Germany is home to some of the best research and technical institutions in the world. Ph.D. programs in Germany are for a period of 2 to 6 years, in a variety of fields such as business management, geoscience, law, and many others for zero tuition fees at most German public universities.
PhD in Germany is a 2-6 year program offered at zero tuition fees at most German public universities. International students are charged administrative fees (50 Euro) and contribution fees (250 Euro) for pursuing a doctoral course in Germany. Doctoral programs in Germany are student-oriented leading to a wide range of career opportunities.
German universities are home to over 380,000 international students with around 10% of students being Ph.D candidates. Ph.D in Germany for Indian students are offered in a variety of fields such as business and management, geoscience, law, and more.
The Ph.D fees in Germany are approximately €800- €900 per year. Students can also avail themselves of financial assistance in the form of scholarships to bear the tuition fees and living costs in Germany. A PhD in Germany is globally recognized with research institutions, universities, and companies offering excellent research opportunities to researchers from all over the world.
Table of Contents
- Top Universities in Germany for PhD
- Why Study PhD in Germany?
- Types of PhD in Germany for Indian Students
- Eligibility for PhD in Germany
- How to Apply for PhD in Germany?
- Cost of studying PhD in Germany for International Students
- Popular Scholarships for PhD in Germany for Indian Students
Top Universities in Germany for PhD
Germany is popular as a study destination and also enjoys a global reputation as a world leader for technology innovation and research. It is particularly renowned for education in the fields of engineering and manufacturing and more than 40 German universities ranked in the top 1000 in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2022. Given below is the list of universities in Germany for Ph.D for international students ranked at by QS World University Rankings 2022:
|University||QS World University Rankings 2022||Location|
|Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich||64||Munich|
|Technical University of Munich||50||Munich|
|Humboldt University of Berlin||128||Berlin|
|RWTH Aachen University||165||Aachen|
|Karlsruhe Institute of Technology||136||Karlsruhe|
|University of Göttingen||204||Göttingen|
|University of Freiburg||172||Freiburg im Breisgau|
|Free University of Berlin||127||Berlin|
Why Study PhD in Germany?
Ph.D programs in Germany are pursued either as individual research or as a structured doctoral program. International students are provided an outstanding research environment with exceptional infrastructure for their PhD project. Some of the reasons to study Ph.D in Germany are listed below:
- Germany is home to several globally-ranked universities as compared to any other country outside the USA and the UK. Around 8 universities in Germany are ranked in the top 100 universities in the world
- Germany has dedicated research institutes in addition to its top-quality educational institutions for research purposes. There are also specific collaborations between universities and research institutes such as the Max Planck Schools
- Most of the German universities do not charge tuition fees from students regardless of their nationality. Students are charged €310 to cover the semester as well as traveling fees which is minimal as compared to other countries
- Germany is a country with long cultural and scientific tradition having a large choice of higher education institutions awarding doctoral degrees and also several German companies involved in research in Europe
- Students having an excellent academic record and a promising doctoral thesis project have good prospects of receiving a scholarship or a funded doctoral position. Scholarships such as the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) supports nearly 5,000 international doctoral students every year
- Germany is ranked #3 for its quality of education after the UK and the USA. There are several German non-university research organizations that contribute to proficient education in universities for a PhD in Germany
- Germany is one of the world’s safest and freest countries where the freedom of arts, sciences, and research is highly valued. Research students are also provided with an opportunity to travel to other European Union countries to conduct research or study.
Popular PhD Programs in Germany
Known to have first introduced the Ph.D degree in the nineteenth century, Germany has universities and specialist research centers that offer innovative, tuition-free, postgraduate programs. PhD programs in Germany are offered in various fields such as management, law, business, and more. Some of the popular PhD programs in Germany for international students are tabulated below:
|Financial Maths||Computer Science|
|Mechanical Engineering||Political Science|
Types of PhD in Germany for Indian Students
Indian students planning to pursue a PhD in Germany can choose between different forms of study. This depends on the discipline, research area, personal circumstances, and formal qualifications of the students. The different ways to pursue a PhD in Germany are discussed below:
An individual doctorate is the "traditional" or "individual" path to a doctorate in Germany. It is based on independent research in the form of a thesis or dissertation carried out alone under the supervision of one professor. This type of PhD in Germany offers a great deal of flexibility and also demands a high degree of personal initiative and responsibility. A professor supervises a Ph.D student but most of the research work is conducted independently. The duration of an individual doctorate is usually 3-5 years and largely depends on the candidates’ own time schedule or the duration of their work contract.
