You can earn a doctorate after successfully completing a university degree (e.g. master's, Magister, Diplom, Staatsexamen). Special conditions apply, which are specified in the doctoral regulations, for applicants with a degree from a university of applied sciences, a first state examination for a teaching degree for primary schools, special-needs schools or secondary schools, or for those with a bachelor's degree.  

For all formal questions, the first point of contact is always the relevant dean's office or doctoral studies office of the related faculty. It is also recommended that you consult with the responsible academic advisor. The doctorate is awarded upon successful completion of the doctoral program.  

The prerequisite for enrollment is the certificate of acceptance as a doctoral candidate from the doctoral committee of the faculty.

Please note: 
On the GRADE webpages, you will find a clear 3-step guide on how best to proceed in your search for a doctoral thesis.

For a doctorate in a humanities or social-science field, contact the examination office for humanities, cultural and sport sciences; for a doctorate in a field of the natural sciences, contact the doctoral studies office for the natural sciences; and for a doctorate in a medical field, contact the doctoral studies office of the faculty of medicine. Further information on the doctoral procedure can be obtained from the doctoral committee of the respective faculty.

Supporting documents: 
For doctoral studies, acceptance as a doctoral candidate must be submitted at the time of enrollment by the doctoral committee of the relevant faculty. 


The application is a two-step process. Please register first as a doctoral student via the Goethe-Campus portal and submit the required documents to the relevant dean's office or doctoral studies office. Upon successful acceptance as a doctoral student, you will receive an acceptance letter. If you would also like to enroll as a doctoral student, please submit once again an electronic application for doctoral studies via the Goethe-Campus portal. You should then submit the documents required for enrollment. Enrollment as a student is not always mandatory.

Exception: Medical students in Faculty 16 first go through a separate application procedure and only then register electronically as doctoral students via the Goethe-Campus portal. You can find more information on the Faculty 16 website.

Note for prospective international students

If you prefer to write your dissertation in a language other than German, you must apply to the relevant faculty. The doctoral committee will then indicate on the doctoral acceptance letter which language you will be working in. You may then enroll as a doctoral student without DSH.

Application and enrollment for international doctoral students

You can enroll as a doctoral student if you already have an official "acceptance as a doctoral student" (Anahme als Doktorand*in). The Enrollment is not mandatory. Those candidates working in German must present a certified DSH-2 certificate (or equivalent) upon enrollment (see German language skills).

Enrollment deadlines:
Summer semester: April 30
Winter semester: October 31

Enrollment is a two-step process:

1. Submission and review of documents by the “Studium Lehre Internationales” department (if not yet done). 

Please send the originals of the following documents as a PDF by e-mail to:

  • all transcripts with overview of subjects and grades entitling you to pursue a doctorate 
  • translations of the transcripts by a sworn translator (this is not necessary if the originals are in English)
  • notification of acceptance as a doctoral student
  • proof of language skills (if required)

Please note: If your transcripts have already been reviewed by the "Studium Lehre Internationales" department for doctoral studies via the respective faculty, you do not need to resubmit your transcripts. In this case, please follow only the second step.

2. Enrollment via online form 

Enrollment takes place via the online form for enrollment in a doctoral studies program

You will require the following documents:

  • notification of acceptance as a doctoral student
  • signed application for enrollment
  • proof of language skills (if required)
  • copy of passport/identity card
  • curriculum vitae (if applicable)

Please send these documents by e-mail after completing the online enrollment process:

Alternatively, you can send your documents by regular mail:
Studium Lehre Internationales
First-Level Support
60629 Frankfurt am Main


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