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Graduate Centre

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.

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 aims 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 these doctoral programmes, please apply to the programme directly.

Overview of all structured doctoral programmes at FAU (German)

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 degree (German)

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) has close partnerships with many companies.
One of the results of these application-orientated partnerships is that companies are often interested in contributing to students’ academic training while students wish to take advantage of the opportunity to gain valuable experience by working on issues arising from practice and in a practical setting from an academic perspective. FAU allocates doctoral candidates topics for doctoral theses as part of these partnerships. These are usually referred to as ‘external’ doctoral theses. An ‘external’ thesis is a thesis on a topic suggested by a company and/or that is completed while working at a company and is related to the company’s work and data.

Information sheet on allocating topics for external Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral theses (German)