The IMPRS aims to have a high share of international students. The official language of the LIFE Research School is English. Candidates must have a proven record of academic excellence. The legal right to award a doctoral degree lies within the universities in Berlin, Ann Arbor, Charlottesville, and Zurich.
To be admitted to LIFE in Berlin students must have recently finished an M.A., Magister, or Diploma in a discipline relevant to the School's program (developmental and cognitive psychology, neuroscience, sociology, educational science, evolutionary biology, developmental and aging biology).
Over two years, students receive a monthly scholarship of 1,365.00 EUR to cover their living expenses. The stipend is tax-free. Students with dependent children accompanying them will receive 400 EUR for the first dependent child per month, and 100 EUR for each additional child. Upon acceptance into the second and third phase the scholarship will be extended for another six months each (three years in total). Doctoral students at the IMPRS have a fully equipped shared office and full access to the libraries of the MPI and the Berlin Universities.
There are two ways to be admitted to LIFE. One is to apply directly to LIFE after stipends are announced. Alternatively, an already active doctoral student from one of the participating universities or institutions may be recommended by a LIFE faculty member to the Steering Committee. These so-called "external" fellows are funded by their respective home institutions or other funding agencies (e.g., DFG). They fully participate in the training and all LIFE activities.