Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Life Sciences

Admission to doctoral examination process

The doctoral examination process is subject to the Doctoral Degree regulations of the Faculty of Life Sciences, published in the Official Gazette of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Amtliches Mitteilungsblatt) no. 12/2015 from 5th March 2015.




To undertake the doctoral examination process, candidates must generally have completed studies in a subject essential to the doctorate at a state-approved university, achieving an overall grade of ‘good’ or higher. This degree can be a Magister, Diplom or master's, or a First State Examination for Science.

Graduates holding a bachelor's degree with a grade of ‘very good’ or higher may be provisionally admitted to a doctorate subject to certain conditions.



Finding an academic adviser


  • You can work for a doctor’s degree in any subject represented within the Faculty by a university instructor.
  • If you have not yet found an academic adviser for your planned doctoral examination process, please contact the Institutes for further information on the faculty’s university instructors and their subject areas or use the following list:

    Research groups

  • Once you have found a university instructor who is able to offer a doctoral topic which you find interesting and is willing to supervise you, you can apply for admission to the doctoral examination process.




Please submit the following documents as scans ahead of time (as single PDF) and the originals via regular post. (for more detailed information click). Forms can be found under Forms, regulations.


 Application for admission
  • Please complete your application for admission to the doctoral examination process on a computer (NOT HANDWRITTEN). The application must be submitted as a single page, printed on the front and back side, has to be signed by all parties and stamped.
  • On page 2 you must enter your direct academic adviser and the laboratory/department where you will be completing your work. The official academic adviser must sign below. This can be the same person, if they are entitled to supervise doctorates at our faculty. Here you find further information.
  • If you wish to complete the doctoral examination process in Biology and page 2 of your application for admission only mentions people who are not a member of one of our faculty’s departments nor a special professor within our faculty, please note the following:
    You must find someone within the Department of Biology who will agree to review your dissertation at the end of the doctoral examination period. Please ask them to co-sign your supervision agreement.
    (An assessment report from a department in the Faculty: section 8 (1) of the Doctoral Degree Regulations and faculty committee decisions no. 04/2015.3 and no. 08/2015.7)


 Certificates, if applicable with translation

We do require a simple copy of your university degree certificate (Diploma certificate and transcript or bachelor’s and master’s certificates and transcripts).


 Confirmation of equivalence, if applicable

If you did not graduate from a university in Germany, we will have to assess the equivalence of your qualification. Please provide us with scanned copies of the following documents via e-mail:

Diploma certificate and transcript or

bachelor’s and master’s certificates and transcripts.

In case the certificates are not in English please send us a translation.


 Supervision agreement

The various departments have set different standards for academic achievement.

The Departments of Biology and Psychology have specified that the qualifying achievements under annexe 2, para. 13 of the PhD regulations should be treated as optional requirements. The necessity for and scope of qualifying achievements will be individually determined. However, please enter at least one course that you will be taking.
If you are participating in a doctoral programme, please discuss the study programme with the coordinator.

For students undergoing the doctoral examination process in Agricultural or Horticultural Sciences, the study programme must cover 18 CP as part of the supervision agreement. Doctoral students should preferably complete modules from the research training group (Faculty committee decision no. 13_2015.5).

If you are undergoing the doctoral examination process in Biology, you may also be required to name a thesis reviewer from the Department of Biology. For detailed information, see application for admission


 Exposé with work schedule

The description of the prospective doctor’s thesis and work plan (synopsis) should be around three pages long.


 Curriculum vitae
 Copy of identity card or passport
 Declaration of compliance to use e-mail address


Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences:

Your documentation for admission or initiation of the doctoral degree procedure has to be submitted to the Office of Doctoral Affairs at the latest 14 days before the Institute Council meeting.


Notification of admission

Once your documentation has been examined and the relevant department and the faculty’s Doctoral Degree board have granted their approval, you will receive your letter of admission. Your period of doctoral studies (four years) officially begins with the date of your admission letter. The admission procedure can take up to six weeks.



Upon receipt of the letter of admission, you have to enrol as a doctoral student by presenting your degree certificates to the Student Service Center at Humboldt-Universität. You need to do this within a month of admission. In case you can not meet this deadline, your application of admission may has to be redone. After registering with the Student Service Center, please send us your matriculation number.
Please keep in mind that you have to re-register, as you have to be enrolled until you have submited your application to begin the Doctoral Examination process.

International students please contact for information on necessary documents for enrolment procedures.

As soon as you have successfully registered, please send us you student number to