Getting a doctorate (Dr.phil.): information about the necessary procedures

For deadlines for the submission of applications to the Promotionsausschuss (faculty committee for post-graduate degrees), click here.

The Faculty of Modern Languages (Fachbereich 10, Neuere Philologien) offers opportunities to obtain a doctorate in the following subject areas:

  • General Linguistics
  • American Studies
  • English Studies
  • German Studies
  • Romance Studies (French, Spanish, Italian)
  • Scandinavian Studies
  • Drama, Film and Media Studies
  • Literary Theory and Comparative Literature

To apply for a research programme leading to a doctorate you must satisfy the University's general entry requirements. For general information please seek advice at the International Office. You can find instructions for Doctoral studies step by step there as well. For details, see the Promotionsordnung (regulations governing postgraduate [doctoral] studies), which is also available in English. If your degree was obtained at a university outside Germany, the Dean's Office will need to be satisfied, prior to your submission of an application, that you fulfil the formal entry requirements.

Please do not contact the Dean or Dean's Office before you have formed a clear idea of the subject area in which you wish to obtain a doctorate. If you need advice on subject-related matters, get in touch with academic staff or a potential supervisor in the relevant department.

Your first step will be to find a supervisor for your doctoral thesis and to discuss with him or her your research project and the specific subject area to which it relates. Draw up a work schedule. Next, submit to the Dean of the Faculty an application for admission as a postgraduate (doctoral) student (Mrs. Sabine Schramm, room 2.352). For this application (Antrag auf Annahme als Doktorand/in), three things are essential:

  • Application form, signed by the supervisor (see Downloads)
  • Project outline: description of the research to be undertaken (10-15 pages) – this description should cover the following items: background to the project, object of the research, candidate's previous work on the subject (if any), methodology, objectives, work schedule and bibliography (primary and secondary sources). The supervisor will confirm with his or her signature on the application form that they have knowledge of the project outline.
  • Authenticated copy of a university degree certificate (M.A., Diplom, etc.). This copy can be authenticated by the Dean's Office if the original is produced.
  • Applicants whose previous degree was not obtained from a German university are requested to contact the Dean's Office for further details.

Your application will be considered by the Promotionsausschuss (faculty committee for post-graduate degrees) at its next meeting. The committee normally convenes twice during term time (see Dates). The project outline should enable the supervisor and/or the committee to assess whether the project is feasible and likely to succeed.

When your application has been approved, you can enrol at the Students Registry Office (Studierendensekretariat) as a doctoral student. As a rule, applicants are required to have been enrolled at Frankfurt University for two semesters prior to the completion of their doctoral studies. The Dean strongly recommends doctoral students to enrol.

Once you have completed your doctoral thesis, you have to apply for the opening of the academic procedure leading to the conferral of a doctorate (Eröffnung des Prüfungsverfahrens). This application consists of:

  • Opening of the academic procedure (2 copies, see Downloads)
  • Curriculum vitae (2 copies)
  • Certificate of first university degree (2 copies - copies can be authenticated by the Dean's Office if the original is produced)
  • Certificate of completed secondary school education (Abitur or comparable) (2 copies), certificate of language proficiency if necessary (copies can be authenticated by the Dean's Office if the original is produced)
  • Affidavits (Explanation opening, see Downloads) (2 copies)
  • List of publications, where applicable (2 copies)
  • Doctoral thesis (6 copies) with title page attached at the front, CV (with original signature), list of publications (if applicable) and affidavits (with original signature), all attached at the back
  • Digital version of thesis (1 CD)

Reviewers have to hand in their assessments within three months of the submission of the thesis. Thesis and assessments must be accessible to the public in the Dean's Office for at least two weeks before a date for the examination can be fixed.

For more information, including funding offered by the University, see