Find your structured PhD programme
Structured PhD programmes in Germany are frequently very similar to the PhD programmes in English-speaking countries, in which a team of supervisors look after a group of doctoral students. As a rule, it is possible to complete a doctorate in three to five years.
Find your PhD programme
There is no central database of all international PhD programmes in Germany. The DAAD database is useful for finding the right PhD programme that matches your research goals:
Search for graduate schools and research training groups
How to apply to a PhD programme
When making your selection, you should focus on the following questions: Do the programme, the institution and the environment suit my doctoral proposal? What are the requirements? What is expected of doctoral students?
Where can I find out about requirements?
Application procedures differ from programme to programme. The precise requirements and deadlines can be found on the website of the respective university, research training group or graduate school. You should therefore first choose a PhD programme and/or graduate school.
Advice: How to apply
- © DAAD / Jan Zappner
Once you have found a PhD programme, you should invest sufficient time and care in preparing your application. In some cases, there are application deadlines for admission to programmes. It is therefore advisable to begin looking for a suitable programme in good time before graduation.
Multistage application procedure
For your application to be successful, your planned doctoral thesis must fit in with the main emphases of the programme and you will need a good or very good degree that is recognised in Germany. Initial contacts are usually made over the Internet.
The application procedure itself often involves a number of different stages, but differs from programme to programme.
Generally, however, as a first step you will need to submit a curriculum vitae, a copy of your degree certificate, a brief description of your doctoral research proposal and a letter outlining the reasons for your application.
The second step, usually on request, involves a detailed application with a comprehensive exposé of the research project. This includes details of your time schedule, references from previous professors, copies of all certificates and your thesis and, possibly, proof of language proficiency. If these documents win over the admissions committee, the applicant is usually invited to a personal interview, which can under certain circumstances also be held as a telephone conference.
In addition to presenting your excellent degree and a good research proposal that fits in with the programme, you must make your personal motivations clear during the interview. You should ensure you are well informed about the demands of doing a doctorate in Germany and the differences to your home country. You should know what you expect of the PhD programme and what is expected of you. Thorough preparation is therefore important.