Study PhD in Germany in 2024 | Requirements, Cost, Scholarships & How to Apply


Study PhD in Germany: Germany is an excellent study-abroad destination for postgraduate studies. That is why we put together everything you need to know to study for a Ph.D. in Germany. This guide explains the requirements to study Ph.D. in Germany, available Ph.D. programs in Germany, how to study Ph.D. in Germany with scholarships, the cost of studying Ph.D. in Germany, and more.

We have answered all the questions that plague your mind on this topic, preferring solutions where necessary and providing links that will make your search easier.


Without further ado, let’s get started!!!

Study PhD in Germany in 2020 - An Extensive Guide on all you need to know
Study Ph.D. in Germany in 2023- An Extensive Guide on all you need to know

Read More: Study Ph.D. in Australia | Requirements, Cost, Scholarships & How to Apply



With over 3,600 international graduates completing their doctorate in Germany annually, Germany remains one of the most popular destinations for studying abroad.

The reason for the above is not far-fetched. Germany enjoys a global reputation as a world leader in technology innovation and research. It has a robust economy, attractive quality of life, and a renowned tradition in fields such as engineering and manufacturing.

Germany’s historic (and highly ranked) universities make it an excellent choice to study abroad. For doctoral research, the country has much to offer. Having first introduced the Ph.D. in the nineteenth century, German universities and specialist research centers continue to offer innovative, tuition-free postgraduate studies. One reason many international students study Ph.D. in Germany.


Many of its universities enjoy a strong international reputation. 46 universities in Germany ranked within the top 1000 in the world in the QS World University Rankings® 2020. Among these, the prestigious research university Technische Universität München is ranked first in the country and 55th in the world, shortly followed by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in 63rd place.

Germany welcomes international students with low costs of study and good funding opportunities. PhDs in Germany rarely charge tuition fees. This and many more you will find below. The essence is to help you study Ph.D. in Germany or seek other alternatives.

Read on to discover how you can study Ph.D. in Germany with scholarships!!!

Check out these Related posts!!!

<!–- /stk-start:posts/template –-><!–- /stk-end:post/template –->

Why should I Study Ph.D. in Germany?

If you’re looking for reasons to do your Ph.D. studies in Germany, you will find many. The German higher education system is world-class and has produced some of history’s most formidable thinkers, including theoretical physicist Albert Einstein.

Here are a few reasons to study Ph.D. in Germany this year;

  • Germany is home to more globally ranked institutions than any other country outside the USA and the UK; eight feature in the current top 100.
  • Germany is also home to networks of dedicated research centers, including its prestigious Max Planck Institutes. So if you love research, Germany is your best bet to study Ph.D.
  • Most German universities charge no tuition fees for Ph.D. students, regardless of nationality.
  • We know Germany as the home of Ph.D. The Ph.D. (in its modern form as a thesis-based research degree) was developed in Germany.
  • We know Germany as the seventh most visited country in the world.
  • They offer Ph.D. programs in Germany in English.
  • With striking landscapes, medieval and modern heritage sites, and seasonal events ranging from Oktoberfest to Christmas Markets, Germany is fun and interesting.

The most interesting thing fact that will make you study Ph.D. in Germany is that you get to combine academics with fun and interesting events. It’s a long 2 years to study in a boring environment.

Check out these Ph.D. programs in Germany below!!!

Read Also: Study Ph.D. in USA| Requirements, Cost, Scholarships & How to Apply

Top German Universities for Ph.D. Programs in 2023

Germany is home to over 53 universities. Finding the best one for you could be difficult. We have carefully outlined the list of top universities in Germany;

  • LMU Munich
  • Technical University of Munich
  • Heidelberg University
  • Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • The University of Tübingen
  • Humboldt University of Berlin
  • The University of Freiburg
  • RWTH Aachen University
  • The University of Bonn
  • Free University of Berlin

Securing a Ph.D. program in any of these universities will be a plus. Owing to the quality of education offered.

Consider the cost of studying Ph.D. in Germany below!!!

Types of Ph.D. Programs in Germany?

Germany offers two ways to do your Ph.D. Before you search for a Ph.D. place, you should choose between “individual doctorate” and “structured Ph.D. programs.” These are two types of Ph.D. programs in Germany.

