There are various options available to finance a doctoral degree and these range from
- Vacancies at a chair or a professorship (internal doctoral studies) from
- Appointments in structured programmes
- Appointments in programmes funded by external partners
- Part-time jobs or positions in companies all the way to
- Private funding through a student loan, by your parents, your partner or by yourself.
Aside from a scholarship, a vacancy at the establishment at which you will be writing your doctoral thesis is the most frequently used means to finance a doctorate. As a rule, you will have to apply for a such vacancy. Scholarships/fellowships are awarded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and other establishments as well as many foundations and organisations. Frequently, doctoral students take on several part-time jobs in order to be able to pursue their doctorate.
What is important in any type of financing is that enough time remains to work on the thesis. Whereas this is usually no problem with scholarships/fellowships, it becomes more difficult for doctoral students having to finance their studies by taking on a job at a chair, professorship or elsewhere. A suitable arrangement with the employer is always needed to successfully complete a doctorate in a reasonable period of time.
For further related information, please visit the funding programmes section.
Generally, a thesis can be written in the following styles:
|monographic study ('book')||publication-based (cumulative) thesis||joint thesis|
one author or, as the case may be, several authors
|one book||several articles||one book or several articles|
|comprises all parts||Sub-topics as articles, additional framing at the end||Depending on type|
|Sole responsibility||Sole responsibility or designation of the share contributed||Responsibility is carefully defined|
|Risks: length, duration, topicality||Risks: acceptance by journals, complexity of the procedure||Risk: complexity of the procedure|
Please note that your doctoral degree regulation may set forth further requirements or limitations. And last but not least, your supervisor will certainly have an opinion on the topic, too. He or she is familiar with the conventions and practices in the specific field of research.
In the case of a publication-based thesis, please contact the competent Board of Examiners for Doctoral Awards before your publish your thesis and/or parts of it. All in all, publication further down the road may be more difficult if parts of the doctoral thesis have already been published. Please make sure you talk to your supervisor before publishing your doctoral thesis or parts of it.
Also make sure you are up to speed about the obligation to mandatory publication and the printing subsidy.
The recognised principles of academic practice form the backbone of any research work. They include probity, working at the state of the art, documentation of results and consistently challenging the veracity of all the outcomes.
Quality assurance structures at the University of Passau
In accordance with the responsibility assigned to it under the law, which consists in organising research, teaching and supporting early career researchers, the University of Passau issued the Rules of the University for the Ascertainment of Good Academic Practice and for the Investigation of Alleged Academic Misconduct. These are compulsory for University of Passau members conducting research and part of the curriculum for early career researchers. For all questions regarding good scientific practice and in the event of suspected misconduct, please contact the Standing Committee for the Investigation of Alleged Academic Misconduct.
Ensuring good academic practice in your own research
The Graduate Centre offers regular courses on good academic practice. Use the e-learning tool 'Gute Wissenschaftliche Praxis in der Promotion' (Good academic practice in doctoral studies) developed by Goethe University Frankfurt to familiarise yourself with the topic.
The details are specified in the relevant doctoral degree regulations of the
- Faculty of Law
- Faculty of Business, Economics and Information Systems
- Faculty of Arts and Humanities
- Faculty of Computer Science and Mathematics
If you have any questions relating to the doctoral degree regulation and the actual structure of the doctorate, please contact the relevant Board of Examiners for Doctoral Awards and/or the relevant Dean's Office.
'In view of the current exceptional circumstances, the Higher Education Act Governing Fixed-term Employment Contracts for Academic Staff (Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz; WissZeitVG) will be supplemented by a temporary transitional arrangement: The maximum time-limit for the employment of academic and artistic staff currently undertaking qualification will be extended for as long as the pandemic-induced limitations affecting operation of the university and academic activities are in place. Employment contracts for qualification purposes signed between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 may be extended by an additional six months' (Source: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)).
The Higher Education Act Governing Fixed-term Employment Contracts for Academic Staff has been governing the time limits of temporary employment contracts for academic and artistic staff at state universities and research institutions since 2007. The Act's main feature is the twelve-year rule: each qualification phase (doctoral degree and habilitation) must not extend beyond six years, i.e. 6+6=12. After 12 years, employees should only be enlisted on a non-temporary basis or have been appointed to a professorship or chair.
However, this rule does not apply if you hold a position funded by an external partner. Despite that, the term of contract is generally counted in such cases. So, if you have been working in a project funded by an external partner for two years, then you have only four years left for your habilitation.
The Higher Education Act Governing Fixed-term Employment Contracts for Academic Staff has been amended to prevent early career researchers from being employed for short terms. This amendment has been in force since 17 March 2016.
Please check the websites of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German Research Foundation (DFG) for further information. Perhaps you also wish to familiarise yourself with the law itself and/or the Ministry's collection of cases. Should you have any questions, please contact the Human Resources Division.
In February 2020, the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW) made the results of the Nacaps study involving doctoral students and doctorate holders available online on a data portal. Go to nacaps-datenportal.de for an analysis of Germany's hitherto largest survey of doctoral students and doctorate holders with over 20,000 respondents. This portal provides an overview of the conditions, career prospects and general life situation of doctoral students and doctoral holders.
The results are presented as indicators on the portal. They have been divided into seven topic areas:
- Working and employment conditions
- Type and structure of doctorate
- Motives for pursuing a doctorate and length of doctorate
- Career path and perspectives after being awarded the doctoral degree
- Life situation and personal background
Nacaps is a longitudinal study of doctoral students and doctoral holders conducted by the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW) and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research since 2017. Based on annual online surveys, the study examines the conditions, career objectives and career paths as well as general life conditions of doctoral students and doctoral holders. Nacaps is conducted in cooperation with over 50 universities authorised to award doctorates. The University of Passau has also taken part in the survey.
As a signatory of the "Familie in der Hochschule" charter, the University of Passau is committed to a family-friendly profile: This extends to all areas of university life and covers not only leadership, but also study and working conditions, supervision, research and networking.
Check out the Family Service pages of our website for information, advice and lots of special offers to support you.
Please note: This website provides information in summary form. Only the pertinent legal texts and the official versions of the relevant regulations published in the law gazette are legally binding. The content of this website is not intended to be exhaustive.