Are you interested in pursuing a doctorate at our university? We offer our doctoral candidates research-oriented and internationally recognised postgraduate qualifications in an excellent scientific environment.

First-Class Doctoral Training

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Do your doctorate in our professional research environment! Photo: Christian Hüller

Our university offers excellent conditions for doctoral success:

  • Research-oriented, internationally recognised doctoral training
    Leipzig offers a research-oriented education that is internationally recognised. We have a variety of interdisciplinary research areas. In this way, you benefit from state-of-the-art teaching facilities in a dynamic environment.
  • Broad research spectrum
    We are a comprehensive university that covers a broad research spectrum. The advantage for you? At Leipzig, you can pursue a doctorate in all subject areas.
  • Excellent research environment
    Leipzig is home to an abundance of research institutions, offering you an unbeatable research environment. The 20 or so institutions include three Max Planck, two Fraunhofer and three Leibniz Institutes.

  • Unique urban culture
    Here you not only enjoy a teaching and research environment at the highest level, but at the same time live in a beautiful, vibrant city. Leipzig will surprise you with its exciting cultural scene, affordable housing and trendy districts. Your future campus is centrally located and easily accessible from anywhere in the city.

Pathways to a Doctorate

You work on your doctorate independently at a faculty and usually choose your subject yourself. You are supervised by a professor, producing your dissertation under the guidance of this so-called Doktormutter or Doktorvater. This allows you to freely organise the duration of your dissertation and gives you flexible options if you wish to change your focus or topic while you are working on it.

In a structured doctoral programme, you write your dissertation within a fixed curriculum in which the duration of your doctorate is clearly defined. You earn your doctorate within a Graduate Centre, receiving supervision from several professors. From the outset, you are in close contact with other doctoral researchers and supervisors, with whom you work on joint research projects.

Applying for a Doctorate

Before you apply, please find out whether your subject would match our university’s research profile.

Individual Doctorates

If you wish to pursue an individual doctorate, then you will need a supervision agreement. This means that you must first find a professor who will accept your topic or propose a topic for you and supervise you during your doctorate. Please check the websites of the respective institutes and gain an overview of our professors’ research fields. As soon as you have found a suitable supervisor for your topic, please contact them by email or pay them a visit during their office hours. If the professor accepts your proposal, you will receive written confirmation. You can then use this supervisor agreement to apply for an individual doctorate.

Structured Doctoral Programmes

There are different application requirements for our structured doctoral programmes. Find information about current doctoral positions and the respective requirements on our website.

You cannot apply for an individual doctorate until you have received supervision agreement from the supervising professor.

1. Apply online via AlmaWeb

You apply online using our AlmaWeb study portal and then submit your documents to the International Centre.

Your application must include full evidence of your prior secondary and university education. Please submit the following documents for your application:

  • dated and signed application form (via AlmaWeb)
  • written confirmation from your supervisor (supervision agreement)
  • CV
  • secondary school leaving certificate (certified copy)
  • evidence of university entrance examination (certified copy), if applicable
  • evidence of all university degrees (certified copies), e.g. bachelor’s, master’s, Diplom)
  • Transcripts of Records from all secondary and university qualifications (certified copies)
  • evidence of your knowledge of German at DSH-2 level, if the doctorate will be in German (certified copy)
  • evidence of your knowledge of English, if the doctorate will be in English
  • confirmation of admission to a faculty’s list of doctoral candidates, if already available (confirmation can otherwise be submitted within one semester).

Please post all of your documents to:

Leipzig University
International Centre
Ms Stefanie Kölling
Goethestraße 3–5
04109 Leipzig

Please note the guidelines on official certifications and translations.

2. Examination of requirements and admission

After we have received your application documents, we will check your formal requirements. One of these is the equivalence of your university degree. Due to the high number of applications we receive, this examination may take up to three months. We examine applications in accordance with the regulations of the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB).

