Applying for Doctoral Studies
The application period for the summer semester is December 1 to June 30. The application period for the winter semester is June 1 to December 31.
Our brochure Applying for Doctoral Studies contains the most important aspects of applying for doctoral studies. Here the specifics of doctoral studies at RWTH Aachen, the process for recognition of international university degrees, the various contact persons, funding possibilities, and different ways of finding an advisor are all described in detail.
1. Applying with a Master's Degree from Abroad
The formal recognition of international university degrees, if you are a graduate of a foreign university (this also applies to German citizens with a foreign Master's degree), and enrollment for doctoral studies take place through the Division of Admission and Social Affairs in the International Office. You must apply for doctoral studies there. If you are not applying from your home country, remember that you must present your original documents at the time of enrollment. This means, you must bring your original documents with you. Additionally, we recommend that applicants apply from their country if they are not yet in Germany. This ensures that your admission to studies is clear before you assume any financial costs for traveling to Germany.
2. Applying with a German Degree
If you acquired your university degree at a German university and it authorizes you to begin doctoral studies, then you enroll through the Registrar's Office.
3. Applying for a Limited Stay as Part of Doctoral Studies at a Foreign University
If you are currently completing doctoral studies at a university outside of Germany and would like to spend a limited stay - between 3 and 24 months - at RWTH Aachen as part of these doctoral studies, please read the information provided here.
Applying for Doctoral Studies
There are two parallel steps when applying for docotral studies. You must apply online for a study placement. You must also simultaneously submit an application to the correct examination committee to have your doctoral prerequisites recognized.
1. Application for a Study Placement
Für die Bewerbung um einen Studienplatz zur Promotion ist eine Online-Bewerbung über RWTHonline erforderlich.
To apply for a study placement in doctoral studies, you must submit an application online via RWTHonline.
The first step is making sure you have all the necessary documents as a PDF file. You can find a list of the documents required on this page below.
As soon as you have all the documents as PDF files, fill out the online application form. The link to the online application form is in the yellow box on the righthand side of this page.
The documents below are needed to apply and must be uploaded as PDF files at the end of the application:
- Confirmation of Supervison or invitation from the RWTH Professor who is willing to supervise your doctoral research project PhD:
- Tabular CV
- Copy of your University Degree Certificate, typically Bachelor and Master diplomas
- Translation of your University Degree Certificate into German or English by a certified translator
- Copy of your transcripts / Academic Record, including grades obtained
- Translation of your transcripts / Academic Record into German or English by a certified translator
- For applicants who come to RWTH for the purpose of study and/or research and who do not want to obtain a doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen: Proof that you are pursuing doctoral studies at your home university / a document by your doctoral supervisor at your home university confirming that you are in the process of completing a doctoral project.
- For applicants from China: Certificate of Authenticity ("Echtheitsbestätigung") issued by the Academic Evaluation Centre (APS) in Beijing for all submitted university certificates
If you wish to be enrolled as a doctoral candidate later on at RWTH Aachen, you must submit your original university diplomas and certificates to the International Office. Please remember to bring your original university documents with you to Germany.
After we receive your application documents, we review whether you fulfill the formal prerequisites for doctoral studies. If you do, you will receive a written review confirming your university certificates are equivalent to German standards. You must then then take this review and other documents to the faculty, in which you would like to pursue doctoral studies, and submit an application to have the doctoral prerequisites recognized or be admitted to doctoral studies.
2. Recognition of Your Qualification for Doctoral Studies or Admission to Doctoral Studies at the Faculty
At the same time as submitting your application online, you must submit a request to your respective faculty or doctoral office to have your qualification for doctoral studies reviewed.
You can find a list of all of the doctoral studies offices in the faculties here. Please contact the responsible doctoral studies office to find out which documents you must submit. Please note that the respective doctoral studies offices require certain forms, e.g. for the confirmation of supervision, that are not identical with the forms provided for the application for admission to doctoral studies.
The doctoral committee has three different evaluations it may give you.
- Your technical background does not qualify you for doctoral studies. If this is the case, you cannot complete doctoral studies in the selected subject at RWTH Aachen.
- Your technical background qualified you for unrestricted doctoral studies. In this case, you can immediately begin the doctoral studies process.
- Your technical background only conditionally qualifies you for doctoral studies. In this case, the doctoral commiteee sets requirements that you have to fulfill before your dissertation will be accepted. These requirements typically include taking seminars that are completed upon successful exam results. In order to find out about the requirements early on and to plan your doctoral studies, you should submit the Application for Recognition of Doctoral Studies Requirements as soon as possible.
If the doctoral committee determines you can be admitted to doctoral studies at the faculty with either no restrictions or with extra provisions, you will receive a written confirmation called the Bescheinigung des Promotionsausschusses auf Zulassung zur Promotion. This confirmation is a mandatory prerequisite to be able to enroll as a doctoral candidate.
You can find out more about submitting the Application for Recognition of Doctoral Studies Requirements from the faculty's doctoral studies officer. The contact information of the doctoral studies officer or doctoral studies office is available on the Web page for International Prospective Doctoral Candidates.
If you need a special admissions letter on official RWTH Aachen letterhead, for example to apply for a visa at the Germany embassy in your home country, you must first complete the online application and submit the necessary documents. After these documents have been reviewed, you will automatically be issued a letter of admission in the RWTHonline Self Service section.