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About the HDS PhD Program

Welcome to the Health Data Sciences (HDS) PhD Program!

Our program brings together a collaborative network of three esteemed institutes (iBikE, IPH, QUEST Center for Responsible Research), distinguished faculty, and visionary board members, all dedicated to advancing the frontiers of health data sciences.

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HDS PhD Program Logistics

Program Length: Six semesters (full time).

Credit Requirement: 180 ECTS: scientific research project (150 ECTS) and accompanying scientific coursework in the HDS disciplines of biostatistics, epidemiology, meta-research, population health science and public health (30 ECTS).

Language of Instruction: All scientific coursework offered through the program will be taught in English. Other university courses at the Charité may also be counted towards the 30 ECTS requirement, if approved.

Cost: The PhD program is free of charge with the exception of the Charité enrollment fee.

Next Application Window: January 15th, 2024. Due date: February 29th, 2024.

About the Health Data Sciences (HDS) PhD Program

The goal of the multidisciplinary doctoral program in Health Data Sciences for outstanding junior researchers is to provide a structured framework of studies, research, and teaching for promising scientists in the disciplines of Health Data Sciences.

The program places particular emphasis on preparing students for future careers at universities, non-university research institutions, and other scientific public or private institutions in the fields of biostatistics, epidemiology, meta-research, population health science, public health and medical informatics.

The program Health Data Sciences is under the direction of Prof. Dr. Dr. Tobias Kurth, Institute of Public Health (IPH), Prof. Dr. Geraldine Rauch, Institute of Biometry and Clinical Epidemiology (iBikE) and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Dirnagl, BIH Center for Transforming Biomedical Research (QUEST).

The scientific coursework serves to deepen methodological knowledge, instill fundamentals of sound scientific research practice, and promote effective dissemination of knowledge through teaching. The program has three main focus areas:

  1. Methodology
    Doctoral students attend courses in HDS domains to learn advanced health data sciences methods they will later apply in a practical research setting for their individual research projects.
  2. Research
    Interactive seminars and workshops serve to support doctoral candidates in all stages of their individual research project work ultimately resulting in three scientific publications.
  3. Teaching
    Under the guidance of experienced HDS faculty members, doctoral students prepare and teach courses focused on relevant topics.

About the Institutes

Our program brings together a collaborative network of three esteemed institutes. Find out more about these institutes below:

The Institute of Public Health (IPH)


The IPH pursues the goal of improving population health at local, national and global levels through excellent and innovative research and teaching. Research at IPH focuses on renal-, pharmaco-, cardiovascular- and neuroepidemiology, health services and causal inference.


Berlin Institute of Health Center for Transforming Biomedical Research (QUEST)


QUEST strives to increase the value and impact of biomedical research by maximizing quality, reproducibility, generalizability, and validity of BIH research. QUEST seeks to create an awareness of the need to rethink biomedical research and initiate a cultural change in academic biomedicine.


The Institute of Biometry and Clinical Epidemiology (iBikE)


iBikE offers biometrical and epidemiological consulting services and supports the planning, execution, and evaluation of medical research projects as a cooperation partner. The Institute is also active in methodologic research and both internal and external teaching activities.


HDS PhD Program Regulations

Only available in German

Frequently Asked Questions

Program Structure

How does the Health Data Sciences PhD program fit into the numerous options to pursue doctorate studies at the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin?

The Health Data Sciences PhD (HDS PhD) Program is one of several structured PhD programs at the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Charité) / Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) and is considered an “Advanced Track” program.

The HDS PhD program is run by three main departments within the Charité/BIH: the Institute of Public Health (IPH), the Institute of Biometry and Clinical Epidemiology (iBikE) and the BIH Center for Transforming Biomedical Research (QUEST). If you are accepted and successfully complete the HDS PhD program, you are awarded a PhD in Health Data Sciences.

Please note that this structured degree program is different from the “unstructured PhD,” “Dr. rer. medic.” and “Dr. med” options also offered by the Charité. For more information about the distinction between these options, see:

What courses do HDS PhD students take and when do these courses take place?

In total, HDS PhD students must collect 30 ECTS credit points throughout the three-year program. These points are divided as follows:

  • 18 credits come from three “core” required courses:
    • “Research Proposal Seminar” and “Advanced Methods in Health Data Sciences”, which take place during Semesters 1-3.
    • “Mentored Teaching of a Methods Course”, which can be individually scheduled in the later semesters of the program based on student and instructor availability.

  • 12 credits come from elective coursework that can be spread out over the course of the studies according to the student’s preferences and in consultation with the supervisory team’s recommendations.

What is the duration of the Health Data Sciences (HDS) PhD Program?

HDS PhD students take classes including taking part in mentored student teaching (30 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) total), and work on their individual research projects over a three-year, structured study period (six semesters).

Research Project

What kind of research project am I required to have? How many details should I provide in the application?

In the initial application, we are looking for interesting, relevant project ideas related to one or more of the health data sciences domains. It is also important that you can convince the HDS PhD Board that your proposed project would be feasible with respect to the 3-year time frame, you have or will gain access to the requisite data, you have a plan for funding the project, and that the project is suited to your skillset and background. We encourage you to discuss your project ideas with at least one potential supervisor prior to submitting your application.

What format does the final dissertation project have?

All HDS PhD Program students are expected to complete a cumulative dissertation (doctorate by publication), as is the general Charité guideline for PhD students. For more information, see: