DAAD-Information Centre Singapore
- PhD made in Germany
way of pursuing a PhD in Germany (‘Promotion’)
is a doctorate by research under the supervision
of a university professor; unlike in most other
countries, course work is generally not required.
For Phd programmes available in Gemany, please visit the following link at : www.phdgermany.de
The findings of the doctoral candidate’s research
work need to be presented in the form of an independent,
written dissertation covering new academic or scientific
Apart from submitting their doctoral theses,
candidates must also take an oral examination, known
as ‘Rigorosum’, before the doctorate
title can be conferred. Self motivation, dedication
to the research project, and the ability to work
independently are therefore important qualifications
for candidates who are planning to obtain a PhD
in Germany, which usually takes between three to four years to complete.
Students can work towards their PhD at universities
and non-university research institutes as those
of the Max-Planck Society, the WGL Science Association,
the Fraunhofer Society, and the HGF Association
of German Research Centres, which cooperate with
universities. For more information about these research
organizations, see below.
Within the universities themselves, graduate colleges
(‘Graduiertenkollegs’) and collaborative
research centres (‘Sonderforschungsbereiche’)
offer PhD students particularly good conditions
within a graduate school framework. Please take
note that Fachhochschulen (universities of applied
sciences) do not have the right to confer doctoral
All candidates applying for doctoral studies the
traditional German way must first independently
find an academic supervisor for their dissertation
(known as ‘Doktorvater’ for male professors
and ‘Doktormutter’ for female professors).
The supervisor must accept the proposed topic and
must be willing to provide or arrange for academic
supervision throughout the course of study (‘Betreuungszusage’).
Feel free to use the internet to find and contact
a professor in your field of research interest,
then write to him/her, enclose your academic records
as well as a detailed research proposal and cross
your fingers that he or she is interested in your
project. German professors are likely to accept
you as a PhD student under their supervision if
you can convince them that you will be able to contribute
to their research.
If a professor is interested in your work, you will
probably not only get a kind reply, but you can
also expect help in finding financial support. Many
professors will advise you to contact the DAAD in
order to apply for funding.
Every year, the DAAD
grants a limited number of full scholarships for
PhD candidates and postdocs from Singapore. For
more information, please click
In addition, there are funds available
in Germany for which the foreign researcher cannot
apply directly, but only through the host professor,
eg grants awarded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
(DFG), the central organization for promoting and
supporting research at higher education institutions
and other publicly financed research institutes
But even if you are unsuccessful in obtaining any
scholarship or grant, Germany still is an affordable
destination for pursuing a PhD.
The living expenses are about S $ 1300 – 1500 per month.
Once your proposal has been accepted by you host
professor-to-be and the application for acceptance
as a doctoral student has been approved by the doctoral
committee of the appropriate faculty, you can apply
for a visa at the German Embassy. www.sing.diplo.de
may admit you to doctoral studies without setting
any additional conditions, while others will set
conditions, such as that you may first have to attend
one or two semesters of additional lectures, courses
or seminars before you can commence with your doctorate. Please check directly with the university
of your choice as to whether or not the degree you
are currently holding qualifies you for admission
into their doctoral programme.
The German language
skills required will depend on the area in which
you wish to gain your doctorate. As a general rule,
you will need to have at least a basic foundation
in the German language.
In many cases, however,
it will be possible to write the thesis in English
or another language. Please inquire at the university
in question as to the precise arrangements.
More and more German universities
are establishing structured international PhD programmes
for doctoral candidates, modelled on graduate school
programmes offered in the Anglo-American higher
Not only is the medium of instruction
predominantly English, but study-integrated German
language courses also help students overcome the
Programmes made in Germany’ is a network of
50 postgraduate programmes offered in a wide range
of disciplines at centres of scientific excellence
throughout Germany, supported by both DAAD and DFG
To find out more,
please go to http://www.daad.de/ipp.
Graduate Colleges and the International Max Planck
Research Schools represent another avenue for pursuing
a doctorate in Germany. Research Training Groups
or Graduate Colleges (‘Graduiertenkollegs’)
are university training programmes established for
a specific time period to support young researchers
in their pursuit of a doctorate. They are funded
by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research
Council) and offer excellent conditions for international
In these colleges between 15 and 25
PhD students work in the framework of a co-ordinated
research programme which has been designed by faculty
members of the university the college is located
at. A PhD student who is admitted as a member of
a graduate college is granted a two to three year's
scholarship by the DFG to cover his or her living
expenses. The student will be supervised by individual
advisors, but also be given the opportunity to discuss
his or her work with other faculty members who participate
in the graduate college.
A systematically organized
study programme is offered which consists of presentations
by doctoral and post-doctoral members of the college
as well as of guest lectures by professors from
all over the world. This ensures a broad and excellent
academic training in the field the graduate college
is engaged in.
For more information on Graduiertenkollegs, please
click on the following link:
In 1999, the MPG, together with the Association
of Universities and Other Education Institutions
in Germany, launched an initiative to promote junior
scientists, called the International Max Planck
Research Schools (IMPRS). At these centres of scientific
excellence, gifted young scientists from Germany
and abroad who have excelled in their respective
field and are working towards their doctorate degree
are offered a structured PhD programme and excellent
research conditions in many innovative and interdisciplinary
research areas such as molecular biology, neurosciences,
computer science, demography, law, plasma physics
and polymer research. 29 International Max Planck
Research Schools have already been initiated involving
a total of 34 Max Planck Institutes and many faculties
and universities. For more information, please visit
the MPG’s website on research schools:
of German Research Organizations
Whether you are a university
graduate interested in pursuing a PhD or a faculty
member who would like to collaborate with German colleagues
on a research project, Germany offers international
students, postgraduates and guest researchers one
of the finest academic and research environments available
in the world today. www.research-in-germany.org
It is no coincidence that Germany – a country renowned for excellence in science,
mathematics, engineering and much much more - has
produced 84 Nobel Prize winners to date! Foreign researchers
will experience a warm welcome into Germany's scientific
community that uses English as the common language
of research, which makes integration easy.
For general questions on research and living in Germany, please consult the
Research is carried out not only at the universities,
but also at approximately 350 institutes and organizations
which receive public support. Very often the directors
of the institutes are at the same time faculty members
of universities. This is why these institutes have
the right to confer doctorate degrees in cooperation
with the affiliated universities and have since become
a popular choice for PhD students.
The most prestigious of these research institutes
are those of the Max Planck Society for the
Advancement of Science (MPG/Max-Planck-Gesellschaft).
The Max-Planck-Gesellschaft is an independent non-profit research organization
focused on basic research in the interest of the general
public in the natural sciences, life sciences, social
sciences, and the humanities. There are currently
78 institutes, research centres, laboratories and
project groups employing approximately 12 300 people,
among them about 4200 scientists and scholars. In
addition, there are also about 9600 doctoral candidates,
post-doctoral fellows and guest scientists and scholars
from abroad. In 1999, the MPG, together with the Association
of Universities and Other Education Institutions in
Germany, launched an initiative to promote junior
scientists, called the International Max Planck Research
Schools (IMPRS). At these centres of scientific excellence,
gifted young scientists from Germany and abroad who
have excelled in their respective field and are working
towards their doctorate degree are offered a structured
PhD programme and excellent research conditions in
many innovative and interdisciplinary research areas
such as molecular biology, neurosciences, computer
science, demography, law, plasma physics and polymer
research. 29 International Max Planck Research Schools
have already been initiated involving a total of 34
Max Planck Institutes and many faculties and universities.
An organization which connects pure research and applied
research is the Leibniz Association (Wissenschaftsgemeinschaft Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
an association of presently 84 non-university research
institutes working in different fields of science.
The Leibniz institutes are demand-oriented, interdisciplinary
centres of competence, which regard themselves as
co-operation partners for industry, public administration
and politics; scientific co-operation with universities
is particularly close and intensive.
For applied research the Fraunhofer Society (FhG/Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft) is the leading research
organization in Germany. The services of its currently
57 Fraunhofer Institutes are solicited by customers
and contractual partners in industry, the service
sector and public administration. The FhG website http://www.fraunhofer.de/en.html offers a search option by research fields and given
Fifteen big research centres with a total staff of
around 24 000 have joined together to form the Hermann
von Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres (Hermann von Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren).
The centres are involved in research and development
in the fields of chemistry, physics and engineering
as well as in biology and medicine. Further details
can be found on the website http://www.helmholtz.de/,
which presents each Helmholtz Centre in a short portrait.
One of the most important aims of the German
Research Council (DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)
is to promote young scientists and scholars. As the
central public funding organization for academic research
in Germany, the DFG annually promotes around 20 000
research projects and awards a limited number of fellowships
to foreign scholars. The DFG-funded ‘Graduiertenkollegs’
(graduate colleges or research training groups) offer
excellent conditions for international PhD students.
PhD students who are admitted as members of a Graduiertenkolleg
are granted a two to three year's scholarship by the
DFG to cover their living expenses. The students will
be supervised by individual advisors, but also be
given the opportunity to discuss their work with other
faculty members who participate in the Graduiertenkolleg.
A systematically organized study programme is offered,
which consists of presentations by doctoral and post-doctoral
members of the college as well as of guest lectures
by professors from all over the world. This ensures
a broad and excellent academic training in the field
the graduate college is engaged in. Furthermore, universities
and public research institutions can apply to DFG
to get support for Collaborative Research Centers
(‘Sonderforschungsbereiche’ or SFBs).
