A structured Ph.D. program generally comprises a curriculum with a predefined research topic, a fixed duration and established provisions for funding. In a Ph.D. program, you will be able to turn to a permanent team of supervisors for your dissertation. Many of these programs are cooperation projects between the University of Potsdam, extramural research institutions and institutions of higher education in Berlin. The German Research Foundation (DFG) also provides funding for some of these programs.
You have found a suitable Ph.D. program?
If so, please make sure you have all the information on the tasks that will be required of you as part of your doctoral studies. You can find more details in the regulations for a doctoral degree of the faculty that is in charge of the program. These regulations will also define who would qualify as your potential academic supervisor (e.g. if they have to be tenured professors or not).
If you have made a decision in favor of a particular Ph.D. program, you should approach the respective contact persons directly. Please discuss if you will be assigned an academic supervisor in the PhD program or if the independent search for a supervisor is part of the application process.
How do I find a potential supervisor?
- You can search for academics in your research and subject-area on the website of the University of Potsdam. For your search, you should take into account the subject-specific connection between your own research interest, the main focus of your chosen Ph.D. program and the research topics of the professor.
- Take advantage of possible existing contacts from your university studies or ask your final thesis advisor for a recommendation.
If you have found a potential supervisor, you can send them an articulate and informative e-mail.
The professors receive many supervision requests. Think of your e-mail as a letter of application intended to make you stand out from the vast number of other inquiries.
Your e-mail should contain the following information:
- name, home university, field, and, if applicable, publications or topic of the Master’s thesis etc.
- a short description of your Ph.D. project
- an explanation as to why you have chosen this particular professor
- a curriculum vitae in tabular form
- Ask for a personal meeting to discuss your project at the end of the e-mail.
In most cases, members of other national and international universities and non-university research institutions can also be chosen as second supervisors or mentors. Discuss this with your primary supervisor.
If you would like to pursue your doctorate at the University of Potsdam in close cooperation with a (partner) university abroad, you should consider the Cotutelle procedure.
What is the exact course of events for doctoral studies?
1. First, you will have to apply for your chosen Ph.D. program.
Please note that each Ph.D. program has its own application procedure and deadlines!
2. If you have been accepted into the chosen Ph.D. program, you will have to apply for admission as a doctoral candidate at the faculty that is in responsible for the program.
For the specific admission requirements and achievements to complete for the Ph.D. degree, please refer to the valid regulations for a doctoral degree of the faculty that is responsible for your doctoral project. A doctoral degree generally requires the writing of a doctoral dissertation, an oral examination and the publication of the dissertation. If successful, you will be awarded a doctorate. The quality criteria developed by the Potsdam Graduate School are regarded as the minimum standards to be met for Ph.D. projects.
The seven faculties of the University of Potsdam are responsible for providing subject-specific supervision and carrying out the Ph.D. projects. If you have questions or need further information, please contact the responsible contact persons in the faculties’ offices of the dean.
Prospective or current doctoral candidates from outside Germany can also seek support from the Welcome Center Potsdam.
3. After successful admission, you can enroll as a doctoral candidate.
If you have already submitted all the necessary documents for admission to your faculty, they will be forwarded internally to the Office of Student Affairs at the University of Potsdam after your admission has been confirmed. Exceptions: Doctoral candidates at the Faculty of Science and the Digital Engineering Faculty will have to hand in their enrollment documents and their notification of admission from the faculty at the Student Administration Center/ Office of Student Affairs.
The Office of Student Affairs will then send you a request for the transfer of the semester fee. Upon receipt of the fee, your Potsdam University Chip Card PUCK will be created and mailed to you alongside further information material.
Doctoral candidates from other universities have the possibility to join a DFG Research Training Group as an associate member – provided they are pursuing their doctoral degree in the relevant research field.
- Before taking up your doctoral studies, you can exchange ideas with others during information events at the University of Potsdam that deal with doctoral studies (such as faculty days, Perspektive Promotion etc.). Please also refer to the respective websites for more information.
- Supervision agreements are important. Conclude one with your supervisor to define rights and duties that apply mutually. Please note the specific regulations at the Law Faculty!
- Don’t forget to put together a supervision team. This is usually made up of a primary academic supervisor and a second supervisor as well as, ideally, an external reviewer. This will reduce the burden on your primary supervisor. The whole supervision team can also be consulted for possible solutions in case of conflicts. Choosing an external reviewer ensures that your work will be judged impartially. Please note the specific regulations at the Law Faculty!