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PhD in Germany for Indian Students: PhD Requirements in Germany, Programs, Courses, Costs, Scholarships, and More

Yocket Editorial Team

Germany upholds a remarkable reputation for offering top-quality higher education, intensive research and a diversity of programs. Students from all over the world are flocking to this scenic country to enjoy amazing student life in Germany and pursue their courses at their dream universities. Among them, one of the most popular routes is to pursue a PhD in Germany. A PhD in Germany for International students is consistently sought after; almost 10,000 students from various countries are currently enrolled in PhD courses in Germany.

If you, too, are planning to pursue PhD in Germany or have questions related to your doctorate in Germany, we have curated a guide that answers it all. Let’s get started.

Table of Contents:

Why Study PhD in Germany

Doctoral study in Germany is directly related to your proficiency in higher education. Let’s check out why one should choose Germany for pursuing PhD.

  1. Outstanding Research Facilities: As a nation with cultural and scientific traditions, Germany offers amazing research opportunities for the PhD students. Besides, it has a large choice of education institutions, well-equipped non-university research organizations, etc.
  2. Strong International Focus: PhD in English in Germany has amazing job opportunities offered by various research institutions, companies, and universities. More than 5,500 international students do PhD in Germany every year.
  3. Funding opportunities: If you have a very promising university degree and doctoral thesis project, then you will have amazing prospects of receiving scholarships or a funded doctoral position. This is because many funding organisations in Germany support international/Indian PhD students.
  4. Freedom to realise your creative potential: Germany is one of the world’s freest countries. You will experience the freedom of arts and science. Besides, they value and preserve research a lot. So international PhD students can also travel to other European Union Countries to conduct research.
  5. Low Costs and High Standard of Living: The standard of living in Germany is high compared to the cost of living. In fact, if a student pursues their PhD in German public universities, the education is free.

Read: Cost of Living in Germany

Now you know why to pursue PhD in Germany. Next, let’s explore the types of PhD programs.

Types of PhD in Germany

Before we look at some of the admission criteria and top programs to study PhD in Germany, it is important to understand the two broad categories of PhD research in Germany.

They are two types of PhD programs offered at German Universities:

1.     Structured PhD in Germany

This category follows a rather systematic and ‘structured’ approach to your doctorate in Germany. A structured curriculum is devised, and your progress is consistently supervised and evaluated by a team of expert advisors. Structured PhD in Germany is mostly conducted with a small research group who are all working on the same project.

Mode of Instruction


Program Length

Up to 3 years


Direct enrollment to the desired university/ institution offering the doctoral degree

Offered by

University/ Research Institute's Respective Department

2.   Individual PhD in Germany

A more popular and classic route, individual PhD in Germany allows more flexibility and an individualised curriculum. The students are entrusted with the task of finding a professor or guide who can overlook the progress of their dissertation and provide valuable input.

Mode of Instruction

English or German

Program Length

3-5 years


Need to find a Supervisor for your Thesis

Offered by


Research Facility

Licensed Companies in the industrial sector

Read: Education Loan for German Study

To find a Phd in Germany, you will need to check which category interests you the most. You also need to find whether the topic of your choice as well as the university of your choice aligns with the former. But before that, let’s check out the PhD in Germany requirements.

Requirements to Study PhD in Germany

A PhD in Germany for Indian students especially requires you to fulfil some criterias in order to be an eligible candidate. Some PhD requirements in Germany for international students and eligibility for PhD in Germany are:

  • PhD in Germany requirements include a valid masters’ degree (recognised by the university of your choice)
  • Curriculum Vitae (a Resume of sorts that mentions prior work experience, academic pursuits, etc.)
  • Language Proficiency: IELTS (6.5 and above) or TOEFL (80 and above)
  • Letter of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Outline of Doctoral Thesis is another eligibility for PhD in Germany: This must include an analysis of the topic, purpose of writing, research methodology, deadline, etc.


Once you are ready with these essential eligibility criteria for PhD in Germany like documents, keep in mind that there might be additional University-specific requirements too. Remember to keep updating yourself with any developments on the official website.

Read: IELTS Score for Germany

Now you know the phd requirements in Germany for international students. Next, let’s explore the…

Application Process to Study PhD in Germany

In order to apply for PhD in Germany, you need to be aware of the Germany PhD requirements and the subject and university-specific procedures. However, there are a few common steps you must follow to apply for a PhD opportunities in Germany:

  • Choose the Type of PhD

Select an Individual PhD or a Structured PhD course. There are course benefits to both, but one may be more applicable with regard to your particular area of interest.

