Ways to do your PhD

DAAD Volker Lannert

You have the choice of two routes to your doctoral title in Germany.

Individual Doctoral Studies

Most doctoral candidates choose the individual study model. In this model you need to find a university professor who will supervise your dissertation. You may elect to write your dissertation alone or collaborate with other researchers – it really depends on your subject.

As a doctoral candidate you have three options as to where you carry out your research:  at a university, at a research organisation or in the industrial sector.  You can decide which option best fits your goals.

How long it takes to complete an individual PhD is down to your schedule, or the period of your research grant, but the length of this form of PhD usually ranges from 3 to 5 years.

Find out more about individual doctoral studies and how to find a supervisor: www.research-in-germany.org/phd-individual

Structured PhD Programmes

An alternative route to your doctorate is via the structured PhD programme, similar to those in English-speaking countries. This model offers regular and intense supervision by a team of advisors.  The programmes include a curriculum of courses, usually with an interdisciplinary focus. These programmes will advance your skills not only in academic and scientific methods such as presentation techniques but also foster soft skills. This systematic approach allows you to complete your doctoral studies within 3 – 4 years.  

Discover more about structured PhD programmes, how to find the right structured PhD programme for you, and how to apply: www.research-in-germany.org/phd-structural

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