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Pursuing a doctorate at Bremen University


The most common form of doing a PhD at the University of Bremen is an individual doctorate. There is no university-wide application system for procspective doctoral candidates. Professors select individually who they supervise as PhD researchers. Therefore, the first step is to find a supervisor. To search for a potential supervisor for your doctorate, please refer to the forex navigator of the University of Bremen or directly to the websites of the twelve faculties. If you contact a prospective supervisor directly, make sure to compose a convincing application with all your important documents. Alternatively you can browse the open positions at the University to find a suitable opening.

Apart from an individual doctorate, the University of Bremen offers doctoral programs in many academic disciplines. These programs provide young researchers with opportunities for independent research combined with intensive expert counseling, customized training, and innovative forms of supervision. Positions in these programs are typically advertised as open positions. Bremen University does not offer a university-wide application system for PhD programs.

For further information and resources for doctoral candidates and supervisors, visit our page on good doctoral supervision.


The funding of your PhD project over the course of the doctoral project should be clear from the beginning. We encourage you to discuss funding options with your supervisor if you are not employed by the University.

The majority of doctoral researchers of the University of Bremen are employed as research assistants. Usually, research assistants are allocated time for scientific qualification as part of their contracts. Current vacancies can be found here. Many of the scientific staff members of the institutes of the U Bremen Research Alliance also pursue a doctorate at the University of Bremen.

If you are looking for scholarship programs, this DAAD database might be a good starting point as the University does not offer scholarships. More options can be found in the Euraxess database. There is also a scholarship database (in German) offered by the German government. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports 13 organizations for the promotion of young talents (Begabtenförderwerke) that fund PhD candidates.

It is also possible to fund your PhD through a job outside of university as an external PhD candidate.

If your funding is not secure, feel free to contact us for a consultation. We can also provide you with information about completion funds if your funding runs out before you finish your PhD.


Administrative Matters

The formal start of your doctorate is the acceptance by the doctoral commission of the faculty. All documents required are stated in the doctoral regulation (“Promotionsordnung”) of the respective faculty. The most important prerequisite is a higher education qualification that is officially recognized in Germany. You also need to have a supervisor who is willing to supervise your project.

The doctoral regulations of the University of Bremen also allow bi-national doctoral degrees (cotutelle) in cooperation with a foreign university. Detailed information about the procedure is available here.

While the acceptance by the doctoral committee is obligatory, the following enrollment as a PhD student (“Immatrikulation”) is non-compulsory. If you have not yet been accepted by the doctoral commission, enrollment is initially possible for two terms (one year). Enrolling as a doctoral candidate is necessary to take advantage of the social benefits available to enrolled students and to use university facilities and equipment. Enrollment is possible at any time, also in the middle of the semester. The university charges a contribution per semester; see here for current fees. Often, the decision is a financial one, and many PhD candidates decide against enrollment. For further information and for the enrollment procedure please refer to the Student Office (SfS).


Information for international doctoral researchers and their supervisors

General Information about the German Doctorate

The “Research in Germany” portal is the central information platform about the German doctorate initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

It provides helpful general information about the paths to a doctorate in Germany and gives you an overview of the German research landscape and funding system. It also offers ideas on how to plan one's career in academia and beyond.

Bremen Early Career Researcher Development

BYRD is the support center for early-career researchers at the University of Bremen. We are the central contact point for doctoral candidates, postdocs as well as advanced researchers for further training, networking, information and consulting.

Teilnehmer vor einer Pinnwand während eines Workshops

Welcome Center

The Welcome Center of U Bremen Research Alliance supports international researchers and their families before and during their stay in Bremen, regardless of the duration of their stay or how the stay is financed. As a central service point, it assists all newcoming researchers in non-academic matters to help organize their life in Bremen and make it as enjoyable and uncomplicated as possible. Whether you are here for a month or have been appointed to a permanent post, our services are available to you. Through a broad network of internal and external partners, the Welcome Centre provides a range of administrative and social services.

Updated by: BYRD