Ph.D. in Germany

Where can I find my Preferred PhD. Program in Germany?

PhD Program Selection while Studing in Germany


In the year 2014, it was found from the statistics that Germany was a favorable country for doctoral studies because of the increase in foreign students by 4%. This is because Germany provides the best education, research facilities, low tuition fees, and a favorable environment.

In Germany, there are many opportunities for foreign candidates for doctoral studies. In Germany, there are universities, non-university institutions and industries that provide a lot of opportunities for doctoral studies in a various study fields. So, if you are an international student wanting to pursue PhD in Germany then we have written this article for you to give you guidance about how to find doctoral opportunities in Germany. However, the search for your desired doctoral degree depends upon the study field and the institution from where you will get the doctoral degree.

Once you get the information about your desired form of doctoral study then you can narrow down the choices. Later, you can choose which doctoral study you want to have either structured or individual doctorate.


Various Institutions Offering Research and Doctoral studies

There are different type of institutions in Germany which offer doctoral studies. Moreover, you can also do a PhD. from combined institutions. The categories of institutions offering doctoral studies include universities such as technical universities. These universities offer research-based activities in different fields. However, in your doctoral study, you have to do the research on a specific topic which can be achieved with the collaboration of the research institutions which are non-university institutions. This is because the research institutions have the best research facilities and infrastructure. Additionally, the industries help the students by giving them part-time jobs, so that they can be economically stable.

Universities offering PhD Studies in Germany

In Germany, there are 400 universities which offer study in many fields. However, the unique thing about the higher education system of Germany is that it links teaching, learning and the research in one place. Among the 400 universities in Germany 140 of them are eligible to award doctoral studies to the candidates. Moreover, you can select different fields of study at different universities such as space technology, biology, etc.

  • Applied Sciences Institutions

The applied sciences universities also known as “Fachhochschulen’’ provide studies that are practical and cover the fields of design, engineering, social sciences, and business administration. These universities have strong collaborations with the industries offering the candidate a dual supervisor. But this should be kept in mind that applies sciences universities do not offer a Ph.D. course to the students.

  • Non-University Institutes

In Germany, there are a lot of non-university institutes offering great research and education facilities. These institutions provide great support for research and practical training for Ph.D. students. There are top known research institutions in Germany such as Max Planck Society (MPG), etc.


Industry offering Part-time Jobs For University Students

Industries come at the third position in the chain of PhD. studies in Germany. The companies provide part-time jobs to doctoral students depending upon their skill set. Moreover, in Germany, there are many companies that collaborate with non-universities and universities to recruit and supervise doctoral students. This is because so that they become financially stable.

Individual doctorate Studies In Germany

As mentioned before, the individual doctorate provides you a lot of independence in terms of the studies and research activities. It also allows you to choose your own research topic and supervisor to mentor yourself. You are free to choose your research activities and extracurricular activities. Moreover, individual doctorate usually lasts for 3 to 5 years.

However, you can search for individual doctorate program through many channels. And can obtain a doctoral degree from the university and non-university institutions.


An Individual Doctorate at German Universities

If you want to pursue individual doctoral studies at university then it is upon you entirely to find a supervisor for yourself working in a domain of study in which you’re interested. Additionally, he will also provide you guidance during the study. Following we have listed some databases through which you can get all the information about the doctoral programs and supervisors you need to find at the universities and research centers. Moreover, these databases also suggest the institutions providing doctoral programs in your area of interest.

  • DAAD’s Database

It is the database which gives the information of 1774 universities offering doctoral programs to international students. Moreover, the database helps you to narrow down your choices depending upon the search criteria.

  • Phd Germany

This platform gives information about the variety of doctoral programs available for international students. Moreover, the database provides information about those doctoral programs which are offered in English.

  • Hochschulkompass

This online database provides good information about doctoral programs at German universities. Moreover, it gives all the information about the international offices of the universities and their system of study.

  • Research-explorer

Database of this kind provides information on around 23,000 research institutions and universities. Additionally, it’s maintained by many organizations. Moreover, this database provides the searcher with the opportunity of finding the results depending upon the area, study field, etc.


Individual doctorate at non-university German Research organisation

In Germany, the doctoral studies don’t go unaided. As there is strong collaboration between the universities and non-university research organisations and industry. However, apart from the universities, the research institutions also provide doctoral studies to the students. But keep in mind that these research institutions don’t have authority to grant Ph.D. degrees to the students. They just aid the students to develop their skills in research. Moreover, these non-university research institutions also provide job opportunities to PhD candidates making them financially stable.

Following we have listed some databases that will allow you to search for the non-university research institutions.

  • Research explorer

Database of this kind that assists candidates to find non-universities institutions for Ph.D. studies. Moreover, it consists of a big data of 19,000 of universities and also the non-universities institutions.


It is an online database that provides the opportunity for international students to find doctoral positions at the research institutes.

How can one Search a Job Opportunity in German Industry?

As mentioned earlier the individual doctoral programs provide great independence to doctoral candidates than structured doctoral programs. So, during the individual doctorate, you can find a job at the university. However, this job should be monitored by the supervisor you choose. Additionally, the employer in the industry also collaborates with research institutions and universities to help the doctoral candidates to get a part-time work in the industry. This also benefits the students in a way that they get supervised by the employer and a supervisor.

Moreover, there’re also portals that provide information about the jobs relevant to research discipline you are interested in. Additionally, the companies and the universities advertise job positions at their websites.

Structured doctorate in Germany

Structure doctorate programs are the ones that are very organized and the doctoral students do not have a lot of independence in terms of choosing a supervisor or the research topic. Moreover, you are not also allowed to choose the research activities yourself. In Germany, there’re different 700 structured doctoral programs offering studies in different fields under the direction of the supervisors team including the scientists.

Following we have listed different search paths through which you can find the information about the structured doctoral programs.

  • German Exchange Academic Service (DAAD)

It is an online database providing you the information about all structured doctoral programs available to international students.

  • German Research Foundation (DFG)

DFG database assists the students in finding funding opportunities for doctoral studies. These funding opportunities are for doctoral students from the graduate schools and for research groups working for 9 years.

  • The Helmholtz Association

This is a database that propose information about the various doctoral programs in the state of Germany. Moreover, this database has a cooperation with many institutions in Germany providing higher education.

  • The Max Planck Society

MPG consists of many research institutes offering great infrastructure in research. They are mostly specialized in innovative research. The website of MPG has all the information about the available doctoral programs and the schools of MPG.

Dr. Philip Morgan

(Associate Editor) Dr. Philip Morgan is a postdoctoral fellow and lead author at He earned his Master's and Ph.D. from Stanford before pursuing research in the U.S. on a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship. Leveraging his diverse academic background, Dr. Morgan creates informative articles on scholarships, internships, and fellowships for international students. His expertise and passion empower students to achieve their academic goals through international education opportunities.

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