The prerequisites for doctoral studies are clearly outlined in the applicable doctoral degree regulations and will be checked again in the application form. Please provide the following information and documentary evidence:
As a first requirement for doctoral studies, you must prove that you have earned a university degree in the corresponding academic discipline. Recognized degrees include the Diplom, the master's degree, the Magister as well as the state examination. Your degree must be graded equivalently to an A or B of the ETCS grading scale. If no ECTS has been indicated on the degree certificate, you must have earned a degree with distinction. In case of the state law examination, the Doctoral Committee may allow exceptions. A continuing education master's degree will be recognized only if you can demonstrate that you have received a total of 300 ECTS credit points, including the credit points earned in your first degree program, e.g. your bachelor's degree program.
Which field of study is considered relevant? To put it simply, you cannot earn a doctorate degree in economics if your university degree has been earned in biology. Interdisciplinary doctoral projects are of course always possible. Please first talk to your advisor about your plans and clarify this question, so as to avoid any unpleasant surprises during the application process. The final decision on whether or not a previous degree is considered academically appropriate will be made by the relevant doctoral committee. Please note that neither the Graduate School nor the student counseling service are in a position to make such decisions.
Proof of academic performance achieved in previous degree program
For a successfull application you must prove that in the previous degree program you have received 15 ECTS credit points in either of the following fields: scientific theory, scientific practice/ethics, or scientific methods. These courses demonstrate your academic qualification. They also show that you have acquired the relevant academic skills required for your doctoral project and that you are able to successfully complete a PhD.
For example, proof of academic performance in the following areas will be accepted: statistics, laboratory experiments, academic theory related to your discipline. You need not have earned 5 credit points in each of the above-mentioned modules. Instead, you can also have earned 15 credit points in research methods or, alternatively, 10 credit points in scientific theory and another 5 credit points in scientific ethics.
- Examples for accepted credits [PDF, 49 KB ]
Making up for these prerequisite courses is possible until the end of the third semester of your doctoral studies, e.g. as an auditor in our master's programs. In this case, you are admitted as a doctoral student on the proviso that you do make up for the pre-requisites.
English language skills (not required for doctoral projects at the Faculties of Education and Humanities & Social Sciences)
Proof of English language skills can be furnished by:
- Passing the TOEFL test in the Internet-based version with a minimum score of 80 points
- Passing the TOEFL test in the paper-based version with a minimum score of 550 points
- Passing the TOEIC test with a minimum score of 750 points
- Passing the IELTS 6.0 test
- Passing the Cambridge Advanced Certificate of English (CAE) exam with grade B
- Successfully completing a semester of university studies with English being the exclusive language of instruction
The test certificates should not be older than three years.
The above English language requirements do not apply to graduates holding a master’s degree from Leuphana Graduate School (except for students who started their studies beginning in the 2008/2009 winter semester).
The TOEIC test can also be taken at the Leuphana Foreign Language Center. We recommend that you first take the placement test. The Foreign Language Center also holds office hours and offers a two-week preparatory course for the TOEIC test. Unlike in the master's program, the test fees will not be reimbursed. For full information regarding the TOEIC test, please visit the webpage of the Foreign Language Center.
You can hand in the requested proof of English language skills subsequently until the end of your third PhD semester. In this case, you are admitted as a PhD student on the proviso that you will make up for this pre-requisite.
The proposal is a 3-5-page description of the dissertation project including its preliminary title. In this essay you should give a detailed description of the research question you want to investigate, the methods you are going to apply, the current state of research and the existing scholarly literature.
Evaluation of the doctoral project by the advisor
The advisor’s evaluation should include a judgment on the candidate’s academic qualification, the doctoral project and the project’s academic relevance. The evaluation must be submitted in writing without any specific form being required and must be signed by the advisor.
The choice of your doctoral degree depends on the discipline your dissertation project and your advisor are assigned to. In case of doubt, please make sure about this assignment with your advisor.
- Faculty of Education: Dr. phil.
- Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences: Dr. phil., Dr. rer. pol.
- Faculty of Sustainability: Dr. phil., Dr. rer. nat., Dr. rer. pol.
- Faculty of Business and Economics: Dr. iur, Dr. phil., Dr. rer. nat., Dr. rer. pol.
Student Counselor, Graduate School