Research in Germany: PhD in Germany

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PhD in Germany

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The German doctorate enjoys an outstanding reputation in all disciplines. In Germany some 25,000 graduates successfully complete the doctoral process every year – far more than in any other European country. In Germany there are different ways of doing a PhD: 

  • Individual Doctorate
    International PhD students can choose between some 140 universities that are entitled to award doctorates. Non-university research establishments such as the Max Planck Society (MPG) also offer an excellent research environment to conduct research. It is also possible to study for a doctorate while working in a research job in industry.
  • Structured PhD Programmes
    In addition, Germany also offers the possibility of studying for a PhD within a structured PhD programme. There are some 600 PhD programmes in Germany that are very similar to the PhD programmes in English-speaking countries.

© Getty Images. Researcher in a laboratory holding a glas with fluid.

Why to do your PhD in Germany?

As a nation with a long cultural and scientific tradition, Germany offers exceptional infrastructure for your research work.


Young researcher working in a laboratory.

Find Your PhD Position

Germany offers a wide range of different doctoral opportunities. Search now and find your PhD position in Germany!


The photograph shows a female student and two male students in white coats and protective glasses working in a chemical laboratory.

Individual Doctorate

The traditional individual path to a doctorate remains the most common in Germany. Here, a professor supervises a doctoral student, who works on his subject in consultation with the professor, but largely independently.


The picture shows several students and PhD students studying in the library of the Department of Philology at FU Berlin.

Structured PhD/doctoral programmes

In Germany, structured doctoral programmes are very similar to the PhD programmes in English-speaking countries, in which a team of supervisors look after a group of doctoral students.


PhD students in Germany

Funding for PhD Students

Germany welcomes international graduates and German universities and many funding organsations support foreign PhD students. Read more about PhD selected PhD funding programmes in Germany.


The photograph shows two female students and one male student in conversation on a staircase during a break at Dortmund University.

How to Finance Your PhD

How can I fund my doctorate in Germany? Read more about employments at a university, scholarships and part-time jobs.


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Language/Requirements

The most important formal qualification for being able to do a doctorate in Germany is a very good higher education degree that is recognised in Germany.


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Doctoral Examination

The precondition for initiating the doctoral examination process is the submission of a written doctoral thesis. A thesis is expected to demonstrate the candidate’s ability to engage in profound independent academic research.


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