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The PhD curriculum is covering a minimum of three years, with two module blocks of three months each held at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich and in between research periods of 12 to 18 months abroad. The last and final stay in Munich will be a brief period of about two weeks, when the defense and the final graduation ceremony will take place. The following paragraphs give an overview of the general outline of the curriculum.

Module Block I 

Accepted candidates will start in Munich at the end of September/ beginning of October with the first module block (MB I) of three months duration. In this block, all candidates are supposed to pass the same curriculum, independent of their research subject, to ensure a common basis of knowledge of candidates with different backgrounds and different scientific interests. The different subjects will cover general health issues, research methodology, health systems research, but also subjects on social competence (soft skills). The main focus of the MB I lie in medical topics, epidemiology and quantitative methods, with additional sessions in public health. Some modules will be subject to tests or assignments. At the same time, candidates will work with their supervisors on the design of their research project, including obligatory presentations of their projects to other candidates and selected audience. Full time commitment will be expected for this densely scheduled period. MB I ends towards the end of December.

Research Period I

Subsequently, candidates will return to their research locations for their now starting research period of one year, from January to December (RP I). Close contact between the candidates, the local supervisor and the LMU supervisors will be maintained through a web-based communication platform, our PhD Portal. Candidates will be required to submit research reports bimonthly, evaluating progress and problems of the project, commented on by all supervisors. A visit of one LMU supervisor to the location of research abroad is envisaged for the RP I in order to evaluate research related issues together with the candidate and the local supervisor on site. Optional is the attendance at a regional workshop, where all candidates together with their supervisors, will be invited for an interim get together, to provide a personal stage for scientific and private exchange, along with seminars held for the entire group.

Module Block II

In the months January to March of the following year, the candidates will enter the second Module Block (MB II) back again in Munich. MB II comprises advanced subjects on research methodology, personal development and health systems research. Again, candidates will be required to present their projects to colleagues and selected audience. A CIHLMU Symposia is projected, where candidates will be presenting their projects through posters and presentations.

Research Period II

The second research period (RP II) will begin in April with the return of the candidates to their research locations or countries of residence. Contact between the candidate and the two supervisors will again be upheld through the web based communication platform with mandatory commented and graded reports every two months. This period will last at least 12 months. Towards the end of RP II, candidates will enter the final stage of research. This time will still be spent at the location of research, but with an intensified communication between candidate and supervisors, marking the finalization of research activity and the writing of the PhD thesis. At the end of this period, candidates are required to submit their PhD thesis. Equally, every candidate will have to submit a manuscript to a peer reviewed journal. This submission is a precondition for admission to the defense in front of the Promotional Commission at LMU Munich.

Defense Period

After successful admission, the PhD candidate will be required to come to Munich for a short final term of 10 to 14 days for the oral defense of the PhD thesis and final submission of the approved thesis to the LMU University Library. The PhD curriculum will end with the successful defense of the thesis. Finally, the PhD certificate in Medical Research - International Health is awarded.

Research Period III

Candidates who will not manage to finalize their research project in time and to be admitted to defend their work in front of the Promotional Commission after RP II will be allowed an additional time period to finalize their project. This includes submission of a manuscript to a peer reviewed journal, which is a precondition for admission to defense. If a PhD candidate does not manage to successfully finalize all required curricular elements comprising the PhD project, submission of the PhD thesis, submission of a manuscript to a peer reviewed journal and the successful defense in front of the Promotional Commission at LMU within 60 months after initiation of the respective PhD studies (begin of Module Block I), the candidate will be dismissed from the PhD program with the result failed.


Every PhD candidate has to participate in a workshop of relevance to the research topic at some time during the curriculum, most conveniently during the research periods. Minimum total duration of the workshop (one or more) is four full days. A workshop report has to be submitted.


Each candidate is expected to participate at one conference of personal choice actively, presenting his/her own work through an oral presentation or a poster. The conference should be at least of national importance. A conference report has to be submitted.

Every PhD candidate is expected to submit at least one publication to an international scientific and peer reviewed journal of relevance, with all official supervisors appearing in the author list. The publication process should be commenced prior to the finalization of the program curriculum.

PhD Schedule for a general overview of the curriculum.