Applying for Doctoral Studies


Online Application

The application and enrollment period for the summer semester is February 1 to June 15. The application and enrollment period for the winter semester is August 1 to December 15.


Applying With a Foreign Master's Degree

The formal recognition of international university degrees, if you are a graduate of a foreign university (this also applies to German citizens with a foreign Master's degree), and enrollment for doctoral studies take place through the Division of Admission and Social Affairs in the International Office. You must apply for doctoral studies there. Remember that you must present your original documents at the time of enrollment. This means you must bring your original documents with you from your home country. Additionally, we recommend that applicants apply from their country if they are not yet in Germany. This ensures that your admission to studies is clear before you incur any financial costs for traveling to Germany. For further information, please refer to the section "Applying for Doctoral Studies."

Applying With a German Degree

If you acquired your university degree at a German university and this makes you eligible to begin doctoral studies, then you enroll through the Registrar's Office. In order to be enrolled as a doctoral candidate, you must have applied for a place via RWTHonline beforehand.

Applying for a Limited Stay as Part of Doctoral Studies at a Foreign University

If you are currently completing doctoral studies at a university outside Germany and would like to spend a limited stay of 3 to 24 months at RWTH as part of your studies, please read the information provided here.

Applying for Doctoral Studies

Once you have founda doctoral supervisor at RWTH, you need to apply as a doctoral candidate. Below are the steps for applying:

  1. Collect all the required documents and scan them as a PDF. The following documents are required:
    • Documents confirming you are eligible for doctoral studies: This means your academic transcripts and diