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When you already have an MSc degree, and you don't want to continue where you are or just check your options, you can join a PhD program or apply for a PhD position.

The main difference between the two options is that in PhD programs, application and selection procedures are uniform for an entire institute or department; selection there works similarly to an MSc (graduate) program. A PhD position, in contrast, you apply for with an individual group leader (= professor, principal investigator) whose work you like and who may or may not have advertised such a position.

The most prominent PhD programs (don't confuse with Master's or 'graduate' programs) in Europe are at the EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory) in Heidelberg, at the CRUK (Cancer Research UK) in London, and at the IMP (Institute of Molecular Pathology) in Vienna. (Confusingly, these programs sometimes also take students who hold an excellent BSc degree but not an MSc.)

© Sebastian Springer 2008.

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