These are university institutions in which scientists
and researchers from different academic fields cooperate
in long-term interdisciplinary research programs (up
to 12 years). Presently, the DFG sponsors 292 collaborative
research centers. Some 25 new projects are added to
the list every year, taking the place of older projects
that have been concluded or run out. These collaborative
research centres also offer a limited number of doctoral
research opportunities. For more information on the
DFG in general and on the Graduiertenkollegs and collaborative
research centres in particular, visit the following
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AVH) is among the most important research foundations
for international scientists. The foundation awards
up to 500 research fellowships annually to highly
qualified foreign scholars, enabling them to undertake
long-term periods of research in Germany. Researchers
from all nations and from all fields of research can
apply for the fellowships. In addition, the Humboldt
Foundation grants up to 25 Georg Foster Fellowships
to highly qualified scholars from developing countries.
For more information, please visit the AvH’s
homepage https://www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/sponsorship.html as well as that of the German Welcome Centres at the
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (supported by the
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
The Welcome Centre's purpose is to provide information
and assistance to scientists and scholars coming to
Germany to work in research.
For a comprehensive overview over funding programmes
offered by German organisations, visit www.funding-guide.de
For funding by other organizations, please click on http://www.stiftungen.org/.
In Recognition of
Research in Germany
Germany can look back on a long tradition of research and development. A multitude of inventions and the works of German Nobel Prize winners have left a memorable impression in the world of international science. Now, as then, the extreme diversity of research establishments, constantly improving public sector conditions and effective competence networks ensure that scientists in Germany can depend on an optimum research environment. Both students and top-level researchers benefit from the system of sponsoring programmes, scholarships and exemplary interfaces between research and industry.
Germany offer me?
Germany is interested in promoting young, international
elites at German higher education institutions and research
facilities. Why? There are a number of reasons. Among
them is the idea of "helping others help themselves."
This is a way of providing long-term assistance to other
countries in areas of learning that can make a tangible
difference later in the visitor's home country: how
to build roads, machinery, canals, sewer systems, electric
utilities and much more. Furthermore, it promotes an
understanding of Germany, of scientific cooperation
in general, and can help sustain or improve good political
and business relations with the countries from which
the student has come. For the student, this translates
into a good education in Germany, exposure to German
culture, business and people, and a rewarding career
at home or possibly even in the host country.
The German university system is internationalizing its
study programs to increase their universal appeal. With
better counseling, project support, language assistance,
scholarships and recognition of university work done
elsewhere, it is now easier than ever to take
advanced degree courses and conduct research in Germany.
Recently introduced changes in immigration legislation
now make it easier for foreign students to come to Germany
and stay on for post-graduate or post-doctoral work
and even pursue a career.
A German higher education offers foreign students a
chance to earn a Bachelor's, Master's or Ph.D. - in
many cases with English as the study language - that
is compatible with and comparable to the formats of
other countries. It is recognized internationally, opening
up a wider range of career opportunities or further
study. In most cases, there are currently no or only
low tuition fees at German universities and the general
cost of living for students is below that of many other
western countries. Studying in Germany essentially costs
the same as in Britain or the United States, it's just
that in Germany the tab is picked up by the taxpayers
and not the individual.
For students who qualify, the German Academic Exchange
Service (DAAD) as well as a number of public and private
foundations have scholarships available. The German
Foundation Index (http://www.stiftungen.org/) is a good link
to scholarship sources. In addition, it is also possible
for good students to earn a little extra money on the
side as a teaching assistant; in particular, in the
natural sciences and engineering faculties.
Germany's particular strengths?
Germany has always excelled in the natural sciences,
mathematics and engineering, but also in business and
economics, law, social sciences and the arts. What makes
German higher education institutions so special are
the combinations of teaching and advanced research.
Students have numerous opportunities to pursue project
and thesis work within the scope of ongoing research
activities. Courses are often taught by staff who are
both researchers and teachers. University departments
in their specific fields interact closely with national
and international academic institutions and research
institutes, as well as business and industry.
Studying in Germany also exposes students to state-of-the-art
technology in the classroom as well as the laboratory.
Independent study with special guidance counselors and
tutors for foreigners give students the moral support
they need while motivating them to pursue their special
the German university system so good?
In order to make the grade in today's globalized market,
young people need more than just an excellent grasp
of their particular field. The business and scientific
communities require an understanding of foreign cultures,
fluency in foreign languages, problem-solving skills,
analytical thinking, social skills for teamwork and
flexibility. The ability to apply and communicate your
expertise in changing social environments is paramount
to success. These skills are best obtained through personal
experience abroad in an academic environment dedicated
to personal and professional achievement.
