At Bielefeld University, a large number of international doctoral candidates are doing research in various departments. There are no deadlines for application for individual doctoral studies. Generally, graduate colleges and graduate schools have their own timelines for submitting applications and publicize these on their individual websites.
If you are interested in pursuing your doctoral degree at Bielefeld University, the important steps are:
These are institutions at Bielefeld University where doctoral studies are done in the framework of a coordinated, interdisciplinary research programme. Intensive supervision as well as exchange among fellow students is an important part of the programme. A list of research training groups and graduate schools at Bielefeld University can be found here.
If you are interested in doing your doctoral studies in the context of a structured programme, please contact the persons in charge listed on the relevant websites in regard to application procedures.
As an individual doctoral student, you have to find out on your own which professor in your special subject area might act as a supervisor (in Germany often called "Doktorvater" or "Doktormutter"). Research activities of potential advisors are provided on the websites of the faculties. These might help you get an overview to find the most suitable researchers to address.
Contact your preferred supervisor and indicate your wish to pursue your doctoral studies, present your research project, submit your CV and describe your academic background. Let her/him know what language you intend to do your doctoral thesis in. If possible, you should also give funding details, e.g a stipend from your home country, a stipend from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), etc. When getting into touch, please keep in mind that potential advisors receive many requests for supervision, but just a limited number of applicants can be accepted.
If an advisor agrees to supervise your doctorate, it must be approved by the doctoral admission committee of the faculty concerned. Enrolment for doctoral studies is only possible with written approval.
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A list of contact partners in various faculties can be found here.
After receiving the confirmation that your doctoral studies will be supervised, or you have been accepted into a graduate school, you will have to be accepted by the University as a doctoral student. Applicants who have obtained their qualifications outside Germany must send their application for admission directly to the Students' Office (Studierendensekretariat) of Bielefeld University.
The following documents are required:
You enrol at the Studierendensekretariat (Student Office: C0-138). A few days later, you will receive a bank transfer form with the university bank account number and your Matrikelnummer (student identification number). About 10 days after you have paid your study fees using the bank transfer form, you will receive your semester enrolment slips and either your Semester ticket or NRW-Ticket (entitling you to free use of public transport in and around Bielefeld or throughout the state of North Rhine-Westphalia).
If the final degree you earned in another country authorizes you to do a doctoral degree, you can generally expect to be accepted for doctoral studies in Germany. Additional requirements may need to be fulfilled. For further information, please contact the Students' Office, where your degree will be checked for equivalency with German university degrees.
If your doctoral dissertation is to be written in German, you are required to pass the German Language Exam for University Acceptance (DSH) or the TestDaF. In most faculties, a dissertation in English is also acceptable. If another language is to be used, written permission from the doctoral admission committee of the faculty is required. Regardless of your doctoral thesis language, you must demonstrate adequate knowledge of German, unless your supervisor confirms that the German language is not required or that your knowledge of the language is adequate. In such cases, you are exemted from having to show proof of the DSH exam or TestDaF.