Being skeptical about where to chase doctoral studies overseas, you must unquestionably consider Germany – “The land of ideas” as a unique option. In other words, there are firm whys and wherefores that make Germany a hosting country of thousands international PhD students every year. Positioned in the center of Europe – science, research and development are the utmost substantial emblematic elements of this nation, dominating the world in innovation. You might have probably heard about it, or you did not, but Germany is a globally distinguished country in lieu of its wide-variety research systems, world-ranked universities and research institutions, enriched by paramount practical-training opportunities, where the proficiency of specialized doctoral candidates and graduates prominently attracts local industries, considerably increasing their employment prospect.
Germany prides itself on the uniqueness of study and research quality, possessing the highest standards as regards of programs and research infrastructures. As a doctoral student in Germany, you will become an active part of scientific, research and industrial facets of the country getting the prosperous chance to explore your selected discipline inside a combined outline of theory and practice.
Nonetheless, always keeping in mind the aforementioned, before you make your decision of where to do your doctoral studies, we suggest you to recognize differentiating facts below about doctoral programmes of Germany.
The international prestige
Considering the global prestige and the tradition as respects of education, science and research activity that the country has, deciding on Germany for your studies, you choose a top attracting destination for many international students. There are around 400 higher education institutions and 1,000 public and publicly funded institutions of science, research and development amongst which 140 awards doctoral degrees, with an enrollment of 240,000 students were 18,000 engage in doctoral studies and 26,000 in research work. You are about to consider that there are more than 500 research networks and groups for your practical part of the study. Additionally, the country sets a great focus on international students, figured also by the fact that around 38,000 international academics give their lessons at higher education institutions of Germany.
Differentiated from the world, you have to know that intended for doctoral studies; Germany has an outstanding scientific and education infrastructure, widely diverse study fields and programmes, diverse educational and research institutions, well-resourced research spaces, optional study alternatives and professional supervising teams. Another distinguishing fact is that you can choose to chase your doctoral studies and researches in one or more different institutions between university, non-university institutions, companies, and state-governed institutions.
Bringing back the talk on the international reputation of German higher education institutions, we want to distinct the fact that The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016 ranked 9 (nine) German universities among top 199 world’s best universities, while QS World Rankings 2015/2016 ranked 4 (four) German universities among top 100 world’s best universities.
The wide-variety of study and research disciplines
Germany has to offer a wide-sort of doctoral study and research disciplines such as Automotive and Traffic Technology, Aviation Technologies, Biotechnology, Energy Technologies, Environmental Technology, Health Research, Humanities, Information and Communication Technologies, Maritime Technologies, Materials Technology, Medical Technologies, Natural Sciences, Nanotechnology, Optical Technologies, Photonics, Plants, Production Technologies, Security Research, Services, Social Sciences, Space Technology.
Becoming a doctoral candidate at hand, bear in mind that all these wide-ranged disciplines have programmes that can support your connection with relating companies or research institutes and organizations, enabling your applicative-research development, as a practical part of your studies.
Diverse educational and research institutions
If you are looking for a sundry environment as regards of institutions supporting your doctoral education, Germany is the home. University, non-university, research institutes or state-governed institutions, as aforesaid, are your options for getting your doctoral studies in Germany done. Each of these institutions possesses different study focuses. Nonetheless, doctoral programmes in Germany embody a triple-way-bridge for your knowledge, teaching and researching.
Universities in Germany are much respected institutions, focusing on teaching and research activities – as linked activities, while other research institutes concentrate on basic and applied research, policy making, consulting, and knowledge-transfer. Despite the education and training, all these institutions serve also as the key consulting national authorities as regards of country scientific and industrial innovation based development. Moreover, significantly developed, the intensive industrial research functions as a system for enabling cooperation between academia and industry, making German businesses amongst the Europe’s most dynamically involved in research activity.
No-tuition fee doctoral studies
Another benefit being a doctoral candidate in Germany is the fact that you will not pay any tuition fee for your studies, as higher education studies there, at any stage, are free of charge. There are only semester fees to be paid on your own, not exceeding 250 € per semester, covering administrative costs and other social and cultural events that you participate in.
Comprehensive funding opportunities
As a foreign doctoral student in Germany, you must be aware that despite the fact that there are no study tuition fee applied, there is an assurance amount of 8,000 € needed for taking the visa. While being in Germany it is estimated that living, travelling, food and other costs of a foreign student reaches the amount of 812 €, to be paid monthly .
Being in such position, you might probably want to consider that there are so many funding opportunities available for supporting such costs of doctoral candidates in Germany. Different organizations and programmes, there are to support individuals and groups for the period of doctoral studies and the engagement in research activity, such as German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
The aforementioned are the biggest funding groups, while there are many other groups and organizations that support individual researchers, junior and senior researchers and research projects such as local companies, the European Union, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, The Helmholtz Association, The Leibniz Association, The Max Planck Society, StipendiumPlus, Academies of Sciences and Humanities, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Volkswagen Foundation, the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, the Klaus Tschira Stiftung, the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the German Foundation for Peace Research, Federal and State Governments, German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF).
Alternative study types
Another but not last distinguishing fact on Germany’s doctoral studies is likewise the opportunity to choose amongst two-alternatives, as optional types for your enrollment – individual or structured doctorate. Whereas the individual doctorate is more independent, allowing you to choose the mentor (supervisor) on your own and arrange your study activities freely, the structured doctorate is the study type where you and your group students are tutored by a team-supervisors, always chasing the strict programme curriculum. We want you to recognize the fact that both forms offer you, besides, the privileged prospect to gain additional skills, as you will be called to attend seminars and other extracurricular activities.
Highly developed research infrastructure
Becoming student of doctoral studies in Germany – the leading scientific nation, you provide yourself a chance to work inside a highly advanced research infrastructure. This embraces laboring by using instruments, resources and other service research facilities of a 15 million of euros investment. Established to provide a proper environment for training, and technology/knowledge transfer, such wide-ranging research infrastructures serve as a home for many doctoral students, scientists and researchers.
Designed for specific disciplines, German state has its emerging research infrastructures such as:
- BERLinPro*(Berlin Energy Recovery Linac Project);
- CESSDA (the Council of European Social Science Data Archives);
- CLARIN (A web and cantres-based research infrastructure for the social sciences and humanities);
- DARIAH (Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities);
- ECRIN (European Clinical Research Infrastructures Network);
- E-ELT (European Extremely Large Telescope);
- ELI (the Extreme Light Infrastructure);
- ESSsocial (Survey on Society and Democracy in Europe);
- ESS (The European Spallation Source);
- FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research);
- FLASH II* (Free-Electron Lasers in Hamburg);
- New research vessel Polarstern, Poseidon, Sonne;
- GCS (Gauss Centre for Supercomputing);
- ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System);
- Infrafrontier (systematic phenotyping, archiving and distributing mouse models);
- IPL (In vivo pathophysiology laboratory);
- High-performance climate computer HLRE 3;
- The National Cohort (nationwide, long-term epidemiological stury);
- SHARE (Survey of health, ageing and retirement in Europe);
- SOEP (Socio-Economic panel);
- W7-X* (the Wendelstein 7-X Stellarator);
- XFEL (European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility GmnH).
There are also new research infrastructures in their pilot phase such as:
- CTA (Cherenkov Telescope Array);
- EU-OPENSCREEN (Open screening platforms for chemical biology);
- IAGOS (In-Service Aircraft for Global Observing System).
Once again, doing your doctorate in Germany involves a quite significant autonomy of yours, as regards of study and research activity. Principally, if you select to study in a traditional individual doctorate form, you will be given a lot of independence ever wanted. Hereafter, you will only be required to keep in touch with your mentor (supervisor) periodically, but your study activity will be carried entirely on your own schedule. Assuredly, we all know that by independency comes also responsibility, so being timeframe-oriented and punctual is the key to success! As a doctoral candidate of this kind, you will be given the time and possibility to congruently get involved in a work activity, either research job at the university or a job at local businesses.
Good employment prospect to fund your studies
Another form to fund your costs during your doctoral studies is getting a regular job. There are great opportunities, especially for individual doctoral candidates who generally get employment in university, as research associates. In addition, there are different programmes and funding organizations, which provide fix-terms employment contracts for candidates and graduates of doctoral studies.
Another opportunity for you as a doctoral student is getting jobs outside the university, academic or research based jobs inside the Germany. There are different job portals where you can find jobs these sorts of jobs. Such are:
- EURAXESS – intended for researchers,
- Bund.de – of Federal Government,
- Hochschulstellen.de – Job offers at German universities,
- Job portal of weekly ‘Die Zeit’,
- Make it in Germany Portal,
- PhD Germany – the platform for doctoral positions in Germany and many more.
Good living standard
Another attracting fact that might support your decision is also identifying some distinguishing facts about life in Germany as regards of the quality and standard of life there. Germany stands amongst most attracting countries for internationals as respects of lifestyle and high-quality products. Its economy is assessed to be amongst largest economies worldwide, and Germany as one of the utmost industrialized nations.
A good social, political and economic climate attracts many internationals who seek life and job in Germany. Especially, the labor market is highly developed, offering opportunities, especially for highly qualified workers, such as doctoral graduates to work in different relevant industries. As a non-EU graduate, there is a possibility for you to extend your residence permit for up to one year under job-seeking purpose.
Migrants are a specific feature of the country, perceived as an additional resource for the country’s economic empowerment, which have made Germany a country of cultural and social diversity.
The country’s political and economic sustainability make Germany a perfect place to live and work for anyone. There is a wide security network, the rule of law mechanisms, mechanisms for protecting human rights and obligations, especially developed health care system, a greatly developed industry and education system.
Living in Germany does not mean that your fun life will be left aside, contrary, the culture of the country is very rich, filled with fairs, festivals, operas, movie and ballet theater, and so on.