how to apply for phd in germany

How to apply for PhD in Germany

  • Write a motivation letter before applying for a PhD in Germany.
  • Get 3 recommendation letters in hand in order to apply for PhD in Germany.
  • Hold on masters certificate and other certificates readily.
  • Do either of IELTS, TOEFL, GRE or GMAT.
  • Learn the German Language up to A1 Level.
  • Drop an email to a Ph.D. supervisor from any German University.
  • Choose a Research Topic and write a research proposal.
  • Prepare a German C.V. and not a standard Curriculum Vitae.
  • Attend to a Ph.D. Skype Interview from University.
  • Get an Acceptance Letter into Ph.D.

.What is a motivation letter while applying for PhD in Germany.

This is a letter to mention what has motivated you to do research in Germany. This letter is the starting of all letters that will tell how deep are you motivated. Are you really confident about what is happening to you?

.How to get recommendation letters that will help your German PhD application.

These recommendation letters will include the opinion of some professors who know you very well. They know your interest and your background. They need to write a letter recommending you to admit into PhD.

.Required Certificates to do PhD in Germany.

You need to have some certificates in your hand. Masters degree is mandatory to do PhD in Germany. This is the minimum eligibility to pursue PhD in Germany.

.IELTS and TOEFL or GRE is required to do PhD in Germany.

These certifications are also mandatory with some universities in order to admit you to any German Universities.

.German Language A1 Level is desirable to speed up your German PhD application process.

This is not compulsory qualification to enter Germany. It is a strong suggestion. Learn German language at your best before embarking into Germany to do PhD.

.email hunting is the prerequisite for a successful PhD application in Germany.

This is the difficult part while applying to various universities. It may take around 3 to 6 months to get a positive response from some universities. So here you may probably drop around 500 emails to 1000 emails. If you are lucky, you may get positive response with only 10 emails.

.Choosing a Research Topic ever before applying for PhD in Germany.

You have to choose a research topic depending on the available research projects in Germany. Try to change the research topic as per the profile of the supervisor. But this does not mean that you do have interest and zeal over that topic. You must make sure that whatever topic you choose must be of your own interest first.

.Send a German style CV to be acceptable to do
PhD in Germany

This is very important. Do not prepare your curriculum vitae according to an international standards. This is not acceptable in Germany. You need to prepare and send a German style CV that will impress German Universities.

.Attend PhD Skype Interview after your application for
PhD in Germany

After all the verification done with all your document, the last stage is to attend either a telephonic round or a Skype Interview.

.Get an acceptance letter saying your admission to do
PhD in Germany

Finally, you will get a conditional offer letter or an acceptance letter that will help you to get a valid visa.

The first thing to do before thinking of doing a PhD in Germany is to prepare yourself perfectly. Arrange all thing before hand and then try to start applying for a PhD position in Germany. I have seen that most of the students are not so clever in doing or preparing themselves before really starting to apply for a PhD position in Germany. You need to do certain things before hand .

As I have been telling you in my above points that you need to gather or write some important letters. They are motivation letter which may be around 100 to 200 words. This letter will tell you exactly what made you think of pursuing PhD in Germany and what is that strong point that prompts or inspires you to do PhD in Germany. So when you write your motivation letter, be very personal and not to take anybody’s help or copy from somewhere the ready made motivation letters.

Another part is that of recommendation letters. These recommendation letters are written by some of the professors in your university. These people are very much acquainted with your lifestyle. They know how much interested are you and how much enthusiastic are you in do the upcoming research. They must write with the help of a university letter pad. They have to recommend you strongly to the university and also sign on the letter. It is not that only professors must write those recommendation but any famous personality in the field can recommend you.

Regarding certificates, you need to collect them from the university. Do not wait till the last moment when all of a sudden you will have to show those masters degree transcript and other ones. So understand how important are the certificates to carry in your hand. I suggest you to take a quality scan of each certificate and along with all the marks list. This way if by any chance you want to drop an email to the German University, you can do it comfortably with those scanned certificates.

In order to get into a PhD course in Germany, you have to show that you have language ability. The university may ask you to produce IELTS. So you have to take some coaching and finish with a good score. The score depends on each university’s requirement. So check properly from the German university website about how much score that you have to acquire to be eligible to apply for a PhD with that particular university. It is mandatory to complete one of these sorts of exams with many of the universities in Germany.

The next difficult part to learn the German language. Usually, this language is easy to learn if you put a slight amount of hard work. There is no way that you will not be able to learn German. You can do it. If you want to do some part-time jobs secretly in Germany, you will have to speak German. So get A1 level at least to get a good job in Germany either while doing PhD or after finishing the PhD. This is my strong recommendation to learn German.

