PhD/Doctorate at Ulm University

Traditionally, German universities do not offer course-scheduled doctoral / PhD programs. Recently, new programs based on the Anglo-American model have been introduced, for example, the International PhD Program in Molecular Medicine. However, with the academic MSc. degrees, people are not automatically accepted as PhD students in Germany. Mostly PhD positions will be released by professors if they receive a permission for the realization of a research project.

In general, there are two ways to write a dissertation.

1) The traditional doctorate: doctoral students work on their special research topics under the supervision of a professor ("Doktorvater/Doktormutter"). Results of the researches will be published on a "monograph".

2) The cumulative doctorate: PhD students submit a collection including all articles/publications with a cohesive content. After finishing the written dissertations, doctoral students have to pass a "Disputation" and/or a "Rigorosum"  to complete the PhD program successfully.

To be accepted as a doctoral student you need to have a German diploma or a master's or an equivalent degree. Moreover, it is required a final grade better than 2 (good) or the student belongs to the best 10% of his / her study year. Additionally, you are expected very good English language abilities.

To get the information on HOW you can complete your PhD / doctorate you can be consulted in the Opens external link in new windowSTUDIENFACHBERATUNG (Study Subject Consultation).

All requirements / regulations / guidelines which have to be followed before / during / after the doctorate / PhD, you can find under the “Opens external link in new windowPromotionsordnung” ("Doctoral Degree Regulations"). The “Promotionssekretariat“ (secretariat for doctoral students) of your faculty provides counsel concerning the entire process of gaining a doctoral degree.  In order to be accepted as a doctoral student, you have to apply at the admission office ("Annahme als Doktorand") and submit further required documents. The final acceptance decision is made by the doctorate committee ("Promotionsausschuss") of the faculty . After that you will get a statement of acceptance as a doctoral student  from the admission office or your supervisor.

How can I find a supervisor (Doktorvater / Doktormutter) and a thesis subject?

1. A professor (or private lecturer) of your wished department offers a doctorate position (often half positions TVL 13):



a) as doctoral / PhD student in a research project (with or without teaching obligation;
    in case of a teaching obligation, good German or English language abilitiess are required)
b) in a graduate school

You can find job offers in these ways:
- ask the other doctoral students, lecturers, professors
- bulletins in the institutes
- on the websites of the institute
- on the following websites (German) (English) (German) (English)

In case you can find a doctorate / PhD offer, you have to apply for this position like a job application. Selected candidates will be invited for a job interview. Usually, working on such a project is with a working contract or it is possible to apply for a program/department scholarship.

2. Applications for a DAAD scholarship (from your home country
), for a doctorate / PhD study in Germany:

To get such a scholarship you have to find a German professor (Doktovater / Doktormutter) who supervises your work. Therefore you have to compare your preconditions with the study/working subjects of the professors and to write speculative applications. You will have more success to get a positive answer from the professor if you explain the professor:

- What you have studied
- Which practice you have
- What kind of work you want to do

The most professors will refuse standard applications especially if they are sent to each person of his working group.

Opens external link in new windowPhD Studies and Research
Opens external link in new windowApplication Forms / Downloads
Application for Research Grants and Study Scholarships

Opens external link in new windowCountry-specific Information on the DAAD Scholarship Programmes

3. In case you prefer to work on a subject selected by yourself you have to find a professor supervising
you (“Doktorvater / Doktormutter”) and you also need to be accepted as a doctoral student by the admission office. You have to afford work and living costs by yourself. You also can apply for a DAAD scholarship, for which you have to apply from your home country or use your own financial ways (savings, parents). In rare cases the supervisor will be able to support you financially (at first for the needed equipment). The sort of financing has to be well reasoned for the application of a residence permit, otherwise you will be refused to enter into Germany. 

Admission Requirements for Doctoral Students from Foreign Countries

The acceptance letter / invitation letter from a professor at Ulm University is not sufficient to guarantee the admission as a doctoral student. For this reason it is strongly recommended that applicants for doctoral studies send the following documents in English or German to the hosting department. The department submits these documents to the admissions office and the faculty committee ("Promotionsausschuss") for verification:

  • Transcripts of records listing all courses and marks of the BSc./MSc. programs from the home university including the topic of the Master's thesis (in English or German)
  • Copies of degrees awarded at home university (in English or German)
  • Good German or English language proficiency.

For an admission as a doctoral / PhD student at Ulm University, you have to submit the original documents mentioned above with an officially certified German or English translation at the admission office after arrival. Otherwise, the admission as a doctoral student will be withdrawn.

Visa and Residence Permit

If you need a visa to enter into Germany, please do NOT apply for a tourist visa.
In Germany it is impossible to change the tourist visa to a residence permit visa.

PhD students or "Doktoranden" must be after their arrival like degree seeking students:
- with your hiring contract to register within one week at registration office
- as a NON-EU doctoral / PhD-Student, pay a health insurance
- open a bank account

For the Foreigner Registration Office it is needed:

- admission as a doctoral / Phd student
- hiring contract
- registration of the Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt)
- proof of a health insurance including all possible arising cost in Germany
- working contract, scholarship notification:
  (proof of a monthly income, which is at least in accordance with the amount of the parent independent "BAföG-Höchstsatz" (€670)
  or a proof about a balance in accordance with 12 * monthly "BAföG-Höchstsatz")

To apply for a "residence permit for researcher" see first information here.

Enrolment as A Doctoral Student at Ulm University

After you get the acceptance as a doctoral student from the doctorate committee ("Promotionsausschuss"), you can register (bewerben/immatrikulieren) as a "Opens external link in new windowDoctoral Studies"
at Ulm University. This registration is independent of the employer or the employment.
(§ 38 Abs. 5 Landeshochschulgesetz
, Stand 2014).

There are two different ways of registration:

Application:you have finished your study at other Univeristy which is qualified for doctorate
you have finished your study at Ulm Univeristy which is qualified for doctorate

To enrol (Bewerbung/Immatrikulation) at Ulm University you have to pay the following fees per semester (no study fees!): Opens external link in new window Tuition Fees

- event cost fees (Verwaltungskostenbeitrag): 60,00 €
- contribution to Student Service Organization (Studentenwerksbeitrag): 77 €

Advantage: eating in the canteen with a cheaper price (student price), permitted to buy a "Semesterticket"

Once your doctoral / PhD study is finished you have to exmatriculate
otherwise you will keep on paying the fees

Life And Work in Ulm

Further information about life and work in Ulm: Welcome to Ulm