To this end, the German institutions of higher education
have designed a system of rankings and benchmarking
to evaluate their academic processes. Since the mid-1990s
universities have banded together to test and compare
their courses of study and to see how these fit the
needs of both students and industry. This peer review
process among universities and universities of applied
sciences focuses on ways to improve degree programs
in an evaluation that examines the strengths and weaknesses
of the offered courses. Rankings are a key aspect in
the continuous process of improving the German higher
education system. They help evaluate circumstances in
the classroom and laboratory. Prospective students are
presented with information about such things as class
size, equipment, how extensive a library is and the
level of satisfaction among the student body.
Specifically in the area of research, two organizations
rank universities and their degree programs according
to a professor's research performance. The Center for
University Development (CHE) and the German Research
Association (DFG) evaluate schools on the basis of outside
funding and the number of published findings, or in
the case of engineering, the number of patent applications.
If you're interested in
finding out more about the quality of a particular German
university or university of applied sciences, you can
examine ranking evaluations on the following internet
education web site:
it all mean for foreign students?
One of most important tasks for any
student is finding the right school, the right professor,
or the right laboratory. We don't have to tell you that
finding the right place to complete your work is the
crucial stepping stone to your next career opportunity.
Over the years, English-speaking countries have had
an edge over Germany, mostly because of the language.
That is no longer the case. Today, students in Germany
have the option of taking many courses and programs
Which isn't to say learning a new language, like German,
isn't beneficial to your career - in particular here in Singapore, with over 900 German companies present.
it's possible to enroll in a German course at a Goethe
Institut even before arriving in Germany. Check out http://www.goethe.de/singapur.
Once you've arrived, you can still take part in German
summer school classes that will also prepare you for
the language proficiency test (TestDaF) required for
university programs held in German. Other German classes
are also available throughout the school year for a
small fee at off-campus evening schools called Volkshochschulen
Germany boasts an enormous academic and research network
- both inside and outside the university corridors.
Studying in Germany is a cultural experience in a country
renowned for excellence in science, engineering, economics
and much, much more.
Germany would like to welcome you to one of the finest
academic and research environments available in the
A Compendium of German
Germany is more than Mercedes,
penicillin and kindergarten
Ever since the days of Johannes Gutenberg, inventor
of the movable type printing press, or Martin Luther,
whose Reformation changed the face of European society,
Germans have been at the forefront of intellectual curiosity
and scientific discovery. Names like Einstein, Koch,
Röntgen, Planck, Humboldt, Hertz or Hegel don't
need much of an introduction. But there are many others
who made important and lasting contributions to humanity.
In the 100 or so years since the Nobel Prize has been
awarded, Germans have received this prestigious honor
84 times - that's ten percent of all the Nobel prizes
ever presented. Both German and foreign Nobel laureates
have benefited from the research opportunities, funding
and support provided by Germany. Here, a random sampling:
1971 - Willy Brandt: Nobel Peace
Prize for his resolute pursuit of detente with then-communist
1985 - Klaus von Klitzing: Nobel Prize in Physics
for the discovery of the Quantum Hall Effect. Since
1990, it has been used worldwide to calibrate electrical
1989 - Wolfgang Paul: A pioneer in particle physics.
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) supported
his work with substantial funding.
1988 - Johann Deisenhofer, Robert Huber and Hartmut
Michel: Chemistry prize for determining the "three
dimensional structure of a photosynthetic reaction
centre." They benefited from the DFG's special
Collaborative Research Centre program.
1991 - Bert Sakmann and Erwin Neher proved the existence
of ion channels between cell membranes and won the
Nobel Prize in physiology/medicine.
1994 - Reinhard Selten: Co-winner in economics for
his "pioneering analysis of equilibria in the
theory of non-cooperative games."
1995 - Christine Nüsslein-Volhard: Co-winner in physiology/medicine for her work on genetic control of early embryonic development in fruit flies.
1999 - Günter Grass won the Nobel Prize in Literature, following in the footsteps of Heinrich Böll and Thomas Mann.
And more recently...
2001 - Wolfgang Ketterle (Physics)
2005 - Theodor W. Haensch (Physics)
Professor Dr Peter Grünberg (Physics)
2007 - Professor Dr Gerhard Ertl (Chemistry)
International Degree Programmes database
More than thousand of internationally recognized courses in a wide range of disciplines, all taught exclusively or partly in English, are just a click away!
This website helps you find the answers to all your questions about studying and doing research in Germany.
How do German students rate their alma mater? Which universities would German professors recommend? Customize your personal ranking by selecting from the available criteria.
German Embassy Singapore
Learn more about German-Singaporean relations, and make sure you know everything about student visa requirements and application procedures.
Learn German and experience German culture with the official German cultural institute.
German Alumni Singapore
Did you study, work or do research in Germany?
Join the German Alumni Singapore and find many useful contacts in a rapidly growing network.
Singapore Students' Association of Germany
Get in touch with students from Singapore currently studying in Germany! Profit from their first-hand experiences, get useful information and friendly support.