The "traditional" or "individual" path to a PhD remains the most common in Germany. An individual doctorate involves a thesis or dissertation that is produced under the supervision of one professor.
This form of PhD study offers a great deal of flexibility, but also demands a high degree of personal initiative and responsibility. A professor supervises a PhD student, who works on his subject in consultation with the professor, but largely independently.
How long a traditional individual doctorate takes depends on your own time schedule – or on the duration of your work contract. Three to five years are typical. Doctoral candidates can choose where they would like to conduct their research:
- at a university
- at a non-university research organisation or
- in a German company