The application procedure in Germany is slightly different to other countries.
If you apply for a traditional PhD, you must identify and contact a supervisor to request they supervise your thesis.
Applications for structured PhDs are made directly to the institution or graduate school providing the programme you wish to study on.
To study for a PhD in Germany you will generally need to have completed a minimum of eight semesters of academic study prior to the doctorate. The final qualification you obtained must be equivalent to a German Masters degree.
Your previous higher education degree/s must also be recognised by the Dean's Office (Dekanat) or Board of Examiners (Promotionsausschuss) at your university.
Exceptionally well-qualified international students may be admitted onto a PhD with a Bachelor degree (fast-track programme), for this you will typically have to complete an entrance examination.
The language requirements for a PhD in Germany will depend on the programme you apply for.
Structured doctoral programmes are typically taught in English. If this isn’t your first language you may have to complete an English language proficiency test, such as the TOEFL or IELTS. Individual institutions will set their required scores for these tests.
Traditional PhDs may require you to write your thesis in German (though some institutions allow thesis completion in other languages). Therefore, you may need to prove your German language proficiency. Your knowledge of German will need to be certified through a TestDaF or DSH.
Applications requirements for a PhD in Germany will normally require you to submit the following:
- A statement from your doctoral supervisor – if you are applying to complete a traditional PhD project you must submit a statement from your chosen supervisor describing their intent to supervise your thesis
- Academic documents – you will need to provide certified copies of certificates and academic transcripts from previous degrees
- Proof of recognition – you must obtain recognition of your qualifications from the Dean’s Office or University Board of Examiners
- Academic references – your referees should include at least two professors who have worked with you
Once you have supplied these materials the department / doctoral committee you are applying to can confirm your eligibility as a PhD candidate.
For admission onto the structured PhD programmes some institutions may require you to complete an interview. This will typically be in front of the supervising board for that programme. Interviews for traditional programmes are usually conducted with your chosen supervisor (and may be more informal).
Interviews for international students are typically conducted over skype.