Doctoral Degree Admission Process for International Students

A doctorate is the highest academic degree. A doctorate enables holders to get into careers in research and academia. A doctorate involves production of a dissertation, i.e. an independent research paper. After gaining the doctorate, holders can use title “Dr”.

Entrance/Test Requirements

Entry into Doctoral Programme in Germany, most important prerequisite is English or German language proficiency. At all German universities, English or German is the language of instruction. An applicant has to provide evidence of proficiency in the English or German language.

For International Students

English Language Admission test: TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam scores are the most common language requirement for German universities.

German Language test: If the course is completely in German, then proof of proficiency in German Language
TestDaF (Test of German as a Foreign Language): It is an advanced level exam that facilitates admission to university.
DSH (Deutsche Sprachprufung fur den Hochschulzugang): German language test for the admission of foreign study applicants.

Other Requirements

Each education provider will have different entry requirements such as prior knowledge in certain subject, work history details, official academic transcripts, covering letter, letters of recommendation, and research proposal.
  •  The covering letter depicts the reasons to apply for this particular programme and institute and the experience, qualification and grades you hold.
  •  A letter of recommendation is a signed letter written by a person who knows you well professionally and has had a detail encounter with you during your learning process. Letter of recommendation includes your strengths and weaknesses, skills, accomplishments, and personal qualities. Atleast two letters of recommendation are required.
  • Students pursuing a post graduate research course or doctoral degree need to submit the below documents as well.
  • Detailed Research Proposal
  • Abstracts, Research Publications, etc.
  • The resume should include your post secondary institutions attended, academic honors and awards, publications if any, and academic and professional qualification details.
  • Sample of written work (if any): 50 pages maximum or less, depending upon the requirement of the university/institution applying – for example a thesis chapter, article, etc.

Eligibility Requirements

For admission to a doctoral degree programme an applicant normally shall have a master’s degree.


Depending upon the subject area, doctorates can take between two to five years.

Academic Calendar

Starting dates vary widely depending upon the course undertaken. Applicants opting for doctoral degree or other research degree can negotiate an alternative starting date with their project supervisor.

Admission Procedure

The admission process involves following steps:
  1. Fill out the application form with the required details such as, personal information, academic information, course opted and other necessary information, either online/offline.
  2. Submit supporting documents such as attested official transcripts in English from all high school coursework, test scores of IELTS/TOEFL, resume, letters of recommendation, reference/personal statement, and covering letter.
  3. If the application is successful, the applicant will receive “Acceptance Letter”. On receiving this, you need to pay a percentage of the fees within a specified time period, to confirm your admission and sign and send the same to the university as a sign of confirmation.
  4. Set up in advance the accommodation in the student residences or university hostels and ask for any financial support, if available.
  5. Apply for a Student Visa.To apply for a student visa to Germany students most have the following documents:-
    • Original passport with two passport size photographs
    • Authenticated copy of a school leaving certificate
    • Official transcripts and attested copies of the same.
    • If attending a course in German, proof of your proficiency in the German language or an intensive language course of twenty hours a week in Germany.
    • Proof of funding and documents supporting the financial status.
    • Proof of registration with a German higher education institution, i.e. admission letter or acceptance letter.

Financial Aid

International students can apply for scholarships from following organizations such as
  • DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service): DAAD provides scholarship to doctoral students pursuing PhD, for post doctoral work/ research etc.
  • Politically affiliated foundations
  • Religious institutions
  • Business related organizations
For more details go to university hub.
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