The school offers a research-oriented 3-years graduate program. A prerequisite is a diploma or a masters degree in physics.
Most of their time, the students perform research on their doctoral thesis project under the supervision of experienced scientists and teachers. Besides, the curriculum consists of course work and practical training, supplemented by seminars and journal clubs. Emphasis is put on establishing an international atmosphere with ample contact opportunities for the students and an interactive and dynamic working environment. This is achieved by conducting yearly retreats, weekly seminars, journal clubs, and by providing the students with the opportunity to present their work at international conferences.
Intensive courses in astrophysics, solar and heliospheric physics, and planets and small bodies provide a deep insight into the research topics of the school. The compulsory program also includes courses in methods of computational physics and data analysis, instrumental methods, and basic scientific techniques with practical exercises and tutorials. These courses are intended to introduce all students to the various aspects of solar system research and to bring them to a comparable level of knowledge. Courses are repeated on a two-year interval.
The further activities of the research school consist of a general seminar, specialised journal clubs, a yearly retreat of the whole school with courses of general relevance, and specialised courses. The continuation of interdisciplinary education and research throughout the three years ensures cross-fertilisation between the research fields and aims at a broad and scientifically open-minded education.
The main curricular elements of the research school are
It is foreseen that external experts are invited for lectures, workshops, and block courses on a case-to-case basis. Participation in specialised block courses and the summer school may be offered to a limited number of students and scientists from outside the school in order to promote national and international contacts. Furthermore, the students will be encouraged and given the opportunity to present their work at international conferences.