Structured PhD programmes

Three researchers are standing at a whiteboard and are looking towards the camera laughing. The one in the middle holds a pen in her hand holding it near the whiteboard as if she was interrupted in writing something on it.

Structured doctoral programmes differ from traditional doctoral research. In Germany, structured doctoral programmes are very similar to the PhD programmes in English-speaking countries, in which a team of supervisors look after a group of doctoral students.

Structured doctoral programmes often have a strong international orientation with English as the team language. Unlike the individual doctorate model that can be freely structured to suit the individual research project, here doctoral students and their research proposals have to fit in with an existing PhD programme.

The doctorate frequently entails a clearly structured doctoral study programme with compulsory attendance at lectures or seminars and interim assessment (credit points). The programme frequently also covers academic and scientific methods or soft skills, such as presentation techniques.

As a rule, PhD Students work steadily at realising their research project within the team and with intensive support from a group of academic staff (often referred to as the “thesis committee”).

The duration of your studies is generally limited to three to five years, and there is usually a fixed curriculum within which you work toward your doctorate and write your thesis.