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Study in Germany - Work in Germany

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How to apply for a PhD in Germany?

Germany is a very popular destination for post-doctoral studies. Because PhD in Germany is free for all the students. Almost all public sector universities are offering PhD to international students. These universities are offering two types of PhD programs.

  1. Individual doctorate
  2. Structured PhD programs

1. Individual doctorate

An individual doctorate is a traditional kind of PhD in which students work individually under the supervision of only one professor. The duration of this PhD varies from 3 to 5 years. It depends on student ability and the topic on which he is doing the research. Students can do research work of this PhD in German or English language. This type of PhD is also very popular among students.

2. Structured PhD program

The structured PhD program focus on a group of students and a group of supervisors. In this type of PhD program, a group of students works under the supervision of another group of professors. It’s the same kind of PhD program offered in different English countries. This type of PhD have more international orientation and mostly this PhD offered only in the English language because of teamwork.

What is the cost of PhD in Germany?

German universities are offering tuition-free PhD programs. These free programs are offered to all students regardless of nationality. In some universities, PhD students have to pay the semester contribution fee that is around 180 to 200 euros. Usually, universities take this fee to give a semester ticket that includes free transportation for the whole semester duration.

How to get PhD in Germany?

First decide which kind of PhD you want to pursue: individual doctorate or structured PhD. Normally it depends on your qualifications, research area, and personal circumstances. After this decision follow these steps:

  • Identify a topic of interest.
  • Develop a proposal with a clear rationale, research objectives, questions/hypotheses, research methodology, knowledge gap, and your contribution and timeline.
  • Search German universities related to your study discipline and make a list. Check this article to know how to find German universities for admission.
  • Look at the websites of these universities and search relevant departments and responsible professors. Check the personal details of all the professors of these departments. If their qualification and current subjects that they are teaching match with your research area. Then try to get their personal email.
  • Now, email these professors with a request for PhD. In email introduce yourself, give a summary of your research topic and request if they are willing to supervise you.
  • Share a research proposal with the professor once he/she has shown initial interest in the reply to your email. Remember, a PhD research proposal will demonstrate your academic skills, therefore, it should be of high quality. The research proposal is the most important factor which determines your suitability to pursue a PhD program.
  • Once the professor agrees to supervise you, then the rest of the application process is handled by the administration (they will explain their requirements and procedure to you).
  • Many universities/departments do not have fixed application deadlines for PhD students. So you can apply at any time.
  • PhD application is not evaluated just on a CGPA basis. But, your entire profile particularly research proposal and CV will be assessed. So, give importance to each and everything.

Developing your PhD Research Proposal:

The following guides will provide you an introduction to writing a good PhD proposal. Links are also mentioned for your help.

  • 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]

Resources where you can find a PhD program:

  • International Programmes in Germany [Link]
  • Higher Education Compass [Link]
  • Research in Germany [Link]

PhD in Germany with Scholarship:

There are many ways to get funding or scholarship for PhD in Germany.

Get funding from the chosen University or Professor

Get funding from University/department, where you applied for PhD. Discuss with your supervisor and faculty staff of the university/department. They can also arrange funding and scholarships for PhD students. Most of the German professors also have fundings for research projects, so don’t hesitate to ask them.

DAAD Scholarships

DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) is the largest German Academic Exchange Service that provides scholarships and financing to international students. It offers a wide range of scholarships and financing options for doctoral and postdoctoral courses offered by German universities.

So find a PhD scholarship on the DAAD official scholarship portal or personally visit their office that is present in your country and ask about PhD funding.

DFG Scholarships

DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) is a self-governing research foundation in Germany. DFG gets fundings from the federal government and other German states. This foundation provides scholarships to foreign students the same as DAAD.

Erasmus Scholarships

Erasmus is the biggest European student exchanging scheme. It offers scholarships to both EU and non-EU students. Erasmus scholarships provide fundings that fully cover all living and educational expenses. The Erasmus scholarship program is also very famous among students.

Max Planck institute

Max Planck Institute is a private German research institute. It also provides funding and research opportunities to master students, who want to pursue their PhD in Germany.

The Heinrich Böll Foundation

The Heinrich Böll Foundation is a German legally independent political foundation affiliated with German Green Party. This foundation also offers scholarships to international students for undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. programs.

DKFZ PhD Scholarships

The DKFZ is Germany’s largest biomedical research institute. This institute offer Phd scholarships to international students. This scholarship program is suitable for medical students.

Please keep in mind, acceptance into a PhD program is a bit complex process and requires you to research well from the beginning! Each university/department or PhD program may have different requirements but the above tips are generally useful. Finally, nobody else can identify a topic or supervisor for you! So, do efforts by yourself.

Student Visa Process for PhD in Germany:

Once you successfully get a PhD with an offer letter from your professor or university and funding or scholarship. Immediately book an appointment in the German embassy and prepare all required documents for the visa process.

If you get PhD and funding/scholarship from Daad, then they will help you to get a visa. In some countries, PhD students don’t require an appointment to get a visa. So, check these details on the official website of the German embassy related to your country. Check this [Link] to know about the visa process and requirements of the German embassy related to different countries.

FAQs about PhD in Germany:

How to get PhD in Germany with a scholarship?

You can get a PhD with a scholarship for Germany from the following institutes:
1) DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst)
2) DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)
3) Erasmus
4) Max Planck institute
5) The Heinrich Böll Foundation
6) DKFZ (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum)

What is the average duration of a PhD in Germany?

The duration of a PhD is not usually fixed and takes between 3 to 5 years depending on the research field.

Is it worth getting a PhD from Germany?

Yes, getting a PhD in Germany is a good decision because of the following reasons:
PhD is free in Germany.
If you have funding then you will get a good amount during the PhD. Germany is one of the markets where PhD’s most respected.
After completion of PhD you can get access to the EU market.

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