Paths to a Doctorate

All faculties at Bielefeld University offer the opportunity for doctoral study. There are different ways to do so: in the framework of an individual or "free" doctoral degree or within a structured doctoral programme (doctoral degree programme, PhD programme).

The form of the doctoral degree is determined by the doctoral regulations of each particular faculty. These faculty regulations are based on the General Doctoral Regulations, reflecting the institutional responsibility of Bielefeld University for all doctorates.

If you decide for an individual doctoral study model, then it is your responsibility to find a university professor who will supervise your thesis. You will also need to contact the faculty regarding admission as a doctoral candidate. Aside from the dissertation, individual doctoral studies offer no advance structured teaching programmes of workshops and events. As a rule, there are also no additional formal frameworks for the support of doctoral candidates. The individual study model allows you more freedom in structuring and writing your dissertation project and so demands good self-organisational skills. You can find an overview of the subject areas in which you can complete an individual doctorate and the relevant contact person here.

Doctoral degree programmes offer a research-oriented and systematically structured teaching programme. A dissertation project on a doctoral degree programme usually lasts six semesters, four of which involve taking part in seminars, colloquia and other courses to advance your skills. The doctoral course of study is often timed to begin at the start of the semester. To enrol on a doctoral programme you must apply to the doctoral committee or the office responsible at the particular faculty. You can find the particular contact person in this overview of the doctoral study programmes.

In addition, you can also enrol on a PhD programme in a graduate school or a research training group to do a doctorate. These are facilities where the doctoral course of study takes place within a framework of a coordinate research programme and is normally funded. There are graduate schools that focus on specific topics and faculty areas. There are also graduate schools where researchers from different faculties participate, forging the interdisciplinary research profiles and focus areas that Bielefeld University is renowned for. An important part of this programme is its intense level of supervision as well as its stimulating learning environment with other colleagues. There is often a course structure within the framework of the doctoral degree programmes. Here you can find an overview of the current PhD programmes of Bielefeld University and the contact person responsible for each subject area.


19. October 2017
The NachwuchsNewsletter 05/2017 is out and available for download here.