Admission requirements for doctoral degrees

If you hold a university degree then you already have the most important prerequisite for embarking on a doctoral programme. Your intended doctoral project should usually be linked to your degree subject. You will usually have to meet other criteria too, for example evidence of an above-average mark in your final exams or very good language skills. The prerequisites for admission to a doctoral programme will be explained in the doctoral regulations of the institution in question.

Admission requirements depend on the degree you obtained

If you have a degree from a German institution, the admission requirements will largely depend on the degree you obtained from a university, an art or music school, or a university of applied sciences.

Under certain conditions you can also enrol on a doctoral programme at a German university if you have a degree from a foreign institution. Universities decide at their own discretion whether to recognise international degrees.

Foreign degrees

Under certain conditions you can enrol on a doctoral programme at a German university if you have a degree from a foreign institution.

Foreign degrees

Fast track

Exceptionally qualified holders of a bachelor's degree can also be accepted for doctoral programmes under certain conditions. Most universities offer a fast-track option which allows you to obtain a master's degree at the same time as your doctoral degree. Each university defines its own criteria for the level of qualification needed.

There are basically two types of fast-track doctoral degree. At some universities, doctoral candidates must complete their studies for a master's degree in parallel to their doctoral degree, in other words obtain a master's degree, while at other universities this is not mandatory.

It is advisable to choose a fast-track doctoral degree with integrated master's degree.

It is advisable to choose a fast-track doctoral degree with integrated master's degree.

Cotutelle - joint doctoral degree with a foreign institution

It is also possible to obtain a doctoral degree in international doctoral programmes or through a cooperation agreement with a foreign institution. In this case a written agreement is required in which the faculties undertake to make a joint doctoral degree possible and define the details of the joint doctoral process. The doctoral degree is awarded jointly by the participating institutions.

The individual usually receives a joint doctoral diploma from both institutions and in both languages. Instead of one joint diploma, two individual diplomas can also be issued, one from each university. The individual diplomas clearly indicate that the degree is the result of a binational doctoral process. Recipients of such a doctorate are entitled to use the German title of doctor in Germany and the foreign title of doctor in the other country. In third countries, only one of the two titles may be used. A binational doctorate does not entitle an individual to use both titles at the same time.