Why Choose Germany for Your Ph.D. Abroad
Confused about the best place abroad to pursue a Ph.D.? Don’t be! We’ve got the perfect answer for you in the article.
Germany is an excellent option for pursuing a Ph.D. abroad. Each year, thousands of international students enroll for a Ph.D. program in Germany due to its central position in Europe and the incredible infrastructure for scientific research and development. When we talk about the countries focusing on innovation, Germany ranks on the top. The country is a home to popular research institutions, world-famous universities, and platforms for practical training. Moreover, there are numerous post-doctoral employment opportunities in the local industries.
The quality of doctoral studies and high-standards of the research infrastructure in Germany is worth mentioning. Once you begin your Ph.D. program, you will get an opportunity to take part in scientific research and explore your chosen field practically and theoretically.
To help you decide whether you should pick Germany as your go-to place for a doctoral program, we’ve put together a summary of facts about German Ph.D. program. Go through them in detail before you come up with a final decision!
The international stature
When it comes to science, education, research, and employment, Germany ranks well on top, and this is what makes it one of the most popular higher-education destinations for international students.
Germany has over 400 institutes for higher education, 1000 publicly funded scientific research and development institutions out of which 140 institutions provide doctoral programs. Also, there are over 500 research groups and networks for practical education. Germany’s focus on international students is shown by the fact that almost 38000 foreign academies offer lessons at various German institutes of higher education.
For doctoral study and research, Germany offers superior research infrastructure and education, a wide array of study programs and fields, resource-heavy research platforms, optional fields of study, and well-trained staff and supervisors.
If you plan to pursue your Ph.D. from Germany, you can choose your place of study from different institutions such as non-university institutions, university institutions, institutions governed by the state, and German companies. The international stature of Germany is further showcased by the fact that 5 German universities have been ranked among 199 best universities in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2018. Also, the QS World University Rankings has ranked 3 German universities among the top 100 world universities.
A wide range of study and research fields
If you are planning to pursue your Ph.D. from Germany, you can choose your field of study from a wide range of subjects such as:
- Aviation Technologies
- Automotive and Traffic Technology
- Information and Communications Technology
- Energy Technologies
- Health Research
- Natural Sciences
- Medical Sciences and Technologies
- Optical Technologies
- Space Technology
- Social Sciences
- A lot more
While choosing your field of study, remember that there are thousands of German companies out there looking for doctoral candidates. Make a list of companies that can help you with practical research related to your study field during your doctoral program and choose accordingly.
Educational and research institutions
When you pick an institution for your doctoral program, there are some things such as a variety of study fields, research infrastructure, and quality education that you often look at. Well, German institutions providing doctoral programs have all this intact. Whether you’re applying to a non-university institution or a government-funded institution, you can rest assured that the standard of education and research is high. However, each of the institutions has something unique to offer regarding the study fields. Each doctoral program in Germany features a triple-way-bridge for research, knowledge, and education.
While institutes around the world focus on basic research, knowledge-transfer, and policy creation, German institutes encourage linked research activities and high-standards of teaching. Moreover, these institutes are also considered as the chief national authorities for any scientific or industrial innovation related to the country.
The German industrial research is smartly designed to create a symbiotic relationship between the academia and the industry. German businesses are highly involved in research-based activities.
Tuition-fee free Ph.D
Yes, you’re read that correctly. You are not required to pay any tuition fee for your doctoral studies in Germany. All forms of higher-education studies in Germany do not involve any tuition fee. You only need to pay a semester fee which is at the most €250 per semester. Cultural events, social events, and all administrative costs are covered in the semester fee.
Lucrative funding opportunities
As an international student looking to pursue a Ph.D. from Germany, you must be aware of the fact that even though you are not required to pay a tuition fee, you must have a sum of €8000 to your name for getting the visa. It has been estimated that the cost of living of an international student in Germany is €820 per month. This includes cost of living, food, traveling, etc.
However, don’t get hassled if you’re short on funds. Germany has numerous funding opportunities for supporting the costs of foreign doctoral students studying in Germany. There is a long list of German programs and organizations that support foreign doctoral and research student financially. Two popular funding sources are – the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Research Foundation (DFG). There are also other funding groups that provide financial aid to junior researchers, senior researchers and individual researchers. These include:
- The Helmholtz Association
- The Max Planck Society
- The Leibniz Association
- Fraunhofer Gesellschaft
- The European Union
- Robert Bosch Stiftung
- Academies of Sciences and Humanities
- The Volkswagen Foundation
- The German Foundation of Peace Research
- The Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt
- The Klaus Tschira Stiftung
- The Bertelsmann Stiftung
- The Federal Government
- The State Government
- German Federations of Industrial Research Associations
Different types of doctoral programs
Another fact in the list – international students can choose between two types of doctoral programs available in Germany – individual doctorate or structured doctorate. In case of the individual doctorate program, you can select your mentor and conduct your research activities based on your requirement. Whereas, in the case of the structured doctorate, you, along with a group of researchers will be mentored by a team of supervisors under a strict curriculum. You can choose the one that best suits your requirement and apply to universities accordingly. No matter which program you pick, you’ll imbibe additional skills, be invited to seminars, and take part in cultural activities.
