Applying for a Doctorate

In this section you will find the necessary information on how to apply for a doctorate at Ulm University.

In principle, you can pursue a doctorate in any of the subjects or disciplines offered at Ulm University.

Specifications of Doctoral Degrees at Ulm University

The faculties and the International Graduate School in Molecular Medicine of Ulm University award the following academic doctoral degrees: 

Faculty of Engineering, Computer Science and Psychology

  • Dr. phil. (doctor philosophiae/Doctor of Philosophy)
  • Dr. Ing. (Doktor-Ingenieur/Doctor of Engineering)
  • Dr. rer. nat. (doctor rerum naturalium/Doctor of Natural Sciences)

Faculty of Mathematics and Economics

  • Dr. rer. nat. (doctor rerum naturalium/Doctor of Natural Sciences)
  • Dr. rer. pol. (doctor rerum politicarum/Doctor of Economics and Social Sciences)

Faculty of Natural Sciences

  • Dr. rer. nat. (doctor rerum naturalium/Doctor of Natural Sciences)

Faculty of Medicine

  • Dr. med. (doctor medicinae/Doctor of Medicine)
  • Dr. med. dent. (doctor medicinae dentariae/Doctor of Dentistry)
  • Dr. biol. hum. (doctor biologiae hominis/Doctor of Human Biology)
  • Dr. phil. (doctor philosophiae/Doctor of Philosophy)

International Graduate School in Molecular Medicine

  • Dr. rer. nat. (doctor rerum naturalium/Doctor of Natural Sciences)  

Preconditions for Application

Doctoral applicants are required to have completed an academic qualification which is equivalent to the German Master’s Degree or Magister degree. Moreover, the final grade awarded must be at least “good” (2, 0) or the student has to belong to the best 10% of his or her study year. Under certain circumstances it is possible to apply for a doctorate with an excellent Bachelor’s degree.Please check the doctoral regulations (Promotionsordnungen) of the respective faculty for more information.

The language of research is English. Nonetheless, being able to speak German would facilitate the communication with your peers at your host department and beyond.  

Application Procedure

The application procedure of your doctorate depends on whether you choose an individual doctoral program or a structured doctoral program.  

Applying for An Individual Doctorate

An individual doctorate is the classical model of a doctoral program at German Universities (research-only).  Pursuing an individual doctorate means that you have to find an academic advisor (traditionally called “Doktorvater”or ”Doktormutter”), who is willing to supervise your dissertation. In order to do so, you first have to thoroughly research your options on the university’s departmental websites(in German), where you can look for a professor who does research in an area close to yours. In the next step, you should make contact with potential supervisors to explore research options in more depth. Although professors receive many letters from potential candidates, most of them are not appropriate.

Hints on how you can set up a successful letter to a potential supervisor
  • Use a formal letter style
  • Explain your competence in the given field (e. g. Master thesis)
  • Elaborate why the research of the professor is of your interest
  • Try  to find a wider topic of your interest which is covered by the research of the professor
  • Indicate that you are willing to apply for a DAAD scholarship

Once you are in contact with the professor, he/she will ask you to prepare a deepened exposé about a frame topic and to discuss existing studies and/or publications. This process will lead to a more defined research topic. At this point it is time to think about applying for a scholarship. In rare cases, the supervisor can offer a position which is a formal employment contract. The supervisor will issue an informal invitation letter for a doctorate.

In the next step, the faculty concerned has to approve the doctorate (see 3. Admission Requirements). For the actual application process your prospective supervisor then needs to fill out an acceptance letter, on which he/she confirms that he/she will supervise your dissertation until its completion. Hereafter, you also need to be accepted as a doctoral student by the Admissions Office. For the specific requirements and regulations of your faculty, please consult the respective doctoral degree regulation.

Applying for A Structured Doctoral Program

Doctoral candidates within a structured doctoral program have to participate in a structured program of courses and workshops. Generally, applicants have to pass through a multistage application procedure. Once accepted, doctoral students are supervised by a Thesis Advisory Committee.

Since 2005, the International Graduate School in Molecular Medicine at Ulm University offers the possibility to apply for a structured PhD program. Please click here for further information.

Admission Requirements for Doctoral Students

After having received the acceptance letter from your supervisor at Ulm University, you are required to submit the following documents to your host department:

  • degree certificate
  • official transcript of records

Please note that all documents must be submitted as certified translations in English or German. The host department submits your documents for verification to the Admissions Office and the Doctoral Committee (Promotionsausschuss) of the respective faculty. The final admission is carried out by the latter. You will be forwarded an official admission letter.

Research Funding

Scholarships

If you are accepted as a doctoral candidate at Ulm University and you have very good final grades and references, you can apply for a scholarship. Please note that an application for a scholarship can be a time-consuming process. It can take as long as ten months from application to acceptance.

The largest awarder of scholarships, especially for international doctoral candidates, is the DAAD (the German Academic Exchange Service). Besides the DAAD, there is also a large number of smaller foundations and scholarship programs that award scholarships to gifted international doctoral candidates. To find detailed information, please visit the search tool provided by the DAAD or the EURAXESS Germany funding database.

Employment as a Research Associate

Research facilities at Ulm University regularly offer paid PhD positions as research associates. Please check the departmental websites for job offers and specific requirements or contact your supervisor.

Contact

Daniel Kanzleiter

Advising Hours:
Tuesday:13:30 - 15:30
Thursday:09:00 - 11:30
COVER Brochure The German Doctorate
DAAD Brochure "The German Doctorate" (PDF)
COVER Brochure Funding your Research in Germany
DAAD Brochure "Funding Your Research" (PDF)