  • Find a Supervisor/ Research Program

For an individual PhD, approach a professor to supervise your research in Germany. You can approach an esteemed professor via email and send in your Thesis module, CV, and Statement of Purpose. However, for a structured program, choose the research program first.

  • Send Your Application

Send in your application to the university/ research institute. An expert committee will review the furnished documents, especially your proposal, along with other students' documents.

  • Interview

An interview in Germany with a panel of 3-4 experts may be conducted to gauge your interest in the topic, master's degree, career plans as well the scope of your research proposal.

  • Acceptance from the University

Once accepted, you will receive a confirmation letter from the university. You can further use this application to apply for a German student visa.

  • PhD Visa Germany

Immediately apply for a German Student Visa. The application fee for a PhD visa in Germany is 75 EUR.

Read: Know all About Germany Student Visa

Now you know the application process for a PhD in Germany. Next, let’s explore the…

Top Universities for PhD in Germany

Now that you are aware of PhD requirements in Germany let’s have a look at some of the most reputable universities in Germany for a PhD:

Let’s explore these PhD universities, along with their PhD fees in Germany for international students.

1.   Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

LMU Munich is the most prestigious University for a PhD in Germany. As one of the ‘Elite Universities’ in Germany, LMU Munich offers more than 100 programs for its doctoral students that are interdisciplinary, holistic and innovative. You can do both types of PhDs here - Individual and Structured. Its PhD tuition fees in Germany for international students are 256 EUR per year.

Some of the most popular doctoral programs here are:

  • Microeconomic Determinants of Labour Productivity, Economics
  • Doctoral Program Environment and Society
  • Doctoral Program Financial Mathematics
  • PhD in Management

2.   Technical University of Munich (TMU)

The Technical University of Munich is considered one of the best universities in Germany for a doctoral program, given its excellent reputation for research and development. The TUM Graduate School collaborates with the exceptional degree-awarding institutions at the university itself to provide intensive supervision and guidance to all its doctoral students. Moreover, TMU does not charge PhD tuition fees in Germany for international students.

Some of the most popular programs here are:

  • Doctoral Program Architecture
  • Doctoral Program Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Doctoral Program Management
  • Doctoral Program Mathematics

3.   University of Freiburg

As the fifth oldest university in all of Germany and an incredibly reputable one, the University of Freiburg has a stronghold on research and development institutions in the country. The University offers doctoral programs under all eleven of its faculties, wherein students can opt for either an individual or a structured program. Its PhD tuition fees in Germany for international students are 1500 EUR per semester.

Some of the programs offered here are:

  • Doctoral Programs in Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Doctoral Programs in Engineering
  • Doctoral Programs in Life Sciences
  • Marie Curie Programs

4.   RWTH Aachen University

RWTH Aachen University is a pioneering research-oriented public university that is renowned for its multidisciplinary approach to teaching and research. All faculties at the university offer doctoral programs. There are also excellent opportunities for structured research at the university. Moreover, there are no PhD fees in Germany for international students at this university.

Some of the doctoral programs offered here are:

  • Doctoral Program Architecture
  • Doctoral Programs in Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences
  • Doctoral Programs at School for Data Science in Life, Earth and Energy (HDS-LEE)
  • Doctoral Programs at German Research School for Simulation Sciences (GRS)

5.   Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

A pioneering institution for science and technology, the KIT offers doctoral programs for ‘Young Scientists’ in order to build their intellectual capabilities and maintain a stronghold in academia as well as personal growth and development. More than 3000 students receive doctoral degrees through the Young Scientists program at KIT. Its PhD tuition fees in Germany for international students are 1500 EUR per semester.

Some of the popular doctoral programs offered here are:

  • Doctoral Program Nanotechnology
  • Doctoral Program Economics
  • Doctoral Program Optics and Photonics
  • Doctoral Program Computer Science

6.   Free University of Berlin

Since its inception in 1948, the Free University of Berlin has been steadily rising in the ranks of the best universities in Germany, especially for research and development. With more than 4,000 students currently enrolled in doctoral programs - and 36% of those being international students - the University is clearly a force to reckon with when it comes to research. As the name suggests, there is no cost of PhD in Germany for this university.

Some of the doctoral programs offered here are:

  • Doctoral Program Business Research (DPBR)
  • Doctoral Programs in Leibniz Graduate School of Molecular Biophysics
  • Doctoral Program Latin American Studies from a Comparative and Transregional Perspective
  • Doctoral Programs in Natural & Life Sciences

Read: What are the Job Prospects after PhD in Germany?

Now, you know the top PhD universities in Germany. Next, let’s explore the top PhD programs in Germany.

