I would like to share few tips for prospective doctoral students based on my own experience, which are given below:
- Identify a topic of your interest
- Develop a proposal with clear rationale, research objectives, questions/ hypotheses, research methodology, knowledge gap and your contribution and timeline
- Look at the websites of relevant departments and identify suitable professors having similar research interests
- Email those professors; introduce summary of your research topic and request if they are willing to supervise you
- Share research proposal with a professor once he/ she has shown initial interest. Remember, PhD research proposal will demonstrate your academic skills, therefore, it should be of high quality. Research proposal is the most important factor which determines your suitability to pursue a PhD programme!
- Once professor agrees to supervise you, then rest of the application process is handled by administration (they will explain their requirements).
- Many universities/ departments do not have fixed application deadlines for PhD students
- PhD application is not evaluated on CGPA basis only. Your entire profile particularly research proposal and CV are assessed
Developing your PhD Research Proposal:
Following guides will provide you an intro to write a good PhD proposal.
- Develop A Research Proposal. [Link]
- How to write a research proposal for a strong PhD application – University of Sydney. [Link]
- Writing a Good PhD Research Proposal, Find a Phd. [Link]
“Phd Admission in Germany – A Guide for 2018” This is a very comprehensive guide and covers information on aspects such as; German higher education system, types of doctoral programmes (structured vs unstructured), admission process, proposal, tips on living and financing your studies etc.
Resources for Identifying PhD Programmes:
- Find a PhD [Link]
- International Programmes in Germany [Link]
- Higher Education Compass [Link]
- Research in Germany [Link]
Funding your PhD studies:
- University/ department funded PhD positions; discuss with your supervisor and faculty staff for university/ department based funding and scholarships
- German Foundations; search for scholarships provided by German foundations [Link]
Please keep in mind, acceptance into a PhD programme is a bit complex process and requires you to research well from the beginning! Each university/ department or PhD programme may have different requirements but above tips are generally useful. Finally, nobody can identify a topic or supervisor for you!
Please drop me an email if you have any comment or suggestion.
Saeed A. Khan