More than just a flexible doctoral program: Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science

Whether it is developing more secure smartphones, improving medical procedures or finding new imaging methods for Hollywood, the computer science department in Saarbrücken provides a space for young scientists to tackle a broad range of research topics. The Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science supports a selected number of students on their way to a doctorate with a structured program. Particularly talented students can even pursue their goal of a PhD from a Bachelor’s degree level onwards. For further information, visit the Saarbrücken Graduate School for Computer Science at the CeBIT computer fair in Hannover between March 14 and 18 (Hall 6, Stand D 28).

Foto: Oliver Dietze

Oliver Schranz applies scientific methods to track data spies on smartphones, and Konrad Jamrozik has developed a system that protects software against currently unknown forms of attack. As different as their work may seem, their research comes from the same place. Both are graduate students enrolled at the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science. A special feature is that particularly talented students can begin their doctoral studies as soon as they acquire a Bachelor's degree. Numerous young researchers from all over world apply to one of the 30 places offered each year.

The program of the Graduate School is divided into two phases: in the preparatory phase, students attend lectures on a wide range of computer science related topics, while gaining deeper insights into ongoing research at the same time. An academic mentor supports them in this phase. The Graduate School pays students a monthly grant of at least 800 Euros, so that they can focus entirely on their budding research. “Depending on what prior knowledge they have, this phase is customized to meet students’ individual interests,” says Professor Andreas Zeller, who is responsible for the Graduate School admissions procedure. “Our PhD students are free to familiarize themselves with various areas of research.” They can either get into research at Saarland University, or at one of the other world-renowned research institutions located on campus in Saarbrücken, such as the Max Planck Institute for Informatics. Students can take their pick with 75 working groups in fields as diverse as bioinformatics, cyber security or software engineering.

During the classical graduation phase, the Graduate School continues to support its doctoral candidates. Apart from the PhD supervisors, the entire Saarbrücken computer science department takes responsibility. Some 75 professors and researchers are there to support doctoral students with their research. Additionally, grad students can exchange knowledge and develop networks of their own. “With our offer, we are in fact competing with elite universities like Stanford and Cambridge,” says Zeller. Saarbrücken Graduate School fellows have made it into a whole range of research institutions worldwide after graduating. “Some of our former PhD students have stayed in research, at the Swiss Institute of Technology ETH in Zurich for example, while others work for technology companies like Google. Others yet have realized their own ideas and started a business. Here, the Gründercampus Saar start-up program provides additional advice and support for graduates,“ Zeller reports.

Apart from the computer science department at Saarland University, the institutions participating in the Graduate School are the two Max Planck Institutes for Informatics, and Software Systems, respectively, the Center for IT Security, Privacy and Accountability (Cispa), the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), and the Intel Visual Computing Institute. The Saarbrücken Graduate School has been funded by the Initiative of Excellence of the German federal and state governments since 2007, now in its second round.

Further Information:

Press photo can be found here:

Media Inquiries:
Dr. Michelle Carnell
Managing Director
Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science
Phone: +49 681 302-5523

Prof. Dr. Andreas Zeller
Tel.: +49 681 302-70971

Gordon Bolduan
Science Communication
Competence Center Computer Science Saarland
Phone: +49 681 302-70741

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