Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Graduiertenzentrum

Beginning your doctoral studies

 

At the Faculty of Humanities you can pursue a doctorate at the Departments of Library and Information Science, the Department of European Ethnology, the Department of History and the Department of Philosophy. You can pursue any subject represented by a university professor.  The doctoral guidelines from 28 February 2018 apply to all departments and to all new doctoral applications.  

You can only apply for admission once you have concluded a supervision agreement with a university professor. If you do not have a supervisor yet, have a look at the websites of the four departments and get in touch with a potential supervisor.

 

Requirements
 
Degree

In order to pursue a doctoral degree at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, you need to have a degree from a state-accredited university pertaining to the field of study you wish to continue researching in your doctorate. Your final grade should be equivalent to the German grade gut or better. Humboldt-Universität recognises Staatsexamen, Magister, Diplom and a bachelor’s and master’s degree as qualifying degrees for a doctorate.

 

Language

You will have to specify the language of your thesis early on during your doctoral project when drawing up the supervision agreement. This is usually German. If you are not a native speaker, you will need to provide proof of your language skills to write your thesis in German.

You also have the possibility to write the thesis in English if your supervisor agrees. You will need to provide proof of your language skills if English is not your first language.

Furthermore, there is the possibility to write your thesis in a language other than English or German. In this case, you will need to get the approval of the Examination Board of your department.

If you need help communicating with the Office for Doctoral Affairs or other offices, please contact your supervisor.
 

Prospective candidates with no background in the field

In exceptional cases, prospective doctoral candidates can begin their doctorate at a department of the Faculty of Humanities if they have graduated in a different field of study. In this case, the Doctoral Degrees Committee will decide on additional requirements (such as taking extra classes) and recommend the provisional admission of the candidate. It will then check whether the additional requirements have been met after a set period of time.

 

International degrees

If you graduated from a university outside of Germany, you will need to give proof that your degree is equivalent to a German degree. In order to do so, please submit copies of the following documents to the Office for Doctoral Affairs via email:

  • A translation of your degree certificate(s) and diploma(s), if they are in a language other than German or English
  • Transcripts in German or English
  • Diploma supplements in German or English
  • CV

 

The Office for Doctoral Affairs will handle your application for admission once the equivalence of your degree has been confirmed.

 

 

Binational Doctoral Procedures (Cotutelle)
 

 

In the case of binational doctoral procedures, two institutions from different countries award ONE doctoral degree to a candidate. The two institutions draft an individual contract for each procedure.


Binational doctoral procedures are time-consuming and bureaucratic, especially for the candidate. We would therefore advice you to discuss in detail with your supervisor whether a binational doctoral procedure is the best option for you. There are much simpler ways to organise a stay abroad (such as DAAD, DFDK etc.). You can find more detailed information at HU-International.

 

If you want to pursue a binational doctoral procedure, please apply with the following documents:

 

 

  1. Application for admission
  2. Annex to the application for admission for a Binational Doctoral Procedure

 

In the annex to the application for admission, you will be asked to hand in the following documents:

 

  1. Personal statement on why you want to pursue a binational doctoral procedure
  2. Statement from your first HU supervisor on why a binational doctoral procedure is appropriate in your case
  3. Outline of when and how much time you intend to spend at the respective institutions
  4. Statement on how you plan to finance your doctoral studies, including costs for travel and accommodation for your supervisors or reviewers
  5. Summary (in English or German) of the most important features of the doctoral guidelines at the partner university
  6. Details of one contact person, who speaks English or German, at the partner university

 

Please submit the documents to the Office for Doctoral Affairs, who will hand it over to the Doctoral Degrees Committee. The latter will decide whether your application will be admitted.

 

Fast-track
 

Prospective doctoral candidates whose bachelor's thesis was awarded a grade equivalent to the German grade sehr gut (1,0) and whose final grade was the equivalent of the German grade sehr gut may apply for a fast-track PhD. For more information, please contact the Office for Doctoral Affairs.

 

 

Cumulative thesis
 

In justified exceptional cases, a thesis can be made up of peer-reviewed publications. Please discuss with your supervisor whether you should write a monograph or a cumulative thesis. 

At least three original works in peer-reviewed publications are required in order to submit a cumulative thesis. The doctoral candidate must be the main author of at least two of them. The Doctoral Degrees Committee decides on the recognition of  the theses with shared authorship at the request of the Examination Board of the respective department.


The doctoral thesis represents the individual academic performance of the doctoral candidate. Therefore, the individual academic performance of the doctoral candidate must be clarified for each work and in agreement with all of the co-authors. This should be done separately for all work stages (e.g. concept, data analysis, interpretation, writing of the thesis, etc). You can request a form at the Office for Doctoral Affairs.

You can find further information in the provisions for cumulative theses by the Department for Library and Information Science (in German).


