Masters degree & Doctoral Track

Linking a masters course and a doctorate

With the Doctoral Track, the Leuphana Graduate School is embarking on a new approach to academic qualification for the new generation of young academics in Germany. The Doctoral Track enables well qualified students admission to study for a doctorate during their Masters course. With the simultaneous admission on a Masters course and a doctorate, you can begin preparing for your doctoral research project during your Masters and make a start on becoming part of your scientific community.

Deciding in favour of the Doctoral Track is a good idea if a student already has a clear idea of what they want to study for their doctorate. Interested students are advised to use the initial months of their master’s course to gain an initial picture of the contents of their major and to contact potential supervisory academic staff. Before applying for the Doctoral Track, you should discuss your future doctoral research project and the appropriate options for specialisation in your major together with them. We would strongly recommend to contact the Student Counselling Service at Graduate School in order to discuss your intentions.

Deciding to take the Doctoral Track

  • Do you hold a bachelors degree with a final grade of excellent (at least 1.5)?
  • Did you develop your research interests during your bachelor's degree, and would you like to pursue them further during your master's?
  • Can you imagine continuing taking your research topic further in the form of a doctorate at the beginning of your master's course at the Leuphana Graduate School?


With the Doctoral Track you are able to focus intensively on your chosen area of research during your Masters course and to use your master's thesis as the basis for your doctoral research project. Being able to focus early on your area of research creates the ideal conditions for active, research focused learning. Your early participation in the modules for the doctorate supports this learning process.

Combining the Masters and doctoral phases offers you the advantage of being able to join your scientific community at the earliest stage. In addition to your solid academic integration, for selected qualification steps, financial support is also available from the Fund For Young Researchers.

Admission requirements

  •  A "very good" bachelors degree (or equivalent). In this case, "very good" means a final result of at least 1.5 or proof that you were among the top 10% graduates in your final year of study.
  • Admission to a Masters course at the Leuphana Graduate School and at least registration in the first semester.
  • An exposé (max. 5 pages) detailing your proposed doctoral research project and its preliminary title.
  • Reference from the proposed academic supervisor for the doctorate. This should state that the applicant is suitable for simultaneous admission to the master's course and the doctorate, and detail their level of academic qualification.

First steps and application

Use the initial months of your Masters course to gain an initial picture of the contents of your course of study. Contact professors from your intended area of research in order to discuss your doctoral research project and to discuss the appropriate options for specialisation in your major.

As soon as the future supervisor has been confirmed and created a corresponding review, you can submit your application for admission to the Doctoral Track to the responsible doctoral board through Student Services. The application can be made at any time during your master's course, although the first or second semesters of the master's are recommended.

The Graduate School Student Counselling Service can also assist you with your decision and application for the Doctoral Track.

Admission and course of study

The decision on the admission to the Doctoral Track is made by the responsible doctoral board. The simultaneous admission to the doctorate initially occurs under the formal proviso that the simultaneous Masters is completed with distinction (a grade of at least "good", meaning better than 2.6 or at least "satisfactory" in the first or second legal state examinations). This means that the final admission to the doctorate and submission of the research project are only possible after the completion of an appropriate Masters degree. After admission you can decide for yourself as to when you would like to attend the lectures for your doctorate. Register during the appropriate semester in the myStudy study portal. Your initial participation in the interdisciplinary modules for the doctorate is recommended. Your performance in these modules also forms part of the complementary studies in the Masters course.

Information on the lectures in the doctorate is also available here.

In the Doctoral Track, you can complete your master's dissertation as preparation for your subsequent doctoral research project. You can build on this during your doctorate and therefore achieve your goal more quickly.