Top PhD Programs in Germany

Some of the most popular courses in which doctoral programs are offered at top German universities in Germany are:

  • Natural & Life Sciences: Some of Germany’s most prominent and influential strides with respect to research have been in the field of Natural and Life Sciences. Technical University of Munich and Humboldt University Berlin offer the best for these programs.
  • Engineering: Almost 20% of the International student population is enrolled in various engineering colleges in the country. Therefore, many of the students enrolled in these courses go on to pursue a PhD in the field as well. The best universities for PhD in Engineering - the Technical University of Munich, RWTH Aachen University, and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.
  • Humanities and Arts: Many German universities offer exceptional Faculties in the field of Humanities and Liberal Arts, and many of these are even offering doctoral degrees to their students. Some of the best universities in this field are Freie Universität Berlin, Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Heidelberg University.
  • Neuroscience: Universities in Germany are also known for their doctoral programs in the field of neuroscience. The University of Freiburg and University of the University of Göttingen is known for their doctoral programs in their field.
  • Computer Science: It is not only a preferred field in master's and undergraduate programs but also for doctoral programs. The Technical University of Munich, Darmstadt University of Technology, and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology are some of the best universities in this field.

Read: Types of Universities in Germany

Next, let’s explore the cost of PhD in Germany and PhD in Germany scholarship for Indian students.

Cost & Scholarships for Pursuing PhD in Germany

Let us now discuss PhD in Germany cost and scholarships:

  • Cost of Pursuing PhD in Germany

The cost of pursuing PhD in Germany includes three costs. Let’s explore them one by one.

  • Pre-arrival Expenses: These expenses mainly include IELTS/TOEFL fees, German Student visa fees, German Student Visa, and Health Insurance. They vary from 1,828 - 1,937 EUR.
  • Tuition Fees for PhD: Many public universities in Germany offer their doctoral programs at an incredibly subsidized tuition or even at no tuition cost at all. You might have to pay a semester fee ranging from 300-3,000 EUR a year. However, if you are enrolled in a PhD program at a public university, the only cost you will have to pay is your living cost in Germany.
  • Cost of Living in Germany: This cost mainly includes Rent, food, transportation, etc. This may vary as per the student’s lifestyle. However, the average cost of living in Germany is 652 EUR.

Read: Total Expenses to Study in Germany

  • PhD Scholarships in Germany

PhD in Germany for Indian students with scholarship is possible. In case of financial constraints, there are many avenues for students to avail of scholarships for their PhD studies. Some of the scholarships provided to students are:

  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD): The scholarship - the most popular one as of now - offers scholarships for students conducting research in the fields of engineering, sciences and humanities. It covers expenses of students from anywhere around 1,760 EUR to 3,000 EUR depending on the program opted for.
  • Helmholtz Research Scholarship: Funded by the Helmholtz Foundation, it offers close to 3,700 EUR to exceptional students in the pursuit of their doctoral studies. It is extremely competitive, but also, it promises to cover all the essential expenses of the student's research project.
  • Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation Scholarships: The Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation, located at Bonn, offers PhD scholarship in Germany for international students in a range of doctoral programs, including fields of engineering and law. It covers expenses anywhere from around 3,170 EUR.

Read: Scholarships in Germany for International Students

Now you know the scholarship for PhD in Germany for Indian students.

Job Opportunities after PhD in Germany

Following are the job roles that one can pursue after PhD in Germany.

  • Permanent Teaching Designation
  • Job in Research and Development Department of a company
  • Part of International Research and Partnership

Next, let’s explore the top universities in Germany that provide job opportunities after a PhD with the average salary offered.


Highest Offered Salary (EUR)

Darmstadt Technical University


Bonn University


Goethe University


The Hamburg University


Gottingen University


Humbolt University of Berlin


The University of Mannheim


Read: TU9 Universities Germany

Germany is a definite trendsetter when it comes to pursuing a PhD program and conducting intensive research in a subject. With its relative affordability, a wide range of subjects to choose from, well-planned structure, individualized programs, and excellent learning environment, the country is taking massive strides in innovation, new developments, and cultural advancement. Therefore, set sail to your PhD dream in Germany and start applying.

However, in the application process or your Germany study abroad journey, if at any step you require end-to-end personal assistance, choose Yocket premium. With this service, our counsellors will guide you throughout your study abroad dream.

Also Read:

Private Universities in Germany

10 Best Student Cities in Germany

Universities in Germany with no Application Fee

MIM in Germany Public Universities

Student Work in Germany

Study in Germany in English


Frequently Asked Questions about PhD in Germany

Is doing a PhD in Germany free?

How many years PhD in Germany?

Do PhD students get paid in Germany?

Is German required to apply for PhD in Germany?

What are the basic qualifications for pursuing PhD in Germany?

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