Structured PhD Programs
Structure Ph.D programs differ from individual doctoral programs and follow a structure similar to that of English-speaking countries. Research candidates are supervised by a team and will attend courses, lectures, and seminars together with other doctoral students. Here, a team of supervisors looks after a group of doctoral students. These types of PhD programs often have a strong international orientation with English as the team language. These are less flexible as the doctoral students and their research proposals have to fit in with an existing Ph.D program.
A structured Ph.D program comes with compulsory attendance at lectures or seminars and interim assessment (credit points). Students are often taught academic and scientific methods or soft skills, such as presentation techniques. The research candidates work steadily at realizing their research project within the team and with intensive support from a group of academic staff called the “thesis committee”. The duration of a structured Ph.D program is generally 3-5 years and involves a fixed curriculum within which candidates are expected to work on their thesis.
Eligibility for PhD in Germany
An interview is one of the most important PhD requirements in Germany for international students. International students should get their postgraduate degrees recognized before applying for a PhD in Germany. Candidates willing to pursue an individual research project need to find a German professor (supervisor, mentor) who is ready to supervise their research and thesis work during studies. Find below some of the other Ph.D Germany requirements for international students:
- Outline of the doctoral thesis
- Curriculum vitae
- Master’s degree equivalent to the German one
- Statement of purpose
- Proof of English language proficiency
- Letter of recommendation
- Relevant work experience
How to Apply for PhD in Germany?
Ph.D admission in Germany is either done for structured doctoral programs or individual doctorate courses. Applicants looking for an individual doctorate in Germany need to recognize a supervisor and wait for their approval. Students applying for a structured Ph.D program should directly enroll with the institution offering the doctoral degree. Given below are the details of a PhD application in Germany for international students:
- Applicants should first find a supervisor after fulfilling all the admission requirements
- He/ she should then submit a thesis proposal to the admissions committee
- The candidate can expect a positive or negative reply after sending the application
- If accepted, one should be prepared for an interview and a meeting with the supervisor
- After being selected in the interview, the student will have to apply for a student visa for Germany.
Cost of Studying PhD in Germany for International Students
Most public universities in Germany do not charge specific tuition fees for a Ph.D program. A PhD in Germany costs is basically just the living expenses. Private universities may charge a fee that ranges between €300- €3,000 a year. International students applying for a student visa for Germany must be able to prove access to a minimum of €10,400 a year. The detailed PhD fees in Germany for international students are given below:
International students should bear certain pre-arrival expenses for Germany such as the application fees, travel fare, student visa fees, etc. Listed below are some of the pre-arrival expenses included in the total PhD in Germany cost:
- IELTS Fees: €229- €233
- TOEFL Fees: €228
- German Student Visa Schengen: €60
- German Student Visa: €75
- Health Insurance: €1,236- €1,341
Public universities in Germany do not charge tuition fees from students irrespective of their nationality. Students who are not able to complete their Ph.D courses on time will have to pay a specific semester fee that varies according to the university. Certain private universities in Germany may charge a tuition fee ranging between €3,000- €5,000 per semester.
International students are required to bear the living expenses in Germany such as rent, semester fees, bills, and food, which usually comes to around €850 - €1,000 a month. Accommodation charges are one of the highest estimated monthly expenditures for international students. Given below are the other living costs in Germany charged every month:
- Rent, Electricity, & Utilities: €323
- Food: €163
- Transportation: €85
- Entertainment: €61
- Books & Stationery: €20
- Accommodation: €250- €350
Popular Scholarships for PhD in Germany for Indian Students
Germany offers several scholarships for international students willing to pursue a Ph.D course that awards complete cost waivers. There are several institutions offering a scholarship for PhD in Germany for Indian students such as the DLR-DAAD Research Fellowships in Space, Aeronautics, Energy, and Transportation Research, Helmholtz Research Schools and Graduate Schools, etc. Given below are some of the Germany Ph.D scholarships for Indian students along with their scholarship amount:
- German Academic Exchange Service(DAAD): €1,200
- Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation: €3,170
- German Research Foundation: €1,350
- Green Talents: Offers to fund for research
- Helmholtz Research Scholarship: €3,700