Doctoral degrees

Initial considerations

There are several ways to obtain a doctoral degree at FAU. The options available depend on your subject and your research project. Whichever way you choose, you will have access to our range of seminars and events, our administrative support and our assistance with networking. Or are you unsure yet whether you actually want to complete a doctoral degree? We are happy to advise you during a consultation.

If you would like an in-depth consultation, please contact us in advance to arrange an appointment.

To ensure that doctoral degrees are completed successfully it is important that doctoral candidates and their supervisors are aware of their rights and responsibilities. The check list Good practice for carrying out and supervising doctoral degrees is used as a guideline. It provides the basis for the initial meeting between the doctoral candidate and their supervisor that must be held at the start of the process.

Different ways to obtain a doctoral degree at FAU

If you want to work on an individual doctoral degree you must find your own supervisor and work on your research project largely independently. Depending on your subject you may work alone or with other researchers. If you choose an individual doctoral degree, the length of time taken to complete it depends on your planning – or the duration of your contract. It usually takes three to five years.

You can also complete a doctoral degree as part of one of FAU’s structured doctoral programmes. The programmes include a complementary curriculum that is often interdisciplinary and usually aim to enable participants to gain soft skills and additional qualifications. The intense, systematic supervision provided in these programmes should usually enable you to complete your doctoral degree within three to four years.

If you are interested in participating in one of our doctoral programmes, please apply directly to the persons responsible for the programme. An overview is available at Structured doctoral programmes.

If you would like to complete a doctoral degree at a university of applied sciences, you can do this in co-operation with FAU. You will then have two supervisors, one from FAU and one from the university of applied sciences. If you are interested in pursuing this option, please contact the responsible Office of Doctoral Affairs or the head of the Graduate Centre, Dr. Stefanie Herberger.

Guide to cooperative doctoral degrees at FAU (in German)

In the case of external doctoral theses, doctoral candidates do not have close ties to the Institute or Chair, and are certainly not employed there. External doctoral candidates cover their costs with paid employment outside the University. FAU provides academic supervision and is entitled to award doctoral degrees. That means you need a supervisor at FAU, who supports you in your research and your external doctoral degree. If you choose to do an external doctoral degree, you are considerably less involved in work at the Chair than you would be in the case of an internal doctoral thesis. Accordingly, the supervision relationship is much more casual and is restricted to discussing the doctoral thesis.

It ought to be borne in mind that allocating theses of this nature raises many questions about legal issues and processes that affect all those involved (students, companies, lecturers acting as supervisors, FAU). They are outlined in the Information sheet on allocating topics for and completing
external Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral theses (in German)

More information (in German)