World-class research infrastructure
As an international student pursuing Ph.D. from Germany, you’ll get a chance to work in a highly developed, world-best research environment supported by a 15 million Euros investment. Superior-quality instruments, resources, and exceptional service research facilities – you’ll get access to all of this. The research infrastructure which is a home to numerous researchers, scientists, and doctoral students, has been set-up to provide a suitable environment for training and teaching.
Here’s a list of field-specific research infrastructures that are emerging:
- CESSDA (the Council of European Social Science Data Archives)
- DARIAH (Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities)
- BERLinPro*(Berlin Energy Recovery Linac Project)
- ECRIN (European Clinical Research Infrastructures Network)
- ESSsocial (Survey on Society and Democracy in Europe)
- E-ELT (European Extremely Large Telescope)
- ELI (the Extreme Light Infrastructure)
- ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System)
- FLASH II* (Free-Electron Lasers in Hamburg)
- FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research)
- GCS (Gauss Centre for Supercomputing)
- New research vessel Polarstern, Poseidon, Sonne
- IPL (In vivo pathophysiology laboratory)
- Infrafrontier (systematic phenotyping, archiving and distributing mouse models)
- High-performance climate computer HLRE 3
- SOEP (Socio-Economic panel)
- SHARE (Survey of health, ageing and retirement in Europe)
- W7-X* (the Wendelstein 7-X Stellarator)
- XFEL (European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility GmnH)
- The National Cohort (nationwide, long-term epidemiological stury)
Some research infrastructures that are in their pilot phase are:
- EU-OPENSCREEN (Open screening platforms for chemical biology)
- IAGOS (In-Service Aircraft for Global Observing System)
- CTA (Cherenkov Telescope Array)
Your doctoral study autonomy
The German education system allows you to practice your autonomy on your doctoral program and research schedule. Moreover, if you choose the individual doctorate, you’ll get more independence than ever. You’ll be able to perform research based on your schedule and get in touch with your mentor as and when required. However, punctuality is the key here. Even though you’re your own master, you need to be punctual, committed, and responsible. As a doctoral student, you’ll also get an opportunity to work in a research institute or a local German company related to your study field.
Employment prospects to fund your doctoral program
Another way to fund your doctoral studies is getting employed. There are excellent opportunities, especially for students pursuing an individual doctorate course. Also, there are various funding organizations and programs that provide contractual employment for doctoral students.
You can also apply for jobs outside your university or research-based jobs in Germany. You can take the help of job portals listed here to find appropriate job openings:
- Make it in Germany portal
- Weekly “Die Zeit” job portal
- Bund.de by the Federal Government
- Ph.D. Germany Database
Germany – a great place to live
You wouldn’t want to move to a place which does not match your standard of living, right? That’s where Germany is a deal cracker. The standard of living in Germany is high and suitable for international doctoral candidates. After all, Germany is the largest economy in the world and one of the highly industrialized nations globally.
The weather conditions are suitable for everyone. The economy is booming, and the country has numerous opportunities for international doctoral students like you. Germany is a labor market intensive nation with a plethora of employment opportunities for highly qualified doctoral students. You can even extend your residency permit by a year to seek a job after your Ph.D. degree is complete.
Migrants are considered an asset to Germany’s economic backing, cultural diversity, and social well-being. The economic and social stability of the country makes it an ideal place to live. The security network is compelling, and the laws guarding human rights are stringent. The healthcare and education system is well-developed.
In Germany, you’ll not find yourself lost in a crowd of strangers. The country has a rich culture, filled with friendly residents, vibrant festivals, operas, movie screenings and a lot more.
So, what do you think?
Now that you know a variety of facts related to pursuing a doctoral degree from Germany, you can sit back and decide if Germany can be your place to pursue a Ph.D. Think about the study field you want to pick and apply for admission to a university or non-university institute of your choice. Act on time so that you do not miss any deadlines. If you have friends or family members who are studying in Germany, contact them and ask for their feedback on the education system and standard of living in Germany. Reviews from people you know matter a lot.
We’ve told you about the international stature of Germany, free tuition fee, the variety of study fields for Ph.D., a wide range of educational institutions, individual and structured doctorate programs, funding opportunities, research infrastructure, job opportunities, the standard of living, etc. If you still have something that you want us to write about or questions that are bothering you, do let us know. We’ll be more than happy to help you.