What are doctoral studies?
- You make an independent, innovative contribution to research based on the latest developments in your field.
- You use academic reasoning and methods appropriate to your area.
- You present the results of your research in written form; either as a monograph or as several separate articles, depending on the culture of your field.
- You earn your doctorate by publishing the results of your doctoral studies within a set time limit.
Your doctoral studies in Hamburg
Hamburg offers a wide variety of disciplines for your doctoral studies. In addition to the conventional doctorate at the universities, the cooperative doctorate is a doctoral procedure involving cooperation between a university or a higher education institution entitled to confer doctorates and a university of applied sciences.
In addition, you have to option to earn your doctorate in cooperation with a non-university research institution. In this case, you are enrolled at a university with the right to award doctorates while completing your doctoral work at the non-university research institution. Several higher education institutions moreover confer a doctorate for artistic work or a combination of academic and artistic work (HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU) [in German only], Hamburg University of Music and Theater (HFMT) [in German only], University of Fine Arts Hamburg (HFBK)) or within the scope of a joint PhD program.
Types of doctoral studies
One of your key considerations should be how you want to work towards a doctorate. The following types of doctoral studies are offered in Hamburg:
- Structured doctoral studies as part of a doctoral program with at least two supervisors in a doctoral degree program, research training group, or graduate school. Structured doctoral studies provide a curriculum with recommendations for additional subject-specific and interdisciplinary qualifications. A minimum number of credits must be obtained. The duration is mostly fixed, with funding generally guaranteed during this time.
- Individual doctoral studies with no set structure are supervised by a professor. Doctoral students usually have to organize additional soft skill courses for themselves. They are also responsible for ensuring that deadlines they set are met and for obtaining funding.
Many disciplines allow two different ways to hand in your thesis. A distinction is made between cumulative and monographic doctorates. Articles published in peer-reviewed journals must be compiled in a dissertation for a cumulative doctorate; in contrast, a monograph dissertation involves a comprehensive treatise of your thesis, which is then published as a book.
Finding a supervisor
You have found a subject for your doctoral studies? The next step is to search for a suitable university supervisor. The doctoral degree regulations valid for each specific higher education institution and faculty determine who may serve as a supervisor. Please get into direct contact with those professors you believe may be appropriate for your doctoral proposal. A clear research question and objective for your doctoral subject are essential for successful doctoral studies. Arrange an appointment and be prepared for an extensive discussion of your plans and ideas. The written confirmation of the supervision of your intended doctoral studies is the prerequisite for your enrollment at your university.
Only now can you search for funding; the doctoral supervisor will be able to provide useful tips and a list of important contacts. In the end, you should determine whether a structured doctoral program is possible for your project.
Writing your research proposal
Once you have sorted out the framework conditions, you prepare your proposal in close consultation with your doctoral supervisor. In this, you describe your research project and outline the guiding idea of your thesis. Typically, a reasearch proposal incorporates thematic, methodical, structural, and organisational aspects.
Registering for the doctoral procedure
Your doctoral studies will officially start when you are admitted to the doctoral program. You must complete a number of important steps for this. These include applying for admission to the doctoral procedure within your faculty or institution and enrolling at your higher education institution. Please first contact the doctoral studies office at your higher education institution or faculty to apply for admission to the doctoral procedure. You will generally need to submit the following documents:
- Proof of an academic degree from a higher education institution
- Tabular CV
- Outline of your research proposal
- Confirmation of supervision
- Depending on the higher education institution and faculty, other documents (e.g., a project plan and timetable). Please refer to the doctoral degree regulations valid for your higher education institution and faculty for details.
If your application is successful, you will be admitted to doctoral studies and can enroll at your higher education institution (Immatrikulation). You will need a number of documents to enroll, such as a degree certificate and confirmation of supervision.
Service und support
Detailed information on the doctoral program and admission and enrollment procedures is available here and on the higher education institution websites:
Universität Hamburg (UHH)
- Faculty of Law (in German only)
- Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences
- Faculty of Medicine
- Faculty of Education
- Faculty of Humanities (in German only)
- Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Natural Sciences
- Faculty of Psychology and Human Movement (in German only)
- Faculty of Business Administration (Hamburg Business School)
Services for Students in the Campus Center is responsible for enrollment at Universität Hamburg (UHH). Please contact your department (e.g., your supervisor, doctoral committee, or dean) regarding all matters relating to the doctorate itself.
Other higher education institutions of Hamburg
- Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW) (in German only)
- Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH)
- HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU) (in German only)
- Helmut Schmidt University (HSU) (in German only)
- Hamburg University of Music and Theater (in German only)
- University of Fine Arts Hamburg (HFBK) (in German only)
- Bucerius Law School (BLS) (in German only)
- Kühne Logistics University (KLU)
- Find a subject for your doctoral studies that is of interest to you.
- Formulate a question that involves new findings and that puts forward and examines at least one hypothesis.
- Search for a potentially suitable structured doctoral degree program (doctoral program, research training group) and advertised doctoral positions.
- Clarify supervision.
- Clarify funding.
- Prepare a proposal.
- Arrange for enrollment and admission.