As a comprehensive university with a world-class research profile, we offer the ideal environment for a successful doctorate. The faculties’ own doctoral regulations set out the requirements for approving a doctorate. Approvals should always be based on the thematic orientation and prior consultation with the supervising professors.

Foto einer Promovierenden der Universität Leipzig anlässlich des Pre-Doc-Awards 2018 (aufgenommen von Christian Hüller)
Doctoral researcher Dilara Issayeva presenting her project as part of the Pre-Doc Award 2018. Photo: Christian Hüller

Academic Discipline

Doctorates can be taken in all subjects offered at Leipzig University. With the specific aim of promoting research and junior academics, we have established three Graduate Centres which cover the University’s research profile areas. The Graduate Centres feature so-called programme classes, which offer structured doctoral programmes. The Research Academy Leipzig coordinates the Graduate Centres and assists doctoral researchers and professors alike. One of our Central Institutions, it is designed to promote young academics at Leipzig University.

Student Status

Doctoral researchers who are conducting research in structured programmes or in an individual project can register as doctoral students via the Student Office or the International Centre, thus obtaining student status. Enrolling as a doctoral student entitles you to special student benefits. However, doctoral candidates with a scholarship but no employment contract are not entitled to student health insurance with the statutory health insurance providers, and must take out what’s referred to as voluntary insurance.

Pathways to a Doctorate

Doctoral projects can be carried out with a scholarship, as part of paid (academic) work, if you are awarded a dedicated position for doctoral candidates, or externally.

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Binational Doctorates

At Leipzig University it is possible to pursue a binational doctorate: this means you work conduct your research at two universities in different countries, ultimately receiving a doctorate awarded jointly by the two institutions.

Graduates who hold a binational doctorate significantly improve their career opportunities. They have qualifications that are recognised in two countries. But the benefits also include linguistic and intercultural skills as well as knowledge of different academic structures and higher education systems.

Doctoral candidates are supervised by at least one professor from each university. The formalities of each binational doctorate are regulated by the two universities in a joint agreement, on the basis of which it is possible to apply for a mobility grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) or, if applicable, the Franco-German University.

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Structured Doctoral Programmes

Structured doctoral programmes are subject to the study regulations of the individual faculties geregelt. Applications for admission to structured doctoral programmes are submitted to the Graduate Commission on 26 February and 30 August. Admission is conditional on an above-average degree in the relevant academic discipline.

Being enrolled on a structured doctoral programme entitles you to apply for a scholarship under the state postgraduate funding scheme. Applications may be submitted simultaneously. The Graduate Commission decides on the award of scholarships. It is customary to take on a tutorial after the first year of study on a structured doctoral programme.

Graduate Centres

Leipzig University’s Graduate Centre for Mathematics / Computer Science and Natural Sciences consists of structured doctoral programmes which are anchored at the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, the Faculty of Physics and Earth Sciences, the Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy, and the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences (MPI MIS).

Within these doctoral programs, there are numerous collaborations with Leipzig research institutions, including the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, the Leibniz Institute of Surface Engineering (IOM), the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS) and the Institute of Non-Classical Chemistry (INC).

Much of the interdisciplinary research in mathematics, theoretical physics, and computer science focuses on structural questions that arise from physical and biological problems. Interdisciplinary research in physics and chemistry includes nano- and micro-dimensional semiconductors and the development of new materials.  The Graduate Centre also focuses on polymer research, theoretical computer science methods in the field of quantitative logics and automata, and the effects of aerosols and clouds on the earth’s climate system.

There are currently around 200 doctoral researchers enrolled at the Graduate Centre Mathematics / Computer Science and Natural Sciences.  Approximately 100 professors and junior professors are involved in the supervision and training of programme participants. Subject-specific training is provided in the individual classes. In addition, there is a general, overarching programme offering supplementary qualifications (such as language courses and key qualifications courses) which aims to promote interdisciplinary exchange.

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Leipzig University’s Graduate Centre for Life Sciences brings together all structured doctoral programs whose scientific research directions deal with the structures and behaviour of living organisms. The projects, most of which are highly interdisciplinary in nature, are organised by the Faculties of Medicine, Life Sciences and Veterinary Medicine. Collaboration also takes place with other subject areas.

As part of these doctoral programs, there are numerous partnerships with non-university research institutions in Leipzig. Partners of the Graduate Centre include the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv). The programmes’ fields of research cover a broad range of subjects, addressing issues that often involve several individual disciplines.  They span areas such as cognition research, protein science, obesity research, neuroscience, evolutionary research as well as environmental and biodiversity research. 

Currently, around 300 doctoral researchers are members of programmes run under the auspices of the Graduate Centre for Life Sciences. Subject-specific training is provided in the individual classes. In addition, the Graduate Centre organises a general, overarching programme offering supplementary qualifications (such as language courses and key qualifications courses) which aims to promote interdisciplinary exchange.

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Leipzig University’s Graduate Centre for the Humanities and Social Sciences assembles the structured doctoral programmes of the humanities, social sciences, economics and regional studies. Part of the Graduate Centre is a regional doctoral programme sponsored by economists from Dresden, Halle and Leipzig. The Graduate School Global and Area Studies, which includes a Research Training Group integrated into the Collaborative Research Centre 1199 as well as several international doctoral programmes, also belongs to the Graduate Centre. 

The Graduate Centre’s academic programmes focus on global and transnational networks, as well as investigating the spatialisation of social action and the resulting cultural, political, and economic processes of interdependence, mutual influence, and border transgression. One particular strength is the Graduate Centre’s wide-ranging competence in regional sciences, which brings together expertise on all regions of the world. 

Specialists from a variety of disciplines supervise the doctoral projects in the individual classes. The Graduate Centre also attaches great importance to interdisciplinary exchange, including at its annual summer school. The curriculum of the classes is always geared towards relevant research foci. At the same time, all classes aim at imparting interdisciplinary soft skills. 

At present, more than 200 doctoral candidates are conducting research at the Graduate Centre for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Support is available from more than 50 professors and junior professors from six of the University’s faculties and several non-university research institutions.

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Further Information

The Research Academy Leipzig qualifies, informs and connects doctoral candidates. One of our Central Institutions, it is designed to promote young academics at Leipzig University. The structured doctoral programmes are distributed among its three Graduate Centres.

Leipzig’s Faculty of Medicine has its own research and support programmes for doctoral candidates. Please refer to the faculty’s own information about special requirements and conditions.

The Competence School at the Research Academy Leipzig coordinates the interdisciplinary qualification of doctoral candidates. It offers an extensive range of courses and events, allowing researchers to acquire various key qualifications.

Female junior researchers at Leipzig University can apply for special assistance. The Equal Opportunities Office organises a mentoring programme which puts female doctoral candidates in touch with professors.

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