  • The individual doctorate: You will identify a research project and pursue it independently with the guidance of an expert supervisor (Doktorvater / Doktomutter). The candidate chooses the institution where they would like to conduct their research: at a university or non-university organization or within a German company.
  • Structured doctoral programs: These are conducted largely in English and are internationally oriented. You will complete additional training alongside your thesis, sometimes including collaborations and placements with external research institutes.

Check out the requirements to study Ph.D. in Germany below!!!

See Also!!!

<!–- /stk-start:posts/template –-><!–- /stk-end:post/template –->

What are the Requirements needed to Study Ph.D. in Germany?

One way to secure a Ph.D. spot in Germany is to put together the right requirements to study Ph.D. in Germany. To study Ph.D. in Germany, you must complete a minimum of eight semesters of academic study before the doctorate. Your final qualification must be equivalent to a German Master’s degree.

The Dean’s Office must also recognize your previous higher education degree/s (Dekanat) or Board of Examiners (Promotionsausschuss) at your university. Exceptionally well-qualified international students may be admitted into a Ph.D. with a Bachelor’s degree (fast-track program); for this, you will typically have to complete an entrance examination.

Applications requirements to study Ph.D. in Germany are;

  • A statement from your doctoral supervisor. If you are applying to complete a traditional Ph.D. project, you must submit a statement from your chosen supervisor describing their intent to supervise your thesis.
  • Certified copies of certificates and academic transcripts from previous degrees
  • Proof of recognition: you must get recognition of your qualifications from the Dean’s Office or University Board of Examiners
  • 2 Academic references
  • English language proficiency, such as IELTS or TOEFL. If you are studying or submitting your Ph.D. in German, you may need to prove your proficiency in the language with a test such as the DSH or TestDaF.

Once you have supplied these materials, the department / doctoral committee you are applying to can confirm your eligibility as a Ph.D. candidate.

Discover the cost to study Ph.D. in Germany below!!!

Read More: Fellowship Programs in South Africa– All You Need to Know to Win a South African Fellowship

How much does it Cost to Study for a Ph.D. in Germany in 2023?

Considering the cost of studying Ph.D. in Germany is wise and strategic. Traveling to Germany without knowing what it takes financially wise will be disastrous. We have researched the cost of studying Ph.D. in Germany, and here’s what we found.

Good news! Although tuition fees were reintroduced for non-EU students in Baden-Wurttemberg in 2017, they excluded doctoral students from this. This means that PhDs remain free-for-all students at all public universities in Germany, regardless of nationality. This lasts up to the standard length of a Ph.D. (three years).

Aside from this, you might be required to pay some fees. However, as with all levels of study in Germany, Ph.D. students must also make a semester contribution of between €150 to €200 (~US$175-230) for administration and other costs.

This means that your major expenses will be the general living costs in Germany. The cost to study Ph.D. in Germany is almost free; therefore, you have to consider the cost of living. This is actually where your finances will be spent.

Keep reading to discover how to study Ph.D. in Germany with scholarships below!!!

What is the average Cost of Living in Germany as a Ph.D Student?

The cost of living solely depends on your level of extravagance, lifestyle, and location in Germany. Some German starts are costlier than others.

If you apply for a German student visa, they will ask you to prove you have access to a minimum of €10,236 (~US$11,266) per year.

This money will cover living expenses, which include rent, food, clothing, transportation, working materials, recreation, and other costs. Living in an expensive city such as Munich will require more than this.

Look out for Ph.D. programs in Germany!!!

Are there Scholarships to Study Ph.D. in Germany?

Several scholarships are available for international Ph.D. students to help cover their living costs while studying in Germany. Scholarships are one way to finance yourself while studying. Here is a list of scholarships to study Ph.D. in Germany;

  • Green Talents
  • Helmholtz Research School and Graduate School
  • Individual doctoral projects at Fraunhofer Institutes
  • Student grant–your supervisor may nominate you for a grant of €1,250 per month from the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutsche Volkes)
  • DAAD scholarships – the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst) offers scholarships of €1,200 per month for foreign students to study for a Ph.D. in Germany
  • StipendiumPlus–provided by a group of 13 organizations that offer to fund €1,350 per month to international students in Germany.

