How to get a PhD in Germany?

The historic and consistently ranked universities in Germany make it an outstanding option for international students and researchers to do PhD in Germany. Yet, this country has far more to deliver in terms of doctoral studies. Germany is the origin of research universities where innovative information is developed on a regular basis. This university paradigm has now spread around the world and it is essentially what most institutions are built up for today in order to generate insight and create modern developments. German institutions and specialized research centers, which developed the doctorate in the 19th century, strive to support innovation, education, and doctoral programs.

General Types of PhD in Germany:

Basically, there are two types of PhDs offered in Germany. Both have research work and a written thesis under the supervision of a single supervisor for a single candidate.

1. Individual/traditional PhD:

The most common and popular type of PhD in Germany is the traditional PhD that is also known as an individual doctorate. It consists of a dissertation or a thesis published under the supervision of a sole supervisor. This style of the doctoral dissertation provides a lot of versatility, but it still involves a lot of individual effort and accountability. A PhD student is supervised by a supervisor and studies on his/her topic in collaboration with the supervisor yet primarily independently. The period of a traditional PhD in Germany relies on one’s own timeline or on the length of one’s job agreement, although it usually requires 3-5 years. While a university is often in charge of that dissertation phase, studies may be conducted at other universities too.

2. Structured PhD:

The structured PhD programs are not the same as conventional PhDs in Germany. The structured PhD in Germany is somewhat close to PhD programs in English-speaking countries of the world, where a panel of instructors directs a number of PhD candidates. The structured PhD program also has a heavy foreign focus, including English as the group language. Doctoral students and their thesis projects must integrate within an established PhD plan, whereas the single doctorate model may be freely structured to accommodate the particular research idea. The doctorate is often associated with a specifically defined doctoral thesis schedule that includes mandatory participation in classes or workshops as well as interim review or credit points. Relevant scientific approaches, as well as interpersonal skills such as presenting strategies, are often discussed throughout the course. PhD students, on average, perform continuously on realizing their dissertation proposal as part of a group although with comprehensive guidance from a panel of institutional personnel known as the “thesis committee.” The research may generally last three to five years, and one can follow a set of programs while he works for his doctorate and writes his thesis.

Funding for PhD in Germany:

The great news about PhD in Germany is that it’s always funded by universities or companies (that collaborate with universities in different research projects). So, students do not need to worry about additional scholarships.
If you want to get funding for your PhD then request it from your supervisor/professor. German professors always have many funding sources available for PhD students.

PhD in University vs PhD in Industry:

Normally, there are two types of PhD positions offered in Germany:

  • PhD as a student
  • PhD as an employee (in companies funded projects)

Studnet PhD is a position that you get in a university as a student. In this PhD position, the university normally provides approximately 1500 euros funding per month. The duration of this PhD mostly remains flexible (3-5 years) because of one supervisor.

An Employee PhD is a position that you get in a university in companies-funded projects as an employee. In this PhD position, the university pay from 2000 euros to 3000 euros per month. The duration of this PhD mostly remains fixed according to the company’s deadlines.

Documents Required to Apply for PhD in Germany:

The following documentation would be required of the candidate:

  • A copy of the obtained higher education entrance qualification (e.g GRE, GAT, etc.) that has been officially approved (if applicable)
  • Research proposal
  • Motivation letter
  • Copies of previous higher education credentials that have been certified
  • A passport-sized picture
  • Passport photocopy
  • Language credential certified copies

PhD qualifications requirements in Germany differ by institution and PhD program. In particular, a graduate must have a decent higher education degree that is equal to a German postgraduate program. Likewise, exceptionally, and possibly the best foreign candidates having a graduate degree can be accepted as PhD students in an instant scheme, that could require them to take an admission test and possibly undergo an interview.

When an applicant is preparing for a PhD in English and English is not his native language, he must show English language proficiency by an English language examination like IELTS or TOEFL. When an applicant is researching or applying for his PhD in German, he will be asked to take a language exam like DSH or TestDaF.

How to apply for PhD in Germany:

  1. Decide the topic of your research
  2. Write a two-page high-quality proposal
  3. A motivation letter
  4. Contact the university of your choice and submit these (if you find a PhD on the Daad portal or on any other higher educational platform)
  5. Or, look at the related departments on the websites of your chosen universities and identify suitable professors having similar research interests
  6. Contact chosen professors via email with a summary of your research topic and request if they are willing to supervise you
  7. Share your research proposal with a professor who shows initial interest
  8. Once the professor agrees to supervise you, then the rest of the application process is managed by the university administration. Now the university will tell you their requirements for admission
  9. Fulfill those requirements and get your PhD in Germany

Selection Procedure:

The selection procedure varies based on whether the applicant has selected a traditional/individual or a structured PhD. After that, he basically just has to register instantly at the institution of his choice.

  • Step 1: When registering for a traditional PhD, a person must first seek a desirable instructor who is prepared to provide his supervision. A supervisor can be found by connections with his former university, often through looking for universities, research centers, or departments related to his field of study.
  • Step 2: The accountable institution or doctoral panel should affirm the applicant’s qualifications as a doctoral candidate after the selection of a supervisor. This often entails submitting a request that contains a letter from one’s doctoral adviser, approved copies of credentials, evidence of acceptance of credentials from the Vice Chancellor’s office, scholarly endorsements, and the university degree that allows participation in doctoral research. If necessary, the request must also contain the results of an English or German language exam. The selected university’s Student Office will study these records and offer approval to begin a PhD.
  • Step 3: The following move is to enroll in the university. To be considered for enrollment, the institution should approve the PhD admissions submission. The person must also ascertain that his postgraduate degree is accepted, secure a residency permit or student visa, and confirm that he has sufficient funds (if funding/scholarship available then no need for this) for the duration of his stay.

The majority of PhD students participate in a paying thesis project or are given a grant. When someone wishes to qualify for a grant or financial assistance, they will do so from the main webpage of the chosen institution. Scholarships and financial aids can be found by visiting

The applicant (who gets PhD as a student) could even recommend getting a part-time job to augment his finances, whether inside or outside of the institution while maintaining any future constraints in mind. There have been no limits on whether or where the applicant will work if he is a full-time EU or EEA student except for the candidates from Bulgaria and Romania. If the applicant is a full-time student located beyond the EU, he would be restricted to working up to 4 months per year until requiring a job permit. After obtaining a paid job in Germany, he could visit the German employment office to inquire regarding the legal requirements.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Related Article