Research Visits in Heidelberg
Doctoral candidates can come to Heidelberg University to carry out a short-term research project as part of their doctoral studies at their home university. The first step towards carrying out a research stay is to find a professor at Heidelberg Univesity who agrees to supervise your research visit and who will issue you a letter of invitation or acceptance. There is more information about finding a research supervisor at the university here: Step 1: Finding a supervisor
If you are enrolled as a doctoral candidate at your home university, there are two forms of registration at Heidelberg University that will give you differenct degrees of access to university facilities while in Heidelberg – you can register either as a (1) visiting doctoral candidate or as a (2) visiting researcher.
As soon as you begin planning your research visit, we strongly advise you to contact the Graduate Academy (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly to clarify any questions about your status at the university, about access to university facilities or about visa regulations.
1. Research stay as a visiting doctoral candidate
Coming to Heidelberg as a visiting doctoral candidate involves enrolling as a student at the university and gives you full student status including the multifunctional student ID card, access to all university facilities (library, cafeterias, computer center, sports center etc.) and access to the services provided by the student services organization (Studierendenwerk) such as
- the ability to purchase the Semesterticket (185 Euro for 6 months) for unlimited, free access to public transportation within the Rhein-Neckar region
- reduced student prices at the cafeterias
- the possibility to apply for a room in a student dormitory
- access to the Studierendenwerk housing service
If you choose to enroll at the university, you will be required to pay an administration and student services fee of 186.35 Euro (as of the summer semester 2023) for every semester that you are enrolled.
Please read through the information below about admission and enrollment at Heidelberg University well in advance of coming to Heidelberg so that you can prepare all of the necessary documents. Please note that it is not possible to enroll at the university without all of the documents listed below.
Application for Admission as a “visiting doctoral candidate” (“Forschungsstudent”)
Before you can enroll as a visiting doctoral candidate, you must first apply for admission to the university in the heiCO system.
Please go to the heiCO website and click on “APPLICATION: Go directly to the online application here” . You will be required to create and then confirm a user account. After your user account is set up, you can log in and begin the application process in the system.
- For “Type of studies” please choose “other study” and for "intended degree" choose "Research Student (without ECTS)"
- For “Degree Programme” please select the subject in which you will do your doctoral training
Then proceed to fill out the rest of the online application. For assistance in filling out the online application, please refer to the following manuals found in the heiCO Download Center:
- General guide to the online application and enrollment process (Please be aware that this guide was primarily written for bachelor's applicants so not all information will pertain to you.)
- Guide for completing information about university degrees
Throughout the online application process, you will be required to upload the following application documents:
- copies of all of your university diplomas (Bachelor, Master), including transcripts of records (lists of courses and grades) for each semester or year of study, and certified translations of all of these documents into either German or English if they were not originally issued in German or English
Applicants from China: Please note! For all school and university diplomas and transcripts, applicants from China must submit certified copies and translations that are issued by an official notary whose office is affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Justice. Other forms of certification/translation (for example certification by means of a red star stamp) will not be accepted unless the applicant also submits an original APS certificate. In either case, only actual certified copies will be accepted - not photocopies or print outs of certified copies.
- copies of your secondary school leaving certificate (e.g. Abitur, high school diploma, Attestat, Matura etc.) including transcripts of records (lists of courses and grades) and certified translations of these documents into either German or English if they were not originally issued in German or English
- if applicable, copy of your university entrance examination results and certified translation of this document into either German or English if it was not originally issued in German or English
- letter of acceptance from your supervisor. If the system does not request this letter, please upload it with your university diplomas. This letter should be on the letterhead of Heidelberg University or of the Heidelberg University hospital and must:
- confirm that you will be pursuing doctoral studies at Heidelberg University and indicate the research group in which you will be working,
- indicate which professor at Heidelberg University will be acting as your doctoral supervisor,
- indicate the approximate time period of your doctoral studies.
- If your supervisor works primarily at an external organization such as the DKFZ, MPI etc and does not have university letterhead,they should confirm in the letter which university faculty they belong to.
- if applicable, proof of any time spent at a German university as well as proof that you are no longer registered at that university (Exmatrikulationsbescheinigung).
- photo in passport format
- copy of your passport/national ID card
After you have submitted a complete application online, it will be processed by the student administration and you will be notified through the heiCO system about your admission status. After the Zulassungsbescheid (admission notification) is issued in the system, you can proceed with your enrollment. See "Step 6: Enrollment" for more information.
Please be aware that you can upload normal copies of all of your educational documents during the application process. However, for your final enrollment, you will be required to submit certified copies of your school and university diplomas and transcripts as well as of your passport.
Fees and re-registration
Visiting doctoral candidates are not required to pay tuition fees at Heidelberg University. However, if you enroll at the University, you will have to pay a semester fee that covers administrative costs, costs for student services and student representatives. The total fee is currently 186.35 Euro per semester (as of the summer semester 2023).
In order to remain enrolled at the University, you must re-register each semester by paying the fee described above. The time periods for re-registration are as follows:
- June 15 to July 15 for the winter semester,
- January 15 to February 15 for the summer semester
Please be aware that you must pay the full semester fee for every semester for which you are enrolled regardless of when during the semester you arrive or leave. Therefore, if possible, it is a good idea to plan the timing of your stay to coincide with the university semesters. The university semesters are as follows:
Winter semester: October 1 to March 31
Summer semester: April 1 to September 30
2. Research stay as a visiting researcher
Coming to Heidelberg as a visiting researcher involves registering with the Welcome Center and gives you limited access to University facilities. If you have a scholarship or are funding your research stay privately, you will receive a visiting researcher card after registration, which confirms your association with the university and enables you to apply for additional cards to use the university library, the university cafeterias and the university sports center. Please note that you will not obtain access to the services provided by the student services organization which means you will not be eligible
- to live in a student dormitory
- to use the housing service provided by the student services organization
- to receive reduced student prices in the university cafeterias
- to buy a Semesterticket for public transportation, which significantly reduces the cost of travelling regularly by bus or tram
In general this means that you will receive less support and will need to be more independent in organizing your research stay and finding housing. Depending on where you live and how much you wish to cook for yourself, you may also need to budget for higher expenses for food and transportation. A standard bus or tram ticket within Heidelberg costs between 2.70 and 3.00 Euro and a monthly pass for public transportation in Heidelberg costs 86.40 Euro. If you bring a valid student ID card or enrollment certificate from your home university or a valid ISIC student ID card with you, you should be able to purchase a monthly pass "Ausbildung", which costs 64.80 Euro per month in Heidelberg. It must be obvious from your student ID or enrollment certificate that you are enrolled at your home university at the time of purchase.
You can register as a visiting researcher at Heidelberg University online on the website of the Welcome Center .
► Welcome Center
► Visiting Scholar Card