There are also various other funding programs within Germany, making international Ph.D. studies an affordable option for you. If you’re applying for a structured doctoral degree program, apply for funding along with your Ph.D. If accepted, you will receive a monthly allowance of €1,000-1,400.

Do well to apply for these scholarships to study Ph.D. in Germany in time; many people also seek it.

Check out the Ph.D. programs in Germany below!!!

Read Also: Fellowships in India– Tips on How to Win a Fellowship Opportunity

Apply for these Scholarships too!!!

<!–- /stk-start:posts/template –-><!–- /stk-end:post/template –->

Are there available Ph.D. Programs in Germany for 2023?

Well, yes, there are over 73 Ph.D. programs in Germany. You have to look and find the best fit for you. Here are some Ph.D. programs in Germany;

These and many more are available in Ph.D. programs in Germany. If you have one in mind, you can check if it’s available in Germany.

How do I Secure a German Student Visa?

You will need a student visa to Germany to pursue your studies. There are two types of student visas:

  • Schengen Visa: Permits you to avail of a course in Germany for 90 days. It costs just 60 EUR.
  • National Visa: Permits you to remain in Germany for over 90 days; you also need a residence permit. It costs 75 EUR.

The visa processing time takes about 25 days. Here is a checklist of documents you will need.

  • A duly filled application form and a cover letter stating the purpose and duration of your stay
  • A valid passport
  • Two recent photographs
  • Acceptance letter from a German university
  • Transcript of academic record
  • Language proficiency certificate( German or English depending on your course of choice)
  • Proof of valid private or public health insurance
  • Declaration of the authenticity of documents submitted
  • Criminal record(if any)
  • Proof of your economic status to study in Germany (EUR 8,700 per year)

This will help you get your visa at a German consular post in your country of residence.

Read More: Fellowship Opportunities in China– All You Need to Know to Become a Fellow in China

Quick Read!!!

<!–- /stk-start:posts/template –-><!–- /stk-end:post/template –->

Frequently Asked Questions About Ph.D. Study in Germany?

Do I need a student visa?

This will depend on your country of origin. Many students will find that they do not need a student visa but a residence permit. You can read more about obtaining a German student visa here or find an overview of the countries for which a student visa is or isn’t required on the Foreign Federal Office’s website.

How long does a Ph.D. take in Germany?

The duration of the Ph.D. is not standard and is usually between 2 and 6 years, depending on the research field. Ph.D. in natural and exact sciences are usually between 4 and 5 years. In arts and humanities, they do a Ph.D. for 4 to 6 years.

Do I need to speak German?

No–however, we’d recommend learning at least basic German to help you get by in your host country, especially if you’d like to work during or after your studies. If you are studying individual doctorate writing, the doctoral thesis can often be written in English, while structured Ph.D. programs frequently allow students to complete their doctorate in English.

Can I Work while studying in Germany?

As an international Ph.D. student in Germany, they permit you to work while studying; however, there are certain restrictions depending upon your nationality:

EU, EEA, and Switzerland citizens may work without a residence permit, with no restrictions on hours. However, if you work over 20 hours a week, you will pay national insurance contributions.

They permit other international students to work 120 full days or 240 half days per year. If you wish to work longer than this, you must seek permission from the local Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit) and Foreigner’s Registration Office.

Do I need to have an Interview to seal my Ph.D. application?

Interview: they will require you to attend a Skype or in-person interview. A panel with 2-4 admission committee members questions you about your academics, career goals, and other aspects.


Considering the cost of studying Ph.D. in Germany, you can seek opportunities to study Ph.D. in Germany with scholarships. This is one way to study Ph.D. in Germany for free international students. Consider the requirements to study Ph.D. in Germany before sending your application to any school website. Find out if there are Ph.D. programs in Germany available for you.

Good luck!!!

Editors Recommendations

<!–- /stk-start:posts/template –-><!–- /stk-end:post/template –->



Our Recommendation

<!–- /stk-start:posts/template –-><!–- /stk-end:post/template –->
You May Also Like