Doctoral Candidates

  Doctoral candidates sit at a table and listen to a presentation Copyright: © Thilo Vogel



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Panel Study

RWTH participates in a panel study on doctoral candidates and doctoral graduates conducted by the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies, DZHW for short.


The doctorate can be seen as a first important step on the path to a career in science and research. It opens up positions at universities and research institutions, but also high-profile careers in industry and the public sector.

Doctoral candidates undertake independent, autonomous research to contribute new knowledge and theory to the body of knowledge in a certain field. Presenting their research findings in the format of a dissertation, candidates demonstrate the capacity to conduct high-quality independent research.

Doctoral candidates can complete their dissertation as a highly individualized project in close collaboration with their supervisor or, alternatively, as part of a doctoral program. In Germany, doctoral programs are frequently very similar to the PhD programs in English-speaking countries, in which a team of supervisors look after a group of doctoral students.

The process of earning a doctorate is complex, and a critical success factor is a transparent supervisory relationship. Measures and tools to ensure transparency in the doctoral process include:

RWTH places emphasis on introducing the basic principles of good scientific practice to researchers at an early stage of their independent academic career. Moreover, RWTH is committed to ensuring that these standards are adhered to. Tools and measures include:

Academic excellence and the responsible promotion of early-career researchers require continuous expansion of the University’s education and training offerings for doctoral candidates. For this reason, RWTH has integrated professional skills development into doctoral education. The University seeks continuously to provide new impetus in developing research, subject-specific, personal and professional expertise among doctoral candidates.

After completion of their doctoral degree, early-career researchers are faced with the decision of whether to stay in academia or take on a position in business, industry, or the public sector. As RWTH seeks to attract and recruit the best doctoral graduates, it has established comprehensive support programs for academics at the postdoctoral stage. At the same time, RWTH provides advice and assistance for those preparing for professional roles in other areas.

Career Advising