Requirements: Applying for Ph.D in Germany

There have been several quires regarding basic requirements for applying for Ph.D in Germany. Here is a brief summary of what that could be essential, however this may vary between various labs, and universities even depends on concerned professors.


1. Including current degree, if the total number of educational years are 18, then you are eligible. Applications can even be filed during the last year of MS/M.Phil provided a certificate signed by the head of department which clearly states that you will complete your degree successfully.


2. As English is not a native language in Germany so universities here usually require a proof of proficiency. It would be better to do either IELTS or TOEFL if you haven’t yet.


3. Moreover a research proposal (a procedural plan of some intended work) is needed, not necessarily be similar to the interests of the lab you are applying in. Its just to evaluate your scientific approach.


4. You might need 2-3 (depends) referees from your past work (or professors of your universities), one of them should be your current supervisor preferentially (I have seen this mentioned in various advertisements), they should be able to write a reference letter for you, or directly send to the universities on demand.


5. A motivation letter along with the application answering why you want to attend that particular lab (really important, it should be modified a bit accordingly every time depending upon where applying).


6. Also make one pdf file of your transcripts and degrees (make the size less than 5 Mb).


7. Prepare your CV. which clearly summarizes your expertise and qualification, try not to be unrealistic, most of the professors distinguish between fairy tales and genuine work.


8. Next step is to hunt a position, for this you need to “GOOGLE” (nobody knows your interests better than you do) or visit either and look for courses or individual pages of the labs of your interest, talk to the professors, or apply on the given open positions. make a plan to apply at least few positions every day. international competition is tough so you need to increase the probability. don’t loose heart from negative replies, consistency and determination is key to success.


9. Experience/published papers are good but not necessary to get a Ph.D position.


10. Most importantly, try to be open minded, think out side the bubble, perhaps the work you have been offered is not “exactly” what you are looking for but in itself has great potential.


Hope these point give a clue to start with, Best luck…

Maryam Aaminah

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