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However, all these will not fetch you admission into PhD course in Germany. Now the real work starts. Once you are ready with all those documents that I have been mentioning over there, the application process starts. This is the process which is very hectic. You will almost get fed up with negative responses to your emails. But do not worry. Go ahead confidently dropping an email to every supervisor that you can find on your way. After dropping a few emails you may hear some good news. While dropping an email, make sure that you drop a professional email. Do not write your email just for the sake of writing. Do not use sir/madam titles. Use the original name of the supervisor and his or her designation. This will really change the way you apply individually to each supervisor.

It is the time now finally to choose a research topic. This is quite challenging. You have to choose at least 5 research topics from your subject. This is because to satisfy the profile that we see with PhD supervisors. If you choose only one research topic, you will be not able to get right supervisor form German universities. You have to check clearly the supervisor’s profile and change your topic according. This will allow you to get PhD admission in Germany easily. And the supervisor will accept your proposal too which you will draft and send at a later stage when you feel that your topic is in tune with the profile of the supervisor.

Finally, this is the time to drop a research proposal. You have to prepare an excellent research proposal that could impress your supervisor. This proposal will include the exact approach to the method of pursuing your research in the upcoming 3 years of time. Draft carefully as this research proposal will act as a backbone to all of your endeavors.

Upon acceptance of your research proposal, you will have to send your CV to the authority with all those certificates which I have been mentioning in this article throughout. Here I have to tell you not to send an international standard CV. Send only German format CV. If you do not know how to do it, then see how German CV looks like from here

If you want to get a part time job, you need to also prepare with the German style format. I knew one student who was struggling a lot to get a response for the recruiters. But no one was responding to his queries. In fact he did not understand what was the wrong. After a long time, somebody said to him to change the format of the CV. He changed it and to this surprise, he could get many calls from recruiters. This is real story that I want to share just to let you know the importance of German sample CV.

If everything is going on well, now it is the time to face a final interview. This could either through a telephonic round or by Skype. You have to prove here how good are you to research and how passionate are you. You will have to show that you are ready and spirited to move by doing Ph.D. with the university.

.How to get DAAD Scholarship of Germany during application.

There is a process on how to get daad scholarship. Here are my step – by – guide.

Apply online from website or visit near by branch.

You can easily apply online from the website of daad. You can also visit alternatively daad branch. This organization has almost covered through out the world. So you have no problem to find daad in your own country. Here is the main website

But there are websites other than this in your own country. Check for them.

Research Proposal in PDF form

You must submit the copy of the research proposal ( Pdf ) that which has been given consent by your supervisor. This is the first step of document submission to DAAD.

Confirmation Letter from Supervisor

You must also give DAAD the confirmation letter of acceptance given by your supervisor in order to draft an application for scholarship by DAAD.

Submit to DAAD all Academic Certificates

Keep ready all your academic credentials in hand. If any other certificate is improper or missing, you cannot be successful with scholarship to your PhD. So if you have already submitted your academic certificates, go and get them. Keep all scanned certificates too.

Upload all documents on DAAD website

The next step is to upload each document from research proposal, Supervisor confirmation letter to all the certificates.

Upload your CV If asked

You may be asked to upload your CV in German format. So get your CV written properly and submit duly on the DAAD website online.

No need of attestation

There is absolutely no need of your certificates getting attested. This is a relief. So just go on submitting your original certificates.

Wait during the process of your application

Once you have done with all the requirement online and if the application is successfully submitted, you are on verification process for sometime.

Call for face to face Interview by DAAD

If your application is successful, DAAD will call you for a face to face interview. This is a selection stage. So be original and answer to the questions clearly and genuinely.

How many are there in the panel to interview you

There will be almost 3 to 5 members out of which one professor will be probably for your own country and the other two are German Professors.

What are the questions will they ask you during DAAD interview

  1. They ask about your research proposal.
  2. They will inquire about the outcome of your proposal.
  3. Is that helpful to the community or not?
  4. How results are derived?
  5. Explain about your project in 5 minutes.
  6. Why do you want to go to this university?
  7. Why do you choose this city to do PhD in Germany?
  8. Why don’t you go to other countries to do your PhD?
  9. Are you comfortable with the culture change?

How much stipend will DAAD pay you as part of scholarship

Daad will pay you 1000 Euros per month. This covers all your expenses.

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How much is the cost of living in Germany?

The cost of living is 700 euros in Frankfurt or 500 euros in Berlin. It depends on the lifestyle. But the thousand euro scholarship that is given by DAAD is far more sufficient and you can save some money out of that easily.

