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 acquire a doctoral degree? We will be happy to provide you with advice during a consultation session.

If you would like detailed advice during a consultation session, 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. Guidelines are provided by the checklist for the (initial) doctoral degree interview, also known as the Checklist for carrying out and supervising doctoral degrees . It sets out the requirements for the initial interview between the doctoral candidate and their supervisor that must be held at the start of the process.

The various ways of obtaining a doctoral degree at FAU

If you want to work independently on obtaining your degree, you will need to find your own supervisor and work on your research project largely on your own. Depending on your subject you may work alone or together with other researchers. If you choose the independent doctoral degree path, the length of time taken to complete it will depend on your planning – or the duration of your contract. It will usually take three to five years.

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

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

If you are planning to acquire a doctoral degree from a university of applied sciences, it is also possible for you to study at FAU at the same time. You will then have two supervisors, one from FAU and one from your 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 interuniversity cooperation involving FAU with regard to doctoral degree programmes

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) has close partnerships with many businesses.

One of the reasons behind these practice-orientated partnerships is that businesses are interested in contributing to students’ academic training while students wish to take advantage of the opportunity to gain valuable experience by working on aspects related to practice and in a practical setting. FAU also assigns subjects for doctoral theses in association with these partnerships. These are usually referred to as ‘external’ theses. An external thesis deals with a subject suggested by a business and/or that is completed while working at a business and that is related to that business’ sphere of activities.

An information sheet on allocating topics for external Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral theses is available (see ‘Rundschreiben und Merkblätter’)

More information