physics terminates after about one year, unless it is extended by step 3.


3) Faculty-open presentation of the research project

All doctoral students at the University of Vienna must present their research project in front of the faculty, before the end of the first year of their PhD studies.

There are two such presentation days, one each around the end of the winter and the summer term.
More information can be found here

Upon successful acceptance at this 3rd stage VDS students become full members in the VDS program and will be listed as doctoral fellows of the University of Vienna to visibly recognize that they have passed the same competitive selection procedure.


  • Applications are generally only considered once per candidate. Re-applications will only be considered if evidence for substantial additional qualifications (compared to the last selection procedure) can be provided.
  • Also all personalized benefits (travel support etc.) are exclusively reserved for VDS doctoral fellows. 
  • VDS students and fellows are employed according to local Austrian rules, usually through funds provided by their thesis supervisors. All VDS students and fellows are encouraged to work towards completing the PhD degree within the 1+3 years.
  • Students accepted to the VDS need to follow the enrolment procedures for all doctoral students at the University of Vienna.

Information for students already pursuing a PhD at the Faculty of Physics at the University of Vienna:
Please note that we can only accept applications from students who have not yet presented the doctoral thesis project at the faculty OR who are within the first one year after the presentation at the faculty. The cut-off date is the application deadline.