How long will DAAD give you scholarship during your PhD

Daad will give a stipend for 3 years only. If you do not finish your Ph.D. by that time, you will not get any more stipend and you have to bear expenses from your own pocket.

How to know your country address of DAAD

Here is the link where you will get all addresses of DAAD

What are the alternatives for DAAD

There are many other organizations who can give you scholarship. Here are some of them.

  1. Humboldt
  2. DFG
  3. Leibniz
  4. Eubuero
  5. Forderkatalog

Bonus Information about doing a PhD in Germany

Learn German from A1 level. This will help you to work in Germany. There are on campus courses in German universities once you go there.

How long can you stay in Germany after your PhD

You can stay 18 months. You can search jobs. You can find one employer from this 18 months and later if employer wants to recruit you, you can extend your visa.

How many international students are there in Germany

There are 4.5 million foreign students in Germany.

What is the good percentage of marks that you require for PhD admission in Germany

German universities like to have 70% throughout your academics. If you are a distinction student you can really come up with success.

Will my spouse get scholorship from DAAD

Yes, If you are married, DAAD will give spouse allowance and lump sum travelling expenses along with the original stipend of 1000 euros.

What is the scholarship deadline every year

It is 1st to 15th of December every year. This is because there is a lag time of one year before you start your PhD. For example you apply this October and have to wait till next October to get things done. During this one year period, you will apply for a scholarship. Here includes 4 to 6 months of German language training partly in your own country and partly in German.

What is SANDWICH PhD Scholarship

If you are already registered as a PhD scholar in your own country and you can go to Germany for one year for your research work. In this type of case, you need a requirement of 2 Guides, one from your own country and the other from German Country. As a part of the Scholarship, German supervisor can come to your country for your Viva and local guide can go to Germany to see your progress and all sort of things.

Is it too difficult to get a scholarship from DAAD

Yes it is a well fought scholarships and you do not get easily as soon as you apply. There are many conditions to get fulfilled.

How much early should you start application to German Universities

Plan application process one year in advance before the course deadline.

Can you work in Germany as a international PhD student

You can work part time in Germany 120 full days per year or 240 days but in half time a day. You can also work in Universities as research assistants. Here you can work more.

Are academic programs are stringent

Yes in Germany, there is a seriousness in every academic program. You will have no time to do part time job sometime due to study load.

What is the scope of the post completion of the PhD program in Germany.

You can stay back after the program for approximately one and half a year to look for job search according to the qualification. You do not get students’ benefits during this period.

What about Residence permit in Germany after PhD

Absolutely, If you have worked for 2 years consecutively and fulfill the social security guidelines, you can apply for EU Blue card

Conclusion on PhD in Germany

As a conclusion after long question and answers about PhD in Germany, you have to be hard working while studying in Germany. There is nothing on a platter which is ready made. You have to wait patiently for the things to happen from the part of the application process to getting EU Blue card. You have to first start going on to the path and automatically you will get set to start your PhD in Germany.

Learn more about German cultural attitude and prepare to face cultural shock. There are many hurdles while you wan to pursue your PhD in Germany. Try to make up your mind before you really go there.

So make sure that you have to be utmost careful when starting to apply for Ph.D. in some universities. However, my suggestion includes going to Germany with some of your known friends. Do not go alone to Germany when you do not know someone over there as there are chances you may go into the depressed state. So always try to accompany with some others while you go there. Whatsoever you have to take Ph.D. as a challenge in Germany. Be more skilled by the time you complete your Ph.D. in Germany. The reason I say this is that when you wan to work after your education, you will have to convince your employer about how good art you at working a particular project. So learn mostly from those 3 years of Ph.D.

My final Points on PhD in Germany

  1. Be more attentive towards admission guidelines.
  2. Know clearly the admission requirements.
  3. Keep all your documents safe until the end of your PhD.
  4. Learn a good amount of German.
  5. Have a passion mindedness to do research work.
  6. Follow strict deadline when you do research.
  7. Do not break the rules of the country.
  8. Always prefer researching new and creative things.
  9. Try to save money and funding for better living.
  10. Learn note-making skills before you start to research.
  11. Take more resources in your pen drive from your own country.
  12. Work with dedication and research-oriented tasks.

Hello, My name is Syam, Asst. Professor of English and Mentor for Ph.D. students worldwide. I have worked years to give you these amazing tips to complete your Ph.D. successfully. Having put a lot of efforts means to make your Ph.D. journey easier. Thank you for visiting my Ph.D. blog.