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How do I get started with my doctorate?

Before you begin, please make sure that you fulfill the conditions that qualify you as a doctoral candidate at TU Berlin. For this end please familiarize yourself with the admission requirements as they are laid out in §3 of the Doctoral Regulations of TU Berlin.

As a next step you should then familiarize yourself with the two ways to pursue a doctorate in Germany. Most likely you will be pursuing an individual doctorate which is generally a one-on-one supervision of an individually arranged doctoral research project. For this kind of doctorate there are usually no application deadlines, fixed timing, or structure. In addition to the individual doctorate TU Berlin offers a number of excellent doctoral programs that are generally focusing on a common research theme and are more structured in their curriculum and timing.

If you want to take up an individual doctorate please take note of the following question “How does the general application process for an individual doctorate at the TU Berlin look like?” For general information please consult “Step by step to your doctoral degree”.

How does the general application process for an individual doctorate at the TU Berlin look like?

The most common way in Germany and at TU Berlin is an individual doctorate which is generally a one-on-one supervision of an individually arranged doctoral research project. For this kind of doctorate there are usually no application deadlines, fixed timing, or structure. For admission it is essential as a first step to contact a potential supervisor. Please note, when contacting to provide a well-designed and detailed academic application containing your CV, a description of your proposed research and a letter of motivation that matches the research project and expertise of the potential supervisor.

Please find further information and a guideline briefly outlining the steps to pursue a doctoral degree at the TU Berlin:



How does the general application process for an structured doctorate at the TU Berlin look like?

Apart from the "traditional" model of individual supervision, TU Berlin offers a growing number of doctoral programs offering joint supervision, an academic program, as well as transferable skills training. Such programs are funded by the Excellence Initiative, the German Research Foundation (DFG), various other foundations, as well as TU Berlin itself. Doctoral programs are usually characterized by fixed application deadlines and a limited number of available positions. An associated membership is generally bound to a position or a scholarship. These are publicly announced and you will have to apply for any position or scholarship in accordance to the terms and modalities of the institution advertising. Both the application as a candidate and the examination are conducted by the faculties and are independent from participation in a program.

For an overview of all doctoral programs at TU Berlin, please consult doctoral programs.

For an overview of all doctoral programs in Berlin and Potsdam, please consult doctoral-programs.

How can I find a supervisor in my field of interest?

To find a supervisor, that fits your area of interest, please check the website of the TU Berlin giving an overview of the faculties: http://www.tu-berlin.de/menue/fakultaeten/parameter/en/. For more information click on “Institutes” under the faculty you are interested in. When furthermore choosing an institute of interest you find the contact information of the responsible professor in the left sidebar.

How do I finance my doctorate?

The TU Berlin does not provide any financial support for graduate students. However, there are other possibilities for funding, that are presented in the follwoing.

A temporary employment can help you to finance your doctorate. You can apply for TU positions that are generally fulltime for a duration of five years whereas one third of the time should be spend for the individual research. You may also apply for project positions that are funded by external organisations. Furthermore, the scientific region Berlin-Brandenburg offers a variety of possibilities for employment of doctoral students. For more information please look here.

Another way to finance your doctorate is by applying for a scholarship. The duration of most scholarships is 2-3 years, some allow minor additional income. The payment varies substantially depending on the funding institution. More information can be found here. On our website we have already prepared a selection of possible scholarships which you can apply for: http://www.tudoc.tu-berlin.de/menu/doctoral_research/financial_support/scholarships/parameter/en/

Are there any scholarships for international PhD students?

The TU Berlin does not grant any scholarships. We do offer, however, a rather substantial pool of information concerning funding opportunities. Please consult our website: http://www.tudoc.tu-berlin.de/menue/vor_der_promotion/finanzierung/parameter/en/

How do I get a visa?

