Formal requirements and steps to complete your doctoral studies

The prerequisites for doctoral studies

To be admitted to doctoral studies, you will need to have successfully completed:

  • a master's programme at a German university,
  • a study programme at a university, a Pädagogische Hochschule (teacher training college) or art academy lasting at least four years
  • a graduate study programme at a university or Pädagogische Hochschule (teacher training institution)

Degrees earned during studies at a state, or state-accredited, institution of higher education in another country can be recognised. The acquired competencies cannot, however, differ significantly from those of the study programmes or degrees for which they serve as a substitute. The Doctoral Committee decides whether the degree can be recognised. Using the Fast Track process, you can receive early authorisation to begin your doctoral studies in some subjects. Additionally, highly qualified graduates from Diplom-degree study programmes at universities of applied sciences and Berufsakademien (cooperative state universities) can pursue a doctorate. Candidates have to complete a special aptitude testing process.

Please consult the doctoral regulations for specific doctoral studies requirements.

Advice and information on doctoral studies at the University of Konstanz.

Formal steps to complete doctoral studies

Pursuing a doctorate requires research-oriented study that will build or expand upon a previously completed degree programme. The aim is to make an independent contribution to research (dissertation) and to enhance your scientific reasoning abilities. Doctoral studies essentially consist of the independent completion of a dissertation and an oral examination. The oral examination is carried out either as a thesis defence (academic disputation of the dissertation) or as a doctoral viva (extended examination of the theses and/or speciality topics) or in a mixed form. The permissible type of examination is specified in the department-specific provisions. The doctorate is awarded when doctoral studies have been successfully completed and the dissertation has been published. The legal framework for doctoral studies at the University of Konstanz is provided by its doctoral regulations. Each relevant version of the doctoral regulations determines who, and under which criteria, will be accepted for doctoral studies at the University of Konstanz and how the doctoral study process is regulated.


Individuals who meet the admission requirements to the doctoral programme will also need both a research topic and a letter confirming supervision from a supervisor in order to be accepted. The doctoral applicant and his or her supervisor will document the intended topic, the type of supervision and the supervision conditions in a doctoral support agreement. Here you will find more information about supervision and a template for a doctoral support agreement.

Once the doctoral support agreement is signed, the applicant has to request admission as a doctoral student at the relevant department at the University of Konstanz. The application forms are available on the Central Examination Office website.


Doctoral students can enrol and thereby obtain student status. Enrolment is required for doctoral students who have been accepted to a doctoral programme or a doctoral studies training group at the University of Konstanz. Students will be enroled for the duration of the doctoral examination process, but not longer than five years.

Contact the Division of Student Affairs and Teaching to enrol. If you are a German applicant, please contact Sascha Rademacher (room D 416, phone: +49 7531 88 2486) for additional information about the application process. If you are an international applicant, please contact Ruth Bürger-Fiedler (room D 439, phone: +49 7531 88 2468).

Starting the examination process

After completing their dissertations, doctoral students file the application for beginning the doctoral examination process with the university’s Central Examination Office. Please see Edelgard Matzner (room C 401, phone +49 7531 88 3114) for application forms. The Central Examination Office provides all legal information and forms.