Once a professor has agreed to supervise your doctorate, this has to be approved by the doctoral examination board of the faculty concerned. The faculty will then issue a letter confirming your acceptance as a doctoral student.
After receiving the letter confirming that you have a supervisor, you can apply to be accepted as a doctoral student. Applicants who have acquired their study qualifications abroad have to apply directly to the Student Office at Bielefeld University.
Basically, you will require the following documents:
- Secondary school-leaving certificate
- Study certificates (including transcripts)
- Proof of knowledge of German
- Proof of supervision: written confirmation from the supervising professor or a supervision certificate (Betreuungsnachweis) from the Graduate School or Research Training Group (on a form issued by the Examination Office or the Dean's Office of the corresponding faculty).
You have to submit all documents as officially certified copies of the originals and, if necessary, with officially certified copies of translations (into either German or English). You have to submit the original proof of supervision.
If you are planning to write your doctoral thesis in German, you will need the TestDaF. Most faculties will also allow you to write your thesis in English, but you will have to gain permission from the faculty to write it in any other foreign language. Regardless of the language of your doctoral thesis, you have to provide proof of sufficient knowledge of German for enrolment unless your academic supervisor confirms either that you do not need German or that your knowledge of German is sufficient to exempt you from the obligation to take the TestDaF.
There are no deadlines for an individual doctorate. Basically, you can apply, be accepted, and enrol as a doctoral student at any time. Research Training Groups and Graduate Schools generally have set application deadlines. Go to their homepages for further information.