Following are the two types of PhDs in Germany:
The traditional approach with Individual Doctorate
Under traditional approach, you need to identify a supervisor at a German university who is willing to guide for your research.
You get lots of flexibility in terms of no compulsory attendance, deadlines and curriculum. As you would largely be working independently, you are expected to work hard and demonstrate more personal initiative and responsibility.
In addition to conducting research work at a university, you could also complete a project at a non-university research organization or at a German company in the industrial sector.
The average length of this kind of PhD is 3 to 5 years.
*Structured Programs with Doctorate in a Team of Researchers
Under structural program,
- First, your research proposal have to fit within existing PhD programs, unlike Individual Doctorate, in which your PhD can be more freely structured to suit your research project.
- Second, you work as part of a group of doctoral students and all are guided by a group of supervisors.
There are over 700 programs of this nature available in Germany, often with an international make-up, with English as the team language.
The majority of doctoral candidates still complete a traditional doctorate. However, in recent years, a large number of students are choosing structured program, especially in the natural sciences and mathematics.
Is PhD in Germany for Free?
Almost! There is no tuition fee for PhD program in Germany.
However, you will be asked to pay small administrative fee in the range of €50 – €250, which is to cover service costs such as student governance and services, public transport etc. In addition, you will also have to take health insurance.
So your main cost for a PhD in Germany is you living expenses.
An average student in Germany needs about €820 (US$921) per month to cover living expenses, including rent, food, clothing, transportation, working materials, recreation and other costs.