The potential routes to earning a doctorate are as varied as the funding options available for doctoral researchers. A distinction is made between three basic solutions: admission to a structured doctoral programme at Leipzig University, employment, and scholarships. We present these three options here in more detail.

enlarge the image: Ob Anstellung, strukturiertes Promotionsprogramm oder Stipendium: Wir unterstützen Sie auf Ihrem Weg zur Promotion. Foto: Swen Reichhold
From employment to structured doctoral programmes and scholarships: we can support you on your pathway to a doctorate. Photo: Swen Reichhold

Find a Job to Finance Your Doctorate

Doctoral candidates can be employed at Leipzig University or at other institutions. Employment is possible either in connection with the doctoral project or independently of it. In most cases, you will be employed as a graduate assistant (the German abbreviation is WHK) or as a research assistant. It is important to note the differences in pay structure between these two types of employment. Unlike scholarships, employment is a means of accumulating social security entitlements. However, if a person is employed in connection with their own qualification, then certain rules apply to fixed-term employment under the German Act on Fixed-Term Employment Contracts in Academia (WissZeitVG).

Finance a Doctorate with a Structured Doctoral Programme

Doctoral programmes offer doctoral researchers positions or scholarships to begin a structured doctorate. Applications are made directly to the individual programmes, which decide on the application and admission procedures. 


enlarge the image: In strukturierten Promotionsprogrammen forschen die Promovierenden interdisziplinär wie hier beim Seminar für Junge Wissenschaft und Praxis. Foto: Swen Reichhold
In structured doctoral programmes, doctoral candidates conduct interdisciplinary research and meet regularly – such as at this seminar for early career researchers. Photo: Swen Reichhold

Find a Doctoral Scholarship

Leipzig University, the Free State of Saxony and numerous organisations for the promotion of young talent all award scholarships to doctoral researchers. Most applicants need to demonstrate an above-average degree and pass a formal selection process. This usually begins with a project outline, which is often reviewed by two professors. The application procedure takes at least six months.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and many foundations offer doctoral scholarships. You can find 13 German organisations for the promotion of young talent that present their scholarships on the website Stipendiumplus.

The following scholarships are awarded by Leipzig University and the Free State of Saxony:

Leipzig University awards re-entry scholarships to researchers who wish to complete their doctorate after suspending their academic activities for family reasons.

Read more about re-entry scholarships

The Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) offers financial support for projects involving “Intellectual and Cultural Change in Central and Eastern Europe”. The programme is intended to support doctoral candidates who have the potential to be the leaders of tomorrow. It is aimed primarily at disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, economics and law. Funding can be granted for a period of three years. Please refer to the Sylff programme page for more details and information on how to apply.

Learn more

The Free State of Saxony offers supports for doctoral researchers with above-average qualifications. Applications should be submitted to the Department for Grants at the Studentenwerk Leipzig. Scholarships are awarded annually. The application deadline is 30 July each year.

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