I have come across this iGRAD-Plant PhD program for early career scientists in plant biology, which is a joint effort of the Heinrich Heine University, Research Center Jülich and the Graduate Program in Genetics at Michigan State University (USA). It is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), as International Research Training Groups 2466 Network, exchange, and training program to understand plant resource allocation (NEXTplant). The DFG is entirely state-funded.
It differs from the usual German graduate school program, as far as I know it, in multiple ways:
- As an early career scientist program, it allows bachelor graduates to be admitted to a PhD program.
- It comprises of a 1-year qualification period followed by a 3-year doctoral research period. During both phases obtaining a M.Sc. is possible.
- It denies students holding a master’s degree from entering this program.
Point 1 is unusual for the EU, but usual for the US. Gaining a M.Sc. during your PhD studies is also not uncommon in the US. However, even in the US programs, I have never seen any admission bans on master degree holders.
Stackexchange questions here and here suggest that having a master's degree might devalue your potential as a budding researcher. Earning multiple PhDs is also not commonplace in Europe, with most PhD programs excluding any PhD holders.
In this program aimed at young researchers with greater potential, the opportunity to start a PhD program as a bachelor graduate is already quite uncommon in Germany.
- Why would this PhD training program explicitly exclude master degree holders from applying?
- Would this be considered discriminatory against master degree holders?
- Is this kind of early career scientists PhD program commonplace somewhere else in the world?