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  • Young Academics and Doctorate

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Doctoral Degree in Bielefeld

A successful philosophical doctorate require high analytical skills, a profound understanding of philosophical problems, excellent linguistic competences and the ability to reflect. The Department of Philosophy at Bielefeld University emphasises systematic approaches and places particular emphasis on conceptual clarity and rational argumentation. A further concern is to make the positions of the intellectual-historical tradition fruitful for contemporary problems.

The Department of Philosophy promotes, accompanies and supports doctoral students in the preparation of their academic work. To this end, it offers the possibility of a supervised doctoral programme. In exceptional cases, there is also the possibility of free doctorate/Phd studies. Another possibility for doctoral studies is offered by the DFG Research Training Group 2073 "Integrating Ethics and Epistemology of Scientific Research".

Promotional structure

A doctorate in the subject Philosophy usually takes place within the framework of a structured doctorate phase. This enables the acquisition of key qualifications and offers research-oriented studies. The structured doctoral phase helps to organise and shape one's own doctoral period effectively. However, it leaves more room for manoeuvre than an independent doctoral programme.

The following academic achievements are required:

Regular participation in and two presentations of the doctoral project in a relevant research colloquium.

Taking into account the individual training programme and the topic of the (doctoral) thesis, agreement is reached with the supervisor on further academic achievements, such as:

Participation in events from the area of key qualifications of the International Doctoral Programme in History or other relevant university didactic offers
Activities in research such as organisation and/or contributions to workshops and symposia or publications
Participation in the management of courses.

Doctoral students are individually supervised and supported in their (doctoral) thesis by a supervisor. For this purpose, a supervision agreement is concluded between the doctoral candidate and the supervisor in which the modalities of supervision as well as the mutual rights and obligations are laid down. The doctoral candidates have the right to nominate their supervisor.


Approval requirements

philosophical studies completed with an overall grade of at least "good" and proof of academic aptitude
the requirement of a Philosophy degree can be replaced by another degree relevant to a doctorate/Phd studies in Philosophy in justified individual cases upon application.

All doctoral candidates must be enrolled at Bielefeld University, but may take leave of absence under certain circumstances. Details are regulated by the enrolment regulations of Bielefeld University (especially §§ 3 and 12).

Details on enrolment can be found under 'Documents'.


A research-strong department

The Department of Philosophy is one of the leading philosophical institutes in Germany. It combines a broad thematic spectrum with a clear methodological orientation:

  • Methodological orientation: the Bielefeld researchers are committed to the standards of clarity and argumentative stringency as shaped by analytical Philosophy in recent decades.
  • Systematic focus: Our research ranges from Logic and Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind and Theory of Action to Political Philosophy and Applied Ethics.
  • Cooperative spirit: In accordance with this thematic breadth, there are numerous cooperations with neighbouring academic disciplines both within the university and at home and abroad.

In the wider region, the Department of Philosophy cooperates in particular with the locations in Bochum, Hanover, Münster and Osnabrück. Joint colloquia and graduate seminars - with a joint block section - are regularly held with philosophers from Münster and Osnabrück in the area of Theoretical Philosophy.


Interdisciplinary Bielefeld University

Bielefeld University is an attractive place for doctorate/Phd studies due to its strong interdisciplinary orientation:

  • Structure: The University has 13 different Faculties, with many departments housed in a shared building.
  • Exchange: The various members of the university are in lively exchange with each other and work closely together, regardless of their level of education and focus of research.
  • Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF): This is where outstanding interdisciplinary and innovative research projects are sponsored by groups. Here, doctoral students can also enter into close exchange with researchers working internationally and interdisciplinarily and form networks.
  • University library: Has a very good stock of scientific literature and works with a strong focus on service, which is reflected in important rankings and assessments.

A close supervisory relationship

The Department of Philosophy attaches great importance to intensive supervision of doctoral students. They therefore conclude binding supervision agreements with their supervisors. Workshop seminars are offered regularly, which serve to present one's own research work and to discuss it with professors, teaching staff, instructors, lectures and students.

There is good networking and lively exchange among the doctoral researchers themselves. Several times a semester, they meet for a joint regulars' table in Bielefeld pubs, which serves not only for professional discussion, but also for private exchange.

In addition to internal professional support, the staff of the department support the doctoral researchers in applying for scholarships for their doctoral project. As a result, some of the department's doctoral researchers are scholars, stipendiaries at various foundations and are happy to pass on information about them. Further links can be found under Doctoral Funding.

The DFG Research Training Group 2073 "Integrating Ethics and Epistemology of Scientific Research" combines the strengths of the Universities of Bielefeld and Hannover in the field of philosophy of science; investigates novel links between theoretical philosophy of science (epistemology, philosophy of science) and practical philosophy of science (ethics of science, political philosophy of science); analyses crucial links between the cognitive dimension of science (theories, hypotheses, discourses, models) and the material culture of science (objects, apparatus, experiments, practices); dissolves conventional boundaries between epistemic and ethical and between cognitive and material aspects of science and relates both poles of these dichotomies to each other; and provides a stable and stimulating research environment for outstanding doctoral students to work on integrated philosophy of science issues.

If you are interested and would like more information, please follow this link.

At Bielefeld University, 17 persons (as of 2023) are currently doing their doctorates on different and exciting topics in Philosophy. If you are interested in further information about the doctoral students and their projects, you can find them on the following page.

Under the following links you will find detailed information and important documents for a doctorate on formal steps, documents, supervision, rules and regulations.



In order to successfully complete a doctorate, anyone interested should inform themselves extensively about possible financing options. We have compiled some information and contacts for you:

  • Student Secretariat: Information on scholarships and funding opportunities.
  • National Research Funding: selected national departments for research funding
  • StipendiumPlus: Association of organisations for the promotion of gifted students to support students and young researchers with special talents
  • Foundation search: Navigation aid for the German foundation system
  • database to search for funding opportunities
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