FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Application / Admissions Requirements

Can I apply even though I’m German?
Yes, absolutely.

I am German. Is it necessary to have a certificate of my English skills?
No. But, if you want to write your thesis in English, then you need a certificate of your English skills (TOEFL or a comparable accredited certificate).

In which cases do Germans need a TOEFL test or a comparable accredited certificate of English?
You only need a TOEFL test or a comparable accredited certificate if you want to write your thesis in English.

I am a foreigner. Can I apply even though I do not speak German?
Yes, if you can speak and write English at an academic level. German and English are the official communication languages at ARUS. But you need a certificate about your English- language skills. We accept:

  • English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based); for more about TOEFL, click here: www.toefl.org.
  • UNIcert Level 3 - Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English, level C - IELTS Band 6.0. For more about IELTS, click here: www.ielts.org.
  • or other comparable accredited certificates.

During your PhD. in Germany, you should learn German (everyday speech).

Can I write my thesis in English?
ARUS is an international Ph.D.-programme, so of course English is a teaching language and you can write your thesis in English. But you need a certificate of your English- language skills. We accept:

  • English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based); for more about TOEFL, click here: www.toefl.org.
  • UNIcert Level 3 - Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English, level C - IELTS Band 6.0. For more about IELTS, click here: www.ielts.org.
  • or other comparable accredited certificates.

What is the deadline for the application?
The applications have to be sent to the academic coordinator - Dr. Elke Hochmuth - by 30 April each year for admission in the winter term.

Can I send the application materials per E-mail?
Yes, that is possible. Please scan all your documents and send them to elke.hochmuth@uni-due.de.

I have no supervisor for my Ph.D.-project? Can I still apply?
Yes. Based on your complete application, on the description of your research project and your academic background, the ARUS-supervisors decide who will supervise your Ph.D. Every approved ARUS doctoral candidate is supervised by an individually composed interdisciplinary panel of supervisors, which consists of up to three professors from disciplines relevant to the individual project.

On the homepages of ARUS there are selected potential Ph.D. topics: What function do they have? Do I like to select a theme for my application from that offer?
The selected potential PhD topics on the ARUS-Homepages are merely intended as examples of the scope of potential topics for your PhD project. This selection aims to illustrate the possibilities for topics in the framework of ARUS. You can select a topic from that offer. But you can also develop a topic yourself. Please note: It is important that your chosen topic has an urban context. And it is important to have a theme which is open for interdisciplinary cooperation.

Admissions process / Admission

Who decides on the admissions and by what criteria the decision is made?
The ARUS- supervisors decide on the basis of the application documents of the applicant. A very important document is the description of the research project. Please, write a short description of your research project (max. ten pages), which addresses at least the following:

  1. abstract (250 words)
  2. research objective
  3. research question and hypotheses
  4. current state of research
  5. methodology/approach
  6. current state of preparation

When can I expect an answer for my application?
The ARUS-Supervisors and the coordinator of ARUS will review the applications in May. As soon as a decision has been made, the coordinator will notify you. Typically, the process takes up to six weeks from the deadline for decisions to be communicated. If you have not heard from us regarding the status of your application, it is because a final decision has not been reached. We always communicate the final status to all applicants once the ARUS-supervisors have finalized their decision.

Can I reapply if my application has been rejected?
Yes, you may reapply. It is crucial for the possibility of re-application that you have not been rejected for formal reasons. If you have been rejected for formal reasons, then please ask the coordinator for the reasons in your specific case and the additional entry requirements. For your re-application, you may choose to apply with a new research topic. Or you can apply with your previously submitted topic. But then it is advisable to improve/rework your research proposal.

Is an interview with a candidate a compulsory step of the admissions process?
Interviews are not a necessarily a component of the admission process for all applicants. However, interviews are sometimes organized if there is any need to clarify aspects of your application. We will contact you if you are selected for an interview.

Funding information

Could you tell me all about the scholarships offers for the Ph.D.-programme ARUS?
We award no scholarships. But the supervising professors will provide help after admission to ARUS in applying for other scholarships (e.g. from the DAAD).

Can I work while I'm in the Ph.D.-Programme? Is there an attendance requirement at the University of Duisburg-Essen?
Yes, you can work while you are in the programme. The course offering is flexible, because we want you to spend the majority of your time on your thesis. Courses are frequently offered in blocked form. Especially in the first semesters, courses will also be offered on weekends (approximately one in two months) to discuss the theses to intensify the exchange between the ARUS candidates. After this first period we will offer more courses, but not fixed weekly classes.
However, the more you are present in Duisburg-Essen, the more you will benefit from the opportunities offered by the Main Research Area "Urban Systems" and from both formal and informal exchange with your supervisors and the other ARUS candidates, most of whom do live in the region.