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Doctorate/Phd studies at Bielefeld University

Application and admission for doctorate/Phd studies

Bielefeld University has many international doctoral students who study, research and teach in the various departments and faculties. If you are also interested in doing a doctorate at Bielefeld University, we have summarised some important steps for you here.

The independent preparation of a scientific research paper (doctoral) thesis is the content of the doctorate/Phd studies. You will be supervised by a teaching staff, instructors, lectures at Bielefeld University. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is to determine the field of research in which you wish to do a doctorate/Phd studies. You can check on your own whether this project can be realised at Bielefeld University by visiting the websites of the faculties and departments. The planning of a doctoral project should begin in good time, as the acquisition of educational requirements, language skills and the application for scholarships and visas also require a certain lead time.

At Bielefeld University it is generally possible to do a doctorate in all Faculties and subject areas represented. There are two different ways to do doctorate/Phd studies: Either within a structured programme at a Research Training Group or Graduate School or within the framework of a "free" or "individual" doctorate/Phd studies.

a) Research Training Groups/Graduate Schools
Research Training Groups and Graduate Schools are departments at Bielefeld University where doctorate/Phd studies are conducted within the framework of a coordinated interdisciplinary research programme. Intensive supervision and exchange with fellow students is an important part of the programme. The list of Research Training Groups and Graduate Schools at Bielefeld University can be found here. Regarding the application in a structured programme, please get in touch with the contacts mentioned on the respective websites.

b) "Free" or "individual" doctorate/Phd studies

In this case, you should find out for yourself which professors would be suitable as supervisors (often called "Doktorvater" or "Doktormutter"). By researching the Faculty websites, you will find the respective research activities of the staff, people and can get an overview of who might be able to realise your research project.

Then contact the possible contacts you have selected and tell them what you would like to do for your doctorate. Please include your idea of the research project, your CV/CV as well as your academic requirements and inform them in which language you would like to do your doctorate and how you would finance your research project, e.g. with a scholarship from your home country or a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). When contacting us, please bear in mind that many doctoral enquiries are sent to professors and only a small number of doctoral students can be accepted.

If a doctoral supervisor agrees to your doctoral studies and agrees to take on the supervision of the (doctoral) thesis, approval for admission to doctoral studies must be granted by the doctoral committee of the respective Faculty. Only then is enrolment for doctoral studies possible. Further information can be found here.
Further subject-specific information can be found here.

Once the question of supervision has been clarified, you must be accepted as a doctoral candidate by the respective Faculty. To do this, you must submit a written application to the doctoral committee. The respective valid doctoral regulations of the Faculty provide information on the approval requirements and the necessary documents. As a rule, the application is accompanied by proof of the approval requirements, a curriculum vitae, the confirmation of supervision or the supervision agreement and a statement on current or previous doctoral applications. It is always advisable to enquire about the specific formal requirements and procedural rules for doctorate/Phd studies with the respective persons in contact at the Faculty.

Applicants who have an international qualification to obtain the doctoral degree apply directly to the Student Office of Bielefeld University.

Information for admission can be obtained from Bielefeld University. If you meet all the requirements, you will receive admission from the university. You will need this proof for your visa application. After your arrival, please come by the Student Office to get enrolled.

There are no specific deadlines for applications for an individual Ph.D. In principle, you can apply, be accepted and enrol as a doctoral student at any time. Research teams, research units, research schools have their own deadlines. You can find more information on their homepages.

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