Contact information

Graduate Academy Heidelberg University

Service Point

Im Neuenheimer Feld 370
Room 3
69120 Heidelberg

Telephone Icon 17x17 +49 (0) 6221 / 54 - 19765


Walk-in office hours

Monday: 10 am to 12 pm
Tuesday: 2 pm to 4 pm
Wednesday: 10 am to 12 pm
Thursday: 10 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm
and by appointment

Outside of our office hours you can reach us by telephone or email.

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Basic prerequisites


What are doctoral studies?

The goal of pursuing doctoral training, which ultimately leads to the title of Doktor (Dr.), is to obtain the skills necessary to successfully carry out independent academic research, usually in a specialized research field.

Heidelberg University has established the following quality standards for doctoral training:

  • Transparency of admissions criteria and procedures
  • Recruitment of especially qualified doctoral candidates from Germany and abroad
  • Best possible supervision of doctoral candidates
  • Adherence to the principles of good scientific practice
  • Transparency of the review process
  • Fostering of interdisciplinary competencies
  • Provision of relevant academic and professional qualifications
  • Fostering of academic independence and internationalization


Prerequisites for pursuing doctoral studies at Heidelberg University

1. The completion of a university degree with very good or good results

One of the following degrees is required:

  • Master,
  • Magister,  
  • Diplom,  
  • Staatsexamen,  
  • an equivalent university degree from a German or foreign university.

► Doctoral regulations of the faculties and dean's offices

2. The ability to independently pursue academic research and to sustain interest and work on a particular topic over an extended period

A doctorate consists of a written academic thesis (dissertation) and an oral examination, either in the form of a disputation or a rigorosum (viva voce). Doctoral candidates who successfully complete the dissertation and the oral examination are granted the academic degree of doctor for independent academic achievement.

Duration of doctoral training

In general it takes three to five years to complete a doctorate, depending on the research field. In the recommendations for young researchers made in 2005, Heidelberg University set the goal of shortening the duration of doctoral studies: "The efforts at improvement must include the goal of creating conditions in which doctoral training can generally be concluded within three years at the most."

Language requirements

The University offers an increasing number of courses and services in English. Depending on the research field, many researchers and labs also work in both German and English. Therefore, you will need very good German or English language skills in order to carry out your doctoral studies. 

More information:
► Language requirements for international doctoral candidates

Web Administrator: Eric Herbst
Latest Revision: 2023-08-15
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