Financing the doctorate

Gläser mit Geld, aus denen Pflanzen wachsen (Symbolbild)

How can I finance a doctoral degree?

Figuring out financing is an important step towards starting your doctorate. The research system in Germany offers you many opportunities. We recommend you to discuss your options with your supervising professor as he or she can give you helpful tipps.

On this page we have summarized some common ways of financing your doctorate in Germany:

Scientific staff member

As a scientific staff member you are employed (full-time or part-time) at the university and closely involved in the research of a chair. You are financed either from the chair's budget or from a third-party funded project.

Such PhD positions are frequently advertised and you can apply for them. The conditions, e.g. the allocation for the respective position, are specified in the advertisements. Such doctorates are usually individual doctorates that are relatively independent of further requirements.

For all personnel matters and questions regarding employment as a scientific staff member, the Staff Council of the scientific and artistic employees is your first point of contact.

Structured doctoral programmes

Usually, structured doctoral programmes (such as Research Training Groups) offer funding in the form of positions as academic research assistants.

In contrast to individual doctorates, the training of doctoral students in these programmes is formally structured and offers integrated support services.

You can find an overview of all running structured programmes at the UDE here. Open positions in those programmes are often advertised on their respective websites.


There is a wide range of foundations which support doctoral researchers. As a rule, the subsidy is valid for a maximum period of three years. Often the support also includes training and exchange formats.

In the "Funding and Financing" section, we offer you an overview of many funding opportunities for doctoral candidates at a glance. We also recommend you to talk to your professor which foundation could fit your project or to contact the liaison officers of the foundations at the UDE.

External employment

In case you are employed at an external institution (e.g. a university of applied sciences or a Max Planck or Fraunhofer Institute), you will work on a clearly defined project and are enrolled for a doctorate at the university at the same time.

Another common option is an employment in a company. Prerequisite in both cases is the (at least partial) supervision by a professor at the university.

Additional funding

Many foundations, associations and societies offer additional funding opportunities for conference participation, research stays abroad or printing costs. Please refer to the "Funding and Financing" section for information on current calls for proposals and regular programmes.