Structured Ph.D. Programme

The structured Ph.D. programme of the Joachim Herz Doctoral School is designed to last four years and leads to the award of the German doctorate in law (Dr. iur.) by the School of Public Affairs at Leuphana University Lüneburg after successful completion.

The Ph.D. programme is characterised by the close integration of scientific activities with accompanying methodological courses, qualification offers, and excellent supervision. To this end, the Ph.D. programme offers a series of events (seminars, workshops, research colloquia, etc.) and combines them with the offerings of the Leuphana Graduate School. The latter is a unique institution in Germany, based on the Anglo-Saxon model, which supports the career development of the doctoral students through, among other things, methods courses, academic and non-academic education formats, and measures to fund research.

Studierende sitzen vor dem Zentralgebäude und unterhalten sich. ©Leuphana Universität/Jannis Muser
Studierende spielen Klavier im Foyer des Zentralgebäudes ©Leuphana/Jannis Muser
Studierende im Gespräch vor dem Zentralgebäude ©Leuphana/Jannis Muser

Entry Requirements

1. An above-average degree in law (or a related social science discipline).

Applicants are required to have completed a Master's degree or equivalent (magister, diploma, state examination, etc.) with above-average results (at least "good", i.e. better than 2.6 or, in the case of the first state law examination, at least "satisfactory").

Applicants with foreign university degrees are strongly advised to provide a certificate of equivalence. Otherwise, the equivalence of the degree is determined according to the respective guidelines issued by the Central Office for Foreign Education at the Permanent Secretariat of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (

2. A strong interest in and first professional points of contact regarding questions of contextualisation of law in times of transformations and disruptions.

3. A clear concept for a Ph.D. project in this subject area.

4. Fulfillment of the general admission requirements for doctoral studies at the School of Public Affairs (as outlined in the school's doctoral regulations).

Selection Criteria

Admission is granted on the basis of the following criteria:

  • The quality of the proposed Ph.D. project and its relevance to the research subject of the doctoral school (link). In particular, the project is expected to make an important and outstanding contribution to the advancement of knowledge in this research field;
  • The applicant's motivation as stated in the cover letter;
  • Previous examination results and study achievements;
  • The assessment of the selection interview.

In addition, a suitable supervisor for the proposed Ph.D. project must be available at the School of Public Affairs and willing to supervise the applicant's Ph.D. project.


Participation in the structured Ph.D. programme at the Joachim Herz Doctoral School is generally free of charge. Only semester fees must be paid (approx. 320€ per semester).

Doctoral students are eligible for scholarships and other funding opportunities provided by Leuphana University Lüneburg, by German or foreign foundations, and by other (private or public) sources. Part-time employment (e.g. as research assistants) is also compatible with participation in the Ph.D. programme.

Application Procedure

Admission to the structured Ph.D. programme of the Joachim Herz Doctoral School of Law is possible at any time.

In addition to fulfilling the above-mentioned admission criteria, applicants must have already been accepted as a doctoral candidate by one of the professors at Leuphana Law School (see here). The confirmation of supervision signed by the future supervisor (further information: here) must be enclosed with the application.

In case of any questions about the application procedure or the required documents, please contact


Matthias Phillipp Packeiser
Universitätsallee 1, C40.225
21335 Lüneburg
Fon +49.4131.677-4020

Legal Bases