In general, doctoral candidates who are either EU-citizens or from a one of the countries listed by the student service of TU Berlin do not need a visa to pursue a doctorate in Germany. Should you require a visa please contact the German embassy in your home country which will issue it. Usually you get an entry visa which expires after three months and requires the application of the residence permit. EU citizens only have to register with the city.

For an application you will need the following documents:

  • a valid passport
  • a written confirmation of your application from TU Berlin (visa for study applicants) or a letter of admission (student visa)
  • proof of financial resources to sufficiently support yourself during your stay (currently this about 8.640€ annually)
  • einen Nachweis über ausreichende finanzielle Mittel für den Lebensunterhalt (Finanzierungsnachweis, aktuell werden regelmäßig 8.640€ für das erste Jahr verlangt)
  • health insurance

Do I need German language skills to pursue a doctorate at the TU Berlin?

No, you do not need German language certificates to pursue a doctorate at the TU Berlin. Anyhow, a basic knowledge of the German language helps you in every day life and can be of importance. 

However, when you want to write your thesis in German, a  proof of language proficiency is required according to the rules set out on the Graduate Admissions website (http://www.referat-1a.tu-berlin.de/menue/graduate_admissions/zugangsvoraussetzungen/sprachkenntnisse/parameter/en/). The requirement is waived for German citizens or if substantial parts of a university degree have been pursued in German.

Do I need health insurance during my doctorate?

Yes, international doctoral researchers need proof of health insurance for enrollment at the TU Berlin and for their residence permit. Before your arrival in Germany, you should enquire with your health insurance whether it is valid in Germany or not. If not, a health insurance in Germany needs to be concluded and will need to be valid for your entire stay. The DAAD provides further information on this topic and an own insurance offer for certain target groups.

Information on organising health insurance by the DAAD

Are there restriction concerning the grade of the master studies?

No, for a doctorate at the TU Berlin there are no formal requirements with regard to the final mark of the master studies. When applying, you first need to contact a potential supervisor. He/she needs to accept you as doctoral candidate in her/his department before you take the additional bureaucratic steps.

If you have a foreign degree, the International Office will decide whether your qualification is sufficiant for a doctorate at the TU Berlin.

The Faculty-Service-Center of your faculty will than complete the application process and admitt you for the doctoral procedure.

Am I entitled to pursue a doctorate at TU Berlin with my final degree?

A first indication whether your final degree entitles you to pursue doctoral studies at TU Berlin can be found on the following website:

  • anabin provides information on equivalences of your degree in the German educational system (the website available in German only)

For further information on whether your final degree entitles you to pursue doctoral studies at TU Berlin and whether you meet the admission criteria please contact the Office of International Affairs.

What services are there to support doctoral candidates with children/family?

TU Berlin supports doctoral candidates with children/family and provides various services and counseling via its Family Services Office. Please consult the website of the Family Services Office for further information. Women in academia pervides information concerning the doctorate directly.

How can I visit TU Berlin as a guest doctoral student?

In order to visit TU Berlin as a guest doctoral student you will first have to contact a professor from your field of interest and arrange your exchange with her or him personally.

In general, the TU Berlin has no formalized process or program for the exchange of doctoral students, there is no registration or reporting requirement for guest doctoral students. Nevertheless, we recommend a registration.

For further information please consult our website.

Does TU Berlin offer the possibilty to pursue a doctorate in form of a so-called “industry-sponsored doctorate”?

Principially, TU Berlin offers the possibility to pursue a doctorate in cooperation with commercial enterprises. Due to the fact, however, that there is a risk of conflict of interest, e.g. in respect to the publication of conducted research, TU Berlin has decided on a Code of Conduct to emphasize the importance of a free choice of topics, participation in the scientific discussion, and the publicity of the research results.

How can I find housing in Berlin?

You will find helpful information regarding accommodations in Berlin here.

The Office for Doctoral and Postdoctoral Services does not offer any further accommodation services.

How do I work scientifically correct?

Information on the principle of Good Scientific Practice can be found here.


Investigation Commission for Scientific Misconduct

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