Research in Germany



Anyone who intends to gain a doctorate (PhD) in Germany needs to have completed a course of academic studies up to a Master's level with above-average grades.

For general information on doing a doctorate in Germany, please visit this website and go through the brochure on "Earning a doctorate in Germany".  

If you decide to do a doctorate in Germany, you can choose between two different approaches: Individual doctorate or structured doctorate programme.

The individual PhD

In the framework of the individual PhD, you will do your research under one German supervisor and you do it individually. The majority of candidates choose the individual PhD programme, a very free system with no compulsory attendance or binding curriculum which calls for a great deal of personal initiative.

If you plan to do an individual doctorate, the most important (and often the most difficult) task is to find a German professor who agrees to be your PhD-supervisor. For contacting a German professor, you would need a short sketch of what you want to do as your PhD-research topic. 

In this regard, we prepared a document that contains more information on the different programmes, a how-to-approach-a-professor and a how-to-write-a-research-proposal-guide, which can be downloaded here.

The structured PhD

For a structured PhD programme, research is done in a research "team" and under the supervision of more than one Professor. Structured PhD programmes are offered by universities and research organisations. In this case, you would not normally be required to identify an academic supervisor by yourself. These programmes are university graduate training programmes established at a centre of scientific excellence in a specific field. If you plan to do a structured PhD, you can refer to available programmes here:

How to  find a Supervisor

If you are interested to do your research under the supervision of a German professor, you will need to identify a suitable supervisor to take you on as his or her research student.

Please browse through our leaflet for some guidelines on "How to Find a German PhD Supervisor or Research Partner".

DAAD scholarships

DAAD offers long-term scholarships for PhD candidates. We have two kinds of scholarship offer, you can find them on our website under Scholarships

The deadline for these scholarships is October 15 each year.

Please browse through our leaflet and presentation slides for information on "How to Write a Research Proposal". 

Further information 

Please note that the most important selection criteria is a convincing, scientifically advanced research proposal and a well-established contact to a German professor. It would be quite helpful for your scholarship application if you could motivate the German professor - your potential supervisor - to discuss your research proposal with you in some detail. Experience shows that successful applicants often have changed, developed and improved their research proposal considerably according to the German professor's remarks and comments.


You can register for one of our PhD info-sessions

Please watch these videos for information on PhD in Germany and "How to Write a Research Proposal".

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