What is the cost of living in Hamburg?
DIE ZEIT weekly newspaper estimates the cost of living in Hamburg at approx. 942 EURO per month (living costs calculator, in German only). Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW) estimates the monthly living costs to be slightly lower, lying at 725 EURO.
If you are enrolled at a higher education institution in Hamburg, you will also have to pay the semester contribution that all students must pay when they enroll. Your student ID then entitles you to free use of public transport, cheaper meals at the student cafeteria, and discounts, e.g., at swimming pools and cinemas. Doctoral students must also pay a semester contribution to their higher education institution totaling just over 300 EURO (summer semester 2017). This includes the semester public transport pass for Hamburg's entire public transport network. Tuition fees are not payable in Hamburg, except at the Helmut Schmidt University (HSU), Bucerius Law School (BLS), and Kühne Logistics University (KLU).
- Universität Hamburg (UHH)
- Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW) (in German only)
- Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH)
- HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU)
- Hamburg University of Music and Theater (HFMT) (in German only)
- University of Fine Arts Hamburg (HFBK) (in German only)
Semester contribution and tuition fees:
- Helmut Schmidt University (HSU) (doctoral candidates are free of charge)
- Bucerius Law School (BLS)
- Kühne Logistics University (KLU)
How can you finance your doctoral studies?
Living costs can be covered with a scholarship, employment at a research institution, or a part-time job.
Employment at a higher education instituion
Doctoral students can finance their doctoral studies by becoming research associates at the university (internal university funding) or acquiring project-based external funding. Work contracts can only be awarded by doctoral supervisors according to availability. Remuneration is based on salary grade 13 of the German collective wage agreement (TVöD) (ca. 1,800 EURO gross for a 50 percent position). Work contracts can cover 50 to 100 percent of the full work time and include a varying number of teaching hours. Please contact your supervisor or department for details.
Please bear in mind that if you have an employment contract, tax will be payable on your income. In return, you can offset costs that arise during your doctorate. Depending upon how long you are employed, you will be entitled to unemployment benefits if you are not offered a new contract after completing your doctorate.
For details of the current job opportunities, please see the departmental websites and/or the central universities' job opportunities websites. It is also worth looking on the subject-specific graduate school websites for jobs.
Employment at a non-university research institution
You can also complete your doctoral studies at a non-university research institution in cooperation with a higher education institution in Hamburg.
Non-university research institutions in Hamburg include:
- Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
- Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY)
- Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Centre for Materials and Coastal Research (HZG)
- Max Planck Society
- Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD)
- Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M)
- Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law
- Leibniz Association
- Heinrich Pette Institute (HPI)
- Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM)
- GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies
- Frauenhofer Society
- University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)
Information on work contracts and job opportunities is usually available on the institution websites.
Part-time doctoral studies
Part-time doctoral studies can mean that you are financed by a company while you complete your doctoral studies part-time. Also known as an industrial doctorate, this is a less common option. The prospects for a career in industry are very good, though academic freedom can be limited compared to that in a university environment. The company generally sets the topic and is involved in supervision. Ideally, a cooperation already exists between the company and university.
In principle, it is possible to complete a doctorate alongside your current job or to finance your studies with a part-time job. In both cases, you will need very good time management and organizational skills. In many cases, the doctorate will take longer than if you are in doctorate-related employment. Consider early on whether you want to ask your employer for a sabbatical to complete your doctoral studies.
Tips and recommendations
- Research in Germany scholarship database
- German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarship database
- Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) scholarship guide (in German only)
- Stipendiumplus provides information on scholarships for outstanding researcher at higher education institutions.
- Find out more about the average salary (in German only) of doctoral researchers.
- If you are interested in completing an industrial doctorate, you should begin networking while you are a student employee or intern. Professors sometimes have contacts at companies working in related fields and can help mediate contact.
- Take a look at our job portal.