Study PhD in Germany – Procedure and Requirements

Study PhD in Germany – Procedure and Requirements

A Doctor of Philosophy is the highest university degree. After completing your master’s study, many looks for PhD offered across the world. For a PhD, you need to do extensive research and research. Germany has attracted students in bulk to study PhD in Germany.

Otherwise, too, Germany attracts a lot of international students for higher education. Germany is considered to have one of the top educational systems. Universities here are tuition fee-free, and living cost is also comparatively less than other European countries.

MBA Guide For Germany

If you want to pursue PhD in Germany, we have got you all covered in this blog.

Types of PhD in Germany

Germany offers two types of PhD programs; they are mentioned in detail below:

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Individual/traditional doctorate

An individual doctorate is independent and flexible. It allows you to choose your supervisor, conduct a research project of your choice and arrange your study activities on your accord. You identify a research project and pursue it independently.

The candidate has the freedom to select the institution where they would prefer to carry out their research either at a university or non-university organisation or within a German company.

There is no compulsory attendance, deadlines or curriculum for students who opt for an individual doctorate.

Structured PhD

Structured PhD is internationally oriented. You will work individually and collaboratively on broader research projects with the students and academics within the programs. You have to complete additional training alongside your thesis. It also includes collaborations and placements with external research institutes.

The candidate has to attend compulsory lectures, seminars and interim assessments on research related topics. Students opting for a structured PhD have to complete several mandatory units to attain the 180-240 ECTS credits typically required for doctoral students.

Admission Requirements

Here is a detailed list of documents that you need while applying to a PhD program in Germany.

CV (Curriculum Vitae)

You need to have a good CV. It must contain the detailed working experience, educational background, publications, experiences etc.

A doctoral thesis outline

When applying to a university, make sure to include a detailed outline of your doctoral thesis research. It must state why you are conducting this research, how it will benefit you in the future, and why it is necessary.

Qualification equivalent

Your qualification should be equivalent to a German master’s qualification to make you eligible for the doctorate. In case you have not studied Master at a German university, you need to make sure if your educational qualification is suitable for doctoral studies.

German Language Proficiency

As most PhDs are offered in English, proficiency in the German language is not mandatory. However, international students can prove their proficiency in the German language by DSH and the TestDaF.

English proficiency test

If English is not your first language, you have to prove your proficiency in the English language. You can further give IELTS or TOEFL to prove this.


Some universities also require GRE or GMAT with specific scores to get admission to Doctoral studies.

Motivational letter

You need a detailed motivational letter. Your letter should reflect your character, goals, and ambitions. The motivational letter also serves to define you and your plans to study for a doctorate in Germany.

Recommendation letter

You need at least two academic recommendation letters from your university. In case of job/internship experience, you need an additional recommendation letter from your employer.

Academic degrees
  • Your Academic Degrees (matriculation, intermediate, bachelors, masters), their copies and certified translation (only in case of requirement)
  • Your Academic Transcripts copies: If required, you should provide the grading scale used in your University and the certified translation.

Masters Guide For Germany

Do these before you apply!

Get your earlier education recognised.
  • Firstly, consult the online database of “Anabin”. It gives you a quick country-specific search according to your qualification recognition in Germany.
  • There is another method to check your earlier education equivalence. An alternative way is DAAD’s online database.
Get your documents certified.

Your documents have to be certified/notarized to apply for a PhD in Germany.

  • You have to get your degrees attested by HEC and by Consulate.
  • Get the copies of your documents (Matriculation result, Intermediate result, Bachelors/masters Transcript & Degree, IELTS/TOEFL) notarised by a lawyer if required.

Duration of PhD in Germany

The length of PhDs in Germany is not standard. It varies from 3–6 years. And it also greatly depends upon your research.

Advantages of pursuing PhD in Germany

Moreover, Germany is well-known for its educational system. These are tonnes of benefits of pursuing a PhD from here.

  • Recognised Universities
  • Wide variety of research
  • Economical
  • Scholarships are available
  • Easy employment
  • Excellent living conditions

Visa Process for Germany – All you need to know!


Here, we have answered some questions for your ease.

Q1. Can you stay in Germany after PhD to look for a .job?

Ans. This is not a problem if you are from EU-state. However, if you are a non-EU graduate, you can extend your residence permit. You can stay for up to one year for the job-seeking purpose.

  • Study in Germany

Q2. Is there an age limit to do PhD in Germany?

Ans. No, there is no such age limit on pursuing a PhD in Germany, although it is advised to complete it before the age of 50.

Q3. Is GRE required for PhD in Germany?

Ans. GRE is not compulsory for PhD in Germany. Most PhD only requires IELTS/TOEFL for English proficiency. However, if an institute requires GRE for admission, it will be particularly mentioned on their website.

Q4. Do PhD students get paid in Germany?

Ans. Some institutes offer a paid PhD. For this, you have to apply specifically for paid PhD. In this case, either your supervisor or the institute pays you for a PhD.

Therefore, we truly hope we were able to resolve any queries you might have had to study PhD in Germany’.

Good luck!