Mathematics in Berlin

Studierende der BMS profitieren von der vielfältigen Berliner Forschungslandschaft im Bereich der Mathematik.
BMS students benefit from the broad range of mathematics offered by the various research institutes in Berlin. Image Credit: Kay Herschelmann

Berlin Mathematical School (BMS) is a joint graduate school of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Technische Universität Berlin. Its doctoral program attracts outstanding graduate students from around the world.

News from Apr 28, 2015

Berlin is a city with a long tradition in mathematics. It is where Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, inventor of the binary number system, founded the Prussian Academy of Sciences; where Leonhard Euler developed the calculus of variations; and where Konrad Zuse built the first computer that operated with binary numbers. Today Berlin is one of the world leaders in mathematics, fostering outstanding young mathematicians.

BMS has been funded through the German national Excellence Initiative since 2006. It was re-approved for continued funding through this initiative until October 2017. The BMS doctoral program covers seven research areas that transcend the traditional division between pure and applied mathematics. They are all represented in Berlin by a number of leading research groups and externally funded projects. For the purpose of their studies and their doctoral research, BMS graduate students have access to the numerous facilities of Berlin’s diverse mathematics research environment.

In addition to the math departments of the three participating universities, there are the Einstein Center for Mathematics in Berlin (EC Math), three DFG Research Training Groups, two international Max Planck Research Schools, the DFG Research Center Matheon, the Collaborative Research Center “Space – Time – Matter. Analytic and Geometric Structures,” the Collaborative Research Center “Discretization in Geometry and Dynamics,” the Collaborative Research Center "Scaling Cascades in Complex Systems," the Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB), and the Weierstrass Institute for Applied Analysis and Stochastics (WIAS).

Following the same international model used by math departments at universities in the United States, the BMS doctoral program was set up to enable outstanding students to begin their university studies directly after completion of a bachelor’s degree. Students are expected to complete their doctorate within four to five years. Very important for careers in an international context, the classes are taught in English, and research is also conducted in English. BMS has welcomed aspiring young mathematicians from more than 50 countries, and half of its 190 students come from outside Germany.

To date, more than 150 graduate students have earned their doctorate in mathematics from BMS. Alumni can be found all over the world, working as postdocs at universities in Berkeley, Boston, Princeton, Paris, Stockholm, Princeton, and Zurich.

During the second funding period, financial support was provided for German students in the program to spend a period of time studying and doing research outside of Germany. Strategic cooperation agreements were concluded with selected universities in Jerusalem, Warwick, and Zurich, and more will follow. Expanding the postdoctoral program also benefits the graduate students by giving them a wider range of specialized courses to choose from.

Besides Berlin Mathematical School, Freie Universität is home to six other graduate schools funded through the German Excellence Initiative: