Several students with books in a park.

What does it cost to study for a doctorate in Germany? The good news is that tuition for a doctorate at a German university is basically free – at least at public higher education institutions. This applies to the individual PhD and to structured PhD programmes.

Cost of living

Naturally, you will need to meet your living costs. Currently, anyone applying for a visa to study in Germany must be able to prove they have access to roughly 10,400 euros a year at least. As a rule, this sum is not sufficient to cover all the costs. On average, according to a 2016 survey conducted by the German National Association for Student Affairs, a student in Germany spends 918 euros a month on rent, food, clothing, travelling, work materials, leisure activities, etc. A study conducted by the Federal Statistical Office found that an average single-person household in Germany needs 1,706 euros a month.

Once you have enrolled at university, your list of expenditure will also include the semester fees that have to be paid when you re-register every six months. How high this fee is depends on the services that are included – for example, use of public transport. As a rule, it is between 80 and 450 euros. The student card you then receive allows you to pay lower fares on local public transport, eat cheaply at the refectory and often pay reduced admission fees.

Download our brochure:


Doing a PhD in Germany (2019, 40 pages)

This booklet for (prospective) international doctoral students presents the different options for doing a doctorate in Germany. It explains the formal requirements and gives some practical advice on finding the right supervisor or doctoral programme. It also outlines different sponsorship and funding options.