  • If you meet the formal requirements, you will receive your letter of admission via the AlmaWeb study portal.
  • In the event that your university degree is not sufficiently equivalent, we can issue a conditional letter of admission. This means that you can submit missing documents later.
  • Fill in the declaration of acceptance on the last page of your letter of admission. Send the declaration of acceptance as a PDF file to the email address provided by the specified deadline. You usually have two weeks to do this.
  • As soon as we have received and processed your declaration of acceptance, you will see that the status of your application on AlmaWeb has changed. You will then receive details of how to enrol.

3. Enrolment

Make sure you enrol as soon as you have received your letter of admission. This will let you take full advantage of your student status (e.g. semester ticket, halls of residence, discounts, use of the refectories). You are subject to the same organisational rules as regular students. You can enrol during the International Centre’s dedicated office hours for international students. Please bring the following documents with you when enrolling:

  • letter of admission from our university
  • passport with valid student visa, if necessary
  • two recent passport photos
  • current proof of health insurance valid in Germany. Travel health insurance is not sufficient.

4. Registering your doctorate at the faculty

Apply within the first semester to be added to your faculty’s list of doctoral candidates. Your supervisor can assist you. Having a place on the faculty’s list of doctoral candidates is proof of your status as a doctoral candidate for the period of your doctorate.

If you can demonstrate that you have already been added to the list of doctoral candidates when applying, then you are welcome to submit this confirmation together with your application documents.


Scholarships of the German Academic Exchange Service

A scholarship is one way of ensuring your financial security during your time as a doctoral candidate. To apply for a scholarship, please contact the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) directly. There are many different ways to obtain a scholarship through the DAAD.

Scholarships from Leipzig University

Our university also awards doctoral scholarships:

Organising your stay

Learn more

Once you’re in Leipzig

Learn more

Doctorates and Free Movers

Would you like to complete part of your doctorate research here even though there is no exchange agreement between your home institution and Leipzig University? No problem! You can spend one to two semesters at our university as a so-called “free mover”. Please clarify whether the faculty is able to accept you as a free mover and then have the consent form filled in by the supervising professor.

Please note that as a free mover you are required to submit an application for admission as a free mover on a doctoral programme.

Admission as a free mover

You can apply to be admitted as a free mover at any time via AlmaWeb:

  • Use AlmaWeb to apply for the respective doctoral programme.
  • Print the application form and sign it.
    The application form lists all the necessary documents.
  • Submit the application form, together with the application for admission as a free mover (doctoral candidates) as well as all of your application documents, to the International Centre:

    Leipzig University
    International Centre
    Ms Stefanie Kölling
    Goethestraße 3–5
    04109 Leipzig

The International Centre will check the formal requirements of your application. If you meet these requirements, we will generate a letter of admission as soon as possible, which you will find under “Documents” in your AlmaWeb account.

Making a Success of Your Doctorate

We want your doctorate to be a success. This is why we are here to assist you in organising your doctorate and your stay in Leipzig. Contact the International Doctoral Candidate Initiative. What’s more, should you ever have doubts during your doctorate, then you are welcome to arrange a personal consultation!

Do you want to meet fellow doctoral candidates away from the lecture theatre and library?
The International Doctoral Candidate Initiative is the perfect opportunity to do just that. The team consists of international doctoral researchers and has been organising regular cultural and social events since 2005. The initiative aims to provide international doctoral candidates with comprehensive support during their time with us and to offer them a platform for shared experiences.

Get in touch!



At the beginning or during the course of your doctorate, it is quite normal to ask yourself questions like:

  • Is my dissertation topic still suitable?
  • Was a doctorate the right decision?
  • Why am I not making any progress with my doctorate?
  • How can I get motivated again?
  • What professional area do I want to work in later on?

Personal Consultation

Sometimes it can be difficult to talk about the doubts you’re having about your doctorate, about feeling dissatisfied or overwhelmed, or if you’re considering dropping out. If you would like to speak to someone neutral about your plans for the future and potential alternatives, then please do come and see us. Together we can work on solutions based on your individual needs such as:

  • Language problems
  • Money worries
  • Problems with studying and motivation
  • Pressure, stress and feeling overwhelmed during your doctorate
  • Feelings of isolation during your doctorate
  • Alternatives to a doctorate, developing new plans for the future.

Please do not hesitate to contact us via email.

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