 

Finding a supervisor
 

In order to apply for admission at the Faculty of Humanities at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, you need to have come to a supervision agreement with a university professor of the Faculty. If you do not have a supervisor yet, have a look at the websites of the four departments and get in touch with a prospective supervisor. The first supervisor must be a university professor at the Faculty of Humanities for the duration of your doctoral studies. The first supervisor should not be someone who is in retirement. Honorary professors, associate professors and senior lecturers of the Faculty of Humanities also qualify to be first supervisors.

 

You can apply for admission as soon as you have found a supervisor and have come to a supervision agreement with her or him.

 

Please note that you must have TWO supervisors. You will need to inform the Office for Doctoral Affairs of your second supervisor within one year after admission.

 

 

Funding the transition to doctoral studies
 
Humboldt Graduate School provides funding for the transition from postgraduate to doctoral studies with its Humboldt Research Track Scholarship. It is awarded to outstanding students who would like to pursue their doctoral studies at Humboldt-Universität as well as for postgraduate students at Humboldt-Universität who would like to pursue their doctoral studies at another university. 800 Euros per month are awarded for six months, scholarship holders with children receive an additional 400 EUR a month for the first child, plus 100 EUR for each additional child. Application is open four times a year. 

 


 

Please hand in the following documents for the application for admission for doctoral studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Please fill in the forms on your computer.

 

You can find all guidelines and forms under the heading of the same name on the left side of this site.  

 

 

Application for admission
 

Fill in the form "application for admission", which includes the supervision agreement. The supervision agreement serves the following purposes:

  • it defines the doctoral project (working title; language; work schedule and time frame; agreement on how often you will discuss your project),
  • it regulates the supervision of the doctoral project (regular consultation/feedback on and review of the progress of your research, which should be recorded in a short protocol; attending colloquiums; supporting and publishing works),
  • it sets out the requirements for supplementary academic activities (attending conferences; taking language classes, etc.)
  • it outlines the protocol to be followed in cases of conflict (mediation by the Doctoral Degrees Committee or of the respective department; obligation to follow the University’s “Regulations governing the principles for ensuring good scientific practice and handling allegations of scientific misconduct”).

 

Certificates and diplomas (with translation, if applicable)
 

We require certified copies of your degrees in order to examine your application. Humboldt-Universität provides a service for the certification of degrees.

Alternatively, you can come by the Office for Doctoral Affairs in person to show your certificates and degrees in the original. In this case, it is enough to hand in simple copies of your certificates and diplomas.

 

Time frame and work schedule for your studies


 

Proof of equivalency
 

If you have graduated from a university outside of Germany, you need to provide proof that your degree is equivalent to a German degree. In order to do so, please submit copies of the following documents to the Office for Doctoral Affairs via e-mail before applying for admission.

  • A translation of your certificate and diploma, if they are in a language other than German or English
  • Transcripts in German or English
  • Diploma supplements in German or English

The Office for Doctoral Affairs will handle your application for admission once the equivalence of your degree has been confirmed.  

 

 


 

Letter of admission
 

Once your documents have been examined and approved by the Doctoral Degrees Committee and by the Examination Board of your department, you will receive a letter of admission. 

The date on your letter of admission marks the beginning of the duration of study for doctoral research set in the supervision agreement. The admission procedures can last up to six weeks.

 

Enrolment at Humboldt-Universität
 

Once admitted, you will receive a letter of admission from the Office for Doctoral Affairs. Please enrol within four weeks after admission by presenting it to the Enrollment Office or handing in a copy via mail. There, you can also find all information on what documents you need to hand in in order to enrol. If you have any questions, please contact the Student Services, Enrollment Office for PhD Studies via e-mail.

If you do not enrol within four weeks, your admission will expire. In that case, you will need to update your admission at the Office for Doctoral Affairs.

Please notify the Office for Doctoral Affairs of your student ID number by sending an email to: promotionen.philfak@hu-berlin.de.

 

HU account and CampusCard
 

After your enrolment, you are required to set up an HU account in order to receive all relevant information. This is where you get the request to re-enrol each semester. The CampusCard linked to your HU account functions as both your ticket for public transportation as well as your card for all Berlin university libraries.

You will receive the PIN for your HU account in the post. Unfortunately, the Enrolment Office cannot send it to you via email due to data protection. It is important that you provide the Enrolment Office with an address in Germany or Europe if possible because, unfortunately, mail to non-European countries often does not arrive at its destination.

The Enrolment Office will send you a request for re-enrolment each semester via your HU account. Please check it regularly. If you neglect to re-enrol, your admission will expire. You can find further information on the CampusCard on the website of the Computer and Media Service.

 

Graduiertenzentrum mailing list
 

The Graduiertenzentrum mailing list provides information on events, workshops and scholarships that are relevant to doctoral candidates. You can sign up for the mailing list using the application form. If you would like to sign up at a later point or if you would like to unsubscribe, please send an email to graduiertenzentrum.philfak@hu-berlin.de

You can also use the mailing list to contact other doctoral candidates at Humboldt-Universität. Just send an email to graduiertenzentrum_philfak(at)lists.hu-berlin.de