Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Life Sciences

Admission to doctoral studies

The doctorate 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. 56/2022 of 10 October 2022.


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The Doctoral Office will be closed from 19 August to 6 September. No applications can be accepted or processed during this period. Thank you for your understanding.




To undertake the doctorate, candidates must generally have completed studies in a subject essential to the doctorate at a state-approved university, achieving an overall grade of ‘good’ (2,3) 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 academic advisers


  • You can work for a doctor’s degree in any subject represented within the Faculty by university instructors.
  • If you have not yet found academic advisers for your planned doctoral studies, 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 university instructors who are able to offer a doctoral topic which you find interesting and are willing to supervise you, you can apply for admission to doctoral studies.




Please submit the following documents in the order below 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 doctoral studies 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 the names of the people who will supervise you, as well as the laboratory/Institute where you will carry out your work. Directly below this, you can add the name of the person who also will supervise you without being a faculty member or having supervisory authority at our faculty.
  • If you wish to complete doctoral studies 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.

 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

Scientific CV

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

Please note that the equivalence assessment may take a few weeks.

As this is an internal university equivalence assessment, we are not authorised to pass it on to candidates. We will only inform you of the result.


 Supervision agreement

Please use the template provided by the Faculty of Life Sciences as a draft for your supervision agreement. You can find it under Forms and Regulations.

The various departments have set different standards for academic achievement.

The Departments of Biology and Psychology have specified that the qualifying achievements under annexe 1, para. 14 of the doctoral degree 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 doctoral studies 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). In general, however, you can include all courses in the curriculum that have been agreed with your supervisor(s).

If you are undergoing doctoral studies 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 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.

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