Earning a PhD


In Germany, the Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy), is a rather high academic title. It is pursued following the successful completion of a Master’s degree (or an equivalent academic degree) at an internationally recognised university, and it is often considered a prerequisite for an academic career.

The main focus of doctoral studies is placed on research, culminating in the writing of a Ph.D. thesis. In Germany, there are several ways of obtaining a doctorate degree.


Earning a Ph.D. through individual research
  • One possibility that is typical for the German university system is to pursue a Ph.D. by conducting individual research. As the Ph.D. program does not have an explicit curriculum, you are completely free to organize the schedule for your research. In order to finance your research, you may have the opportunity to work as a research assistant for a university professor. It can take about three to five years to obtain the Ph.D.

Obtaining a Ph.D. through an International Ph.D. Program
  • The RPTU Kaiserslautern-Landau offers several international Ph.D. programs that are run by various faculties. Doctoral candidates take part in a well-structured program conducted in English. They can obtain their Ph.D. within three to five years. As an integral part of all of these Ph.D. programs, students participate in a German-language course as well as undertake interdisciplinary coursework and individual tutoring. Major emphasis is placed on the Ph.D. thesis which is based on in-depth research on the topic

Earning a Ph.D. at a Graduate College or School
  • Graduate Colleges offer organized study programs in which research groups of a given university deal with closely defined areas of interest. The DFG offers financial support to the candidates. All courses are held in English. However, please note that these research groups deal with extremely specialized subject areas, and that candidates are selected according to strict admission requirements. Due to their structure, these Graduate Colleges enable the candidates to obtain their doctorate within two or three years.

More detailed information about earning a PhD at RPTU

can be found in the Postgraduate Research section. Information about Research Training Positions in Germany can be found here.