Application for Admission to Doctoral studies
SELECTING YOUR TOPIC AND CONTACTING US
You choose the topic for your thesis. It must be related to one of the Leuphana research fields, and to the subjects taught at our faculties. The first step is to contact your potential supervisor; at your first meeting, you should already have a rough proposal outlining your research idea. You will find potential supervisors for your subject in the doctoral research group or the relevant faculties.
Throughout your doctorate, you are supported by your supervisor, who was named as first reviewer by the doctoral board upon your admission. Your supervisor supports you on your way to becoming part of the scientific community.
To clarify mutual expectations and with the aim of making the supervision relationship transparent in terms of content and time, you reach a supervision agreement with your supervisor by the end of the first semester at the latest. This also serves to ensure the quality of the planning and implementation of your doctoral project.
In the supervision agreement, it is clarified in which form the supervision is administered.
Students applying for a doctorate should have a Diplom, Magister or Masters degree, or have passed the 1st or 2nd Staatsexamen examination. Students must have passed their first degree with at least "gut" ("good"), i.e. better than 2.6.
For the first or second law Staatsexamen examination, a final grade of at least "befriedigend" ("satisfactory") is required.
Please make sure that your final grade and the grade for your Masters or Magister dissertation or Examensarbeit is clearly stated on your certificates/transcripts.
The first step to a doctorate is to find a supervisor for your project. Potential supervisors at Leuphana University of Lüneburg are professors who are experts in their field, and who research and teach on the Masters programmes at Leuphana University of Lüneburg. Your thesis topic must correspond to the research profile of your potential supervisor, and you are responsible for initial contact. You should therefore bring a brief proposal outlining your research idea to your first meeting.
The professors are attached to the faculties and institutes at Leuphana. You can access the professors' pages by searching for "People" on the faculty websites. These pages generally list the professors' current research and publications, and will give you an idea of whether they are researching in a relevant field for your proposed topic. You can also contact the student counselling service at the Graduate School with any questions.
You will receive a written statement from your supervisor in which they agree to supervise you. This statement does not need to follow any set form, but should include an assessment of your academic qualifications, your thesis project and if applicable subject relevance. The statement is one of the documents that you then submit with your application.
The proposal is a description of your doctoral project of no more than five pages, and should include the provisional title of your thesis that you have agreed in preliminary meetings with your supervisor. Your proposal should outline your project in more detail, in part by answering the following questions: What question are you seeking to explore? What methods will you use? What is the current state of the art? What is the key literature?
- Faculty of Business and Economics: Dr. iur., Dr. phil., Dr. rer. nat., Dr. rer. pol.
- 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.
The doctoral degree you are pursuing must be indicated in your application for admission. The doctoral degree is dependent on the subject-specific classification of your topic and your supervisor. In case of doubt, clarify this classification with your supervisor.
Good English is only required for doctorates at the Faculties of Sustainability and Business & Economics. The following are accepted as proof of English proficiency:
- At least 85 points in an Internet-based TOEFL test
- At least 785 points in a TOEIC test
- An IELTS 5.5 test
- A Cambridge Advanced Certificate of English (CAE), Grade C or higher
- Modules taken and passed as part of a higher education degree that are worth at least 30 CPs (ECTS) and were taught and assessed exclusively in English
- A degree in English
- A certificate from an English-medium school that qualifies the student to study in that English-speaking country
Students who hold a Masters from the Leuphana Graduate School do not need to provide proof of English proficiency.
The TOEIC test can be taken at the Centre for Modern Languages (ZeMoS). We recommend taking the placement test to get an idea of your level before preparing for the TOEIC. The Language Centre also offers two-week preparatory courses and consultations. Leuphana cannot cover the fees for the test. You will find all the information you need about the TOEIC test on the Language Centre pages.
Proof of proficiency in English must be provided by the end of the third semester at the latest.
No proof of proficiency in German is required for admission to the doctoral programmes. You can write your thesis either in German or in English. However, some of the doctoral programme classes are held in German. We therefore strongly recommend that you acquire the necessary level of German before commencing your doctorate (e.g. DSH level 2 or TestDaF). You can also attend the International Office's Summer University to bring your German up to the required level, and the Language Centre can provide more information on the German classes on offer.
You should read the doctoral regulations carefully as they are the legal basis for your doctorate. The doctoral regulations set out in detail the applicable prerequisites and procedures for doctorates at Leuphana University of Lüneburg.
The "Guidelines for Ensuring Good Academic Practice and Dealing with Academic Misconduct at Leuphana University of Lüneburg" ("Richtlinie zur Sicherung guter wissenschaftlicher Praxis und zum Verfahren zum Umgang mit wissenschaftlichem Fehlverhalten der Leuphana Universität Lüneburg") or "Ethics Guidelines" set out by the Senate and the Presidential Committee, define the framework for good academic practice.
The application form available here and all accompanying documents required (see the information on the form and the instructions for completion) must be sent by post to Student Services. Applications cannot be submitted by e-mail.
Deadlines for applications
There are no deadlines for doctoral applications. Candidates can submit their applications at any time for the current semester or subsequent semesters.
Admission and enrolment
Your application will be assessed by Student Services and passed on to the competent doctorate commissions by the dean's office for the relevant faculty. The commissions generally meet at least twice a semester to decide on admissions. Decisions are made on the basis of academic criteria and there are no quotas or limits. You will hear within around 2-3 months (depending on when the competent doctoral commison meets) from either the dean's office or Student Services on whether your application has been successful.
If you have been accepted, all you need to do is complete the formal enrolment process at Student Services. You will then receive your student card and semester ticket. Your acceptance letter will state the deadline for enrolment; it is usually 14 days from receipt of the letter.
Travelling to and staying in Germany
Doctoral candidates from abroad should check the immigration and visa regulations as soon as they start considering studying here. Please note that the following information is a general guide only: please check with the competent authorities for the binding requirements.