PhD in Germany
10 Things To Know Before You Start a PhD in Germany
If you are looking for a PhD studies in economics, Germany is a great option. The high quality of education available, combined with free tuition fees at public universities, makes it an attractive destination when looking for opportunities to do your doctoral research in economics.
1. It isn't essential to speak German
Many universities in Germany now offer courses in English in order to encourage international applicants. When it comes to doing a PhD, the thesis can often be written in either English or German. And now there are even whole grad schools which specialise in international programs, and which operate entirely in English. Obviously, you'll still need basic German skills for going about your everyday life, but it's more common than you imagine for academic programs to be in English.
2. First, find a supervisor
The first task when you are considering doing a PhD is to find a supervisor in your field with whom you can do your research. Don't underestimate the importance of having a supervisor who you get along with personally! Talk to as many people in your field as possible to get a feeling of which departments and researchers might be a good match for you.
- PhD Program, Supplementary Course, Program
- Posted 1 week ago
Ph.D. Supplementary Coursesat Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IFW) in Kiel, Germany
- PhD Program
- Posted 8 months ago
PhD in Economics - with a full-time scholarship at DIW Graduate CenterStarts 2 Oct at DIW Graduate Center in Berlin, Germany
- PhD Program
- Posted 1 year ago
PhD in Economics, Management, Finance & AccountingStarts 1 Oct at Berlin School of Economics (BSE) in Berlin, Germany
- PhD Program
- Posted 6 months ago
Ruhr Graduate School in Economics: fully funded PhD ProgramStarts 4 Oct at Ruhr Graduate School in Economics (RGS Econ) in Essen, Germany
3. Individual study vs joining a grad school
One major decision to make when considering a PhD in Germany is whether you will study alone with the support of a supervisor, or whether you will join a structured graduate school. Both options are common in Germany. Studying individually gives you more flexibility to set your own work milestones, but joining a grad school will give you more structure and support.
4. You apply directly to the university to do a PhD
Once you have found a supervisor, you will have to apply to your university or department to join as a PhD student. This typically involves providing information about your previous degrees, filling out an application, and getting a letter of support from your supervisor.
5. Get your academic credentials checked
When applying for a PhD, you will need to provide copies of your previous degree certificates and transcripts. These will need to be translated into the German grade system (from the British-style “2:1” to the German-style “1.3”, for example). Your university's international office may be able to do this for you, or you may have to pay for this to be done privately.
6. Find a way to finance your PhD
7. Non-EU citizens need a visa and residence permit
If you are from outside the EU, the EEA, or Switzerland, then you are likely to need a visa in order to do a PhD in Germany. A tourist visa is not sufficient, as this cannot be converted into a long-term residence visa. In order to get a visa, you'll need to contact the German embassy in your home country and fill out an application before you come to Germany.
8. Housing is relatively cheap but can be hard to get
Germany is relatively affordable in terms of housing, thanks to governmental rent control. However, in a popular city like Berlin, housing is snapped up very quickly. So you should be ready to move fast when you find a place that you like, or if you have the money to spare, you can pay an agent to find an appropriate house for you and deal with the application process. Alternatively, you can move into a shared house (a “WG”) with other students or young people, which is a good short-term option when you first arrive.
9. You have to register where you live in Germany
Once you arrive in Germany and have found a place to live, you will need to register by going to your local Bürgeramt and filling in a form there. The registration is used for identification when paying taxes or dealing with the police, for example. When you move house, you must fill out another form to make sure that your registration is up to date.
10. Meet other students and make new friends
Don't underestimate the importance of social support in getting you through your PhD! Do take some time to set up a fun social life for yourself in addition to your work. Grad schools make it much easier to meet fellow students, but there are also lots of other ways to make new friends.
- PhD Recruitment
Optimise your Recruitment Strategy for Economics PhD Positions
Candidates can find more information in our guide on how to successfully apply to a PhD in Economics. For institutions aiming to find the best international talent for their PhD positions, the most important question is how to reach the right audience, primarily current master’s students. You don’t want to waste all your budget chasing after the wrong candidates.
- What You Need to Know
A Post-PhD Career in Research: Jack of all Trades, Master of Some
The importance of writing as communication It is indeed true that researchers like us (post-docs, research fellows, senior researchers, and so on) working in academia or in public/private/non-profit institutes spend a lot of time at their desks: writing articles, among other things. We maybe Doctors of Philosophy, but in reality, we are Masters in Writing and a few other things. This is because the demands of a researcher’s role requires us to be jacks of a lot of trades and masters in some.
- Study Advice Article
8 Life Lessons You'll Learn Doing A PhD
Time management One of the first skills that you'll pick up in your PhD program is the ability to manage your own time. Unless you have an unusually overbearing supervisor, you will have to be responsible for organizing your own working days and making sure that your work gets done on time. This is excellent training for other roles later in your career in which you will have to allocate time for various tasks to meet deadlines. Browse our PhD program listings for economics