The qualification program comprises:
The educational program is intended to occupy less than six hours per week, since the central part of the qualification program is the research project. In order to warrant transferability and recognition of qualifications, students will earn credit points (CP) according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) when attending individual components of the educational program. A total of 30 credit points are required over a period of 3 years. The curriculum is designed as independent modules and thus can be combined individually according to the needs and specific interests of each doctoral student.
Five divisions with mandatory and optional components contribute to the curriculum:
The RTG will offer colloquia, lectures and seminars specifically designed for their doctoral students. The mandatory lecture series “Parasite Infections: From laboratory-based research to natural systems” is tailored to the present RTG and will provide significant complementary training in the three focus research areas by the RTG faculty.
The Berlin Parasitological Seminar Series (BPS) is an established monthly seminar series organized by the RTG Faculty where internationally renowned parasitologists are invited to present their current research. Doctoral students will host guest speakers, serving as an opportunity to present their research projects and to establish links for exchange visits and postdoctoral opportunities.
In cooperation with the Center of Infection Biology and Immunity (ZIBI), a wide range of facultative lecture programs will be offered via this network of 28 researchers working on infection biology and immunology topics in Berlin. The ZIBI offers courses that are specifically designed for doctoral students in infection biology and immunology. The Berlin Life Science Colloquium is an established seminar series where international renowned guest speakers are invited to present their current research. Local scientists, who are experts in their research areas, offer general lecture series, such as “Infection Biology”, “Immunology” and “Clinic Club-Bedside Knowledge for Bench People”. These lectures are optional and aim to fill knowledge gaps. RTG students will organize a mandatory monthly “Students’ Day” to continuously present and discuss their work. Typically, two students will succinctly present the hypothesis and background of their project, and will discuss the data, areas for improvement, and future directions. This seminar is complemented by an optional, monthly Journal Club, where students will analyze and compare publications and will discuss the scientific background, methodology, data and conclusions with Faculty members, in order to improve their skills on how to interpret published data and place them in a contextual framework.
Practical skills acquired through bench work in the individual research projects will be supplemented by practical courses on topics covered by the RTG research program. All students have to attend the introductory course on biostatistical analysis and experimental design as well as the introductory course on bioinformatics (offered by Knut Reinert, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, FU Berlin). Optional courses, of which each student has to choose at least two during their PhD period, offered by the RTG Faculty provide hands-on experience to modern methodologies in parasitology that are not necessarily employed in the individual research projects. A particular highlight is the field training course at Serengeti Wildlife Research Centre offered by Hofer and East. Doctoral students in their second year will have the opportunity to include the host population perspective in their specific research project by collecting data in a natural environment (see 7.2 Module Project-Specific Workshops). Although not a member of the Faculty, a course on "Parasites in animal farming and aquaculture" is offered by Klaus Knopf, Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin. Attending these courses will motivate students to collaborate closely across the three research areas.
To promote the general scientific development, doctoral students are welcome to attend practical courses offered by the Dahlem Research School, e.g., advanced flow cytometry and en passant mutagenesis (more information available here), and the ZIBI Graduate School, e.g., murine transgenesis and imaging pathogen-host interactions (more information available here). Finally, exchanges with international research groups may be organized in order to acquire new skills beneficial for the individual research project.