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4.5-6 years
Full time
Doctorate / PhD
Scholarships available
On campus
September 2021
Application deadline: 08 January 2021

Program description

PhD in Physics

Physics at IST Austria comprises theoretical and experimental approaches.

On the theory side, research areas include atomic, molecular, and optical physics, theoretical condensed matter physics and quantum dynamics, mathematical physics, biophysics, physical principles in biological systems, as well as soft matter theory and materials design.

Experimental research is carried out in the areas of fluid dynamics/turbulence, soft and complex materials, quantum thermodynamics, nanoelectronics, quantum integrated devices, quantum sensing with atoms and light, condensed matter and quantum circuits, condensed matter and ultrafast optics, and nanoscale photonics for biology.

Experimental research in the realm of physical chemistry encompasses functional nanomaterials and materials electrochemistry.

Admission requirements

IST Austria welcomes students with different academic backgrounds who can bring their skills and experiences to the scientific setting.

Students with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in biology, neuroscience, mathematics, computer science, physics, data science and scientific computing and related areas are encouraged to apply.

Selection criteria

The selection committee uses a collection of indicators to evaluate the applicant’s preparedness, motivation, and potential. The following will be considered:

Scientific promise:

  • Undergraduate performance: overall, with a special focus on relevant field-specific courses
  • Reference letters provided by professors and senior scientists: one letter from industry is acceptable, but letters from an academic background are given priority; referees are asked to address analytical capabilities, technical proficiency, ability to work independently and motivation/commitment;
  • Statement of purpose: the applicant’s past research experience and motivation for applying to this particular PhD program: is it a good academic fit? does the program contribute to the candidate’s future career plans?, etc.;
  • Additional relevant skills (field-specific): demonstrated in, e.g., internships and/or participation in research projects, participation in science Olympiads, programming languages, lab techniques, etc.


  • Quality of the undergraduate background, i.e. quality of the institution attended
  • Transferable skills: e.g. communication skills, experience with working in teams, previous mobility and international experiences, leadership experience as demonstrated in student organizations, etc.;
  • Diversity: e.g. a woman in computer science/math/physics; an applicant who switched fields, etc.

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Program content

  • Non-Linear and Time-Resolved Optical Spectroscopy of Strongly Correlated Electron Systems
  • High-resolution Optical Imaging for Biology
  • Mathematics of Disordered Quantum Systems and Matrices
  • Quantum Integrated Devices
  • Materials Electrochemistry
  • Soft Matter Theory and Materials Design
  • Physical Principles in Biological Systems
  • Condensed Matter and Quantum Circuits
  • Nonlinear Dynamics and Turbulence
  • Quantum Sensing with Atoms and Light
  • Functional Nanomaterials
  • Nanoelectronics
  • Theoretical Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
  • Thermodynamics of Quantum Materials at the Microscale
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Condensed Matter Theory & Quantum Dynamics
  • Theoretical Biophysics and Neuroscience
  • Soft and Complex Materials

Scholarships & funding

All our PhD students are fully funded, at internationally competitive salary levels, and receive full social security coverage.

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About this institute

Institute of Science and Technology Austria logo

Institute of Science and Technology Austria

Located just outside Vienna, the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) is an international institute dedicated to basic research and graduate education in Biology, Computer Science, Data Science & Scientific Computing, Mathematics, Neuroscience and Physics. In 2019, IST...

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Contact info

Institute of Science and Technology Austria

Am Campus 1
3400 Klosterneuburg

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