Prospective Doctoral Candidates

Guidance for those interested in a Doctorate

Are you still unsure about what it exactly means to get a doctorate and whether it is the right choice for you? Then you've come to the right place! On the following page you will find a starting guide with essential information about doing a doctorate at Beuth University of Applied Sciences. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone or drop in during our office hours for a chat!

We know that deciding to start a doctorate is a challenging decision for anyone, but especially for women who are the first in the family to obtain a university degree, the decision to pursue a doctorate can be unsettling. Information about the processes before and during the doctorate is often informal and difficult to access. In our counselling we try to overcome these obstacles together and help with networking at the university.

We also especially welcome women of colour and women with a history of immigration to learn about the possibilities of a doctorate and an academic career.

Answers to important questions about starting a doctorate:

After successfully completing your doctoral studies you will receive the doctorate, the highest academic degree in Germany. This will enable you to work independently in scientific research.

The doctorate consists of two parts: a written doctoral thesis (“dissertation") followed by an oral defense or examination ("disputation" or "rigorosum"). The doctoral thesis is designed to tackle a research question from a specific field in depth over a period of several years and is intended to make a new and innovative contribution to research.

The prerequisite for a doctorate is a successfully completed master's, magister or diploma degree, regardless of whether at a university or a university of applied sciences (UAS). However, like most UAS in Germany, the Beuth Hochschule has no right to award doctorates. Only full universities have the right to award them. Your admission to the doctorate is therefore granted by the selected university. Your primary doctoral supervisor* would also be located there.

It is possible to do a doctorate directly at a university. The exact prerequisites and requirements are laid down in the so-called doctoral regulations of the respective faculty of the university. The doctoral regulations differ according to subject and university and determine whether and under what conditions graduates of UAS are admitted. In some cases, additional requirements must be met, such as attendance of certain courses. The final decision lies with the doctoral committee.

Very often, however, it is useful or even necessary to do a doctorate in cooperation with the UAS. See "What is a cooperative doctorate?”.

In the case of a cooperative doctorate, your doctoral thesis is jointly supervised by the university and the University of Applied Sciences (UAS). Admission and principal supervision take place at the university, but you can work on your research project at the UAS. A professor at the UAS will also be your secondary supervisor.

Here are some examples of why cooperative doctoral studies could be an option for you if you are currently studying at a UAS:

  • You are unfamiliar with the structure and the professors of the university, but a professor* in your department at the UAS can help you with networking in the academic community and support you in formal and academic questions as a secondary supervisor.
  • You would like to do your doctorate close to your own subject and do research in the laboratories of the UAS.
  • You would like to write your doctoral thesis within a doctoral position advertised at the UAS.
  • The selected university requires a secondary supervisor from your UAS.

You can find out more about cooperative doctorates on the website of Beuth's Center for Research and Innovation (“Zentrum für Forschung und Innovation”):

The most important thing is to find a topic that interests you and that you can imagine working on for several years. Often the topic is already hidden in your master’s thesis. Whether it is worthwhile to do more in-depth research in this particular direction should be checked with the supervisor*.

However, you could also be offered a doctorate or a research topic, for example by a professor or the head of your research group. Ideally, this person could also have a vacancy for a doctoral position, which would clarify both the supervision and the financing of your doctoral thesis.

A sensible approach is also the targeted search for advertised doctoral positions, which are usually published on the websites of the universities. To do this, you would probably have to adapt your topic to the position and submit an exposé for the application.

Topic areas (mostly in connection with a job or a scholarship) are also advertised by other institutions, such as various foundations as well as structured doctoral programmes at universities or research institutes.

As soon as you have a rough idea of the topic you would like to research in your field, you can start looking for the right supervision. If you would like to do your doctorate cooperatively, it is best to start your search with professors at the University of Applied Sciences (UAS). Ideally, this could be the supervisor of your master's thesis (if they have a doctorate!). This person could also help establish a relationship with a suitable supervisor at the university.

Since your cooperation is supposed to work well over several years, the decision for the supervision should be well thought out. For example, the professor must of course be well acquainted with the research topic himself/herself and possibly have already published on it. You should be able to trust your supervisor and be able to count on his or her support even in difficult phases of the doctoral thesis. It is therefore worth signing a supervision agreement in which both of you agree on the structure of your collaboration.

If possible, you should talk to other doctoral candidates who are supervised by the professor* in advance, so that you can already assess his or her working methods very well.

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There are different ways and possibilities of financing a doctorate:

1. Funded by a temporary doctoral scholarship. A good source for scholarships is the portal Beuth University of Applied Sciences also offers short-term doctoral scholarships, which are ideal for starting or completing a doctorate.

2. Having a temporary doctoral position at the University of Applied Sciences (UAS) or in a research project related to the topic of the doctorate. In 2020, Beuth University of Applied Sciences is expected to offer 10 new doctoral positions.

3. In connection with a concrete research project in the industry or a non-university research institution. In a company-related doctorate, scientific and economic interests must be brought together. It is possible to work in an application-oriented manner and this doctorate usually offers to build up good contacts for further professional career.

4. Through (part-time) employment without reference to the subject of the doctorate. Usually, this offers greater freedom but less time to actually work on the doctorate. Here you should carefully consider whether the doctorate can then still be completed within a manageable time frame.