Postgraduate Studies and Research in Germany


Not only the number of foreign students in Germany is on the rise, but also that of foreign doctoral and post-doc researchers, as confirmed by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

This upward trend in the past few years accounts for the realization of German governmental and non-governmental institutions that the country cannot maintain its economic advantage, development and sustainable growth in all sectors and industries without supporting research. This fact has also led to some amendments to the German immigration law, which, as of January 2005, has simplified and improved conditions for highly qualified young academics wanting to come to Germany. And this is good news for you if you are looking for a postgraduate program or a research position!

Asking yourself key questions

When looking for a postgraduate study, you have to start in the same way as for a normal program, i.e. start asking yourself key questions: Do I know exactly what program I am interested in and which universities and FHs offer such a program? What are the entrance requirements and language of instruction? And what about the degree I will be awarded – where and how will it be recognized? Where and how can I find financing possibilities for my program? What are the prospects of finding a position in my field after completion?

Finding a program that suits to your needs

One way to start your search is by choosing a university (if you have a particular wish) and then visit the international pages of its website. You can check the availability, the conditions and requirements, and the deadlines for any postgraduate or research program it may offer. This kind of search will save you some time. The obvious disadvantage is that you may not find a program that suits your needs at that particular university. The better way then would be to use the search tools provided by DAAD. You can directly look for a program and check the other links provided for more information on program description, requirements and admission, and links to various research institutes.

Here you will find several links concerning doctorates and doctoral studies, beginning with how to find such a program to how you can find financing possibilities (unfortunately a lot of information on some of these websites is only available in German):

  •  - Deutscher Akademischer Auslandsdienst
  •  - German Research Foundation’s (DFG)

It is always easier and will save you much time and effort to follow a road that has been walked before. This means you can draw on other’s first hand experience, those who have already “been there and done that.” If you personally know someone, he or she will prove to be a valuable source of information. If you do not know anyone personally, you should try to find different networks and forums on the internet, which can be provide information and tips either from your co-nationals or international postgraduate or doctoral students. Here are only a few such links (you can use DAAD’s search tools to find more):

This article is an extract from Study in Germany - A comprehensive guide for foreign students. Click here to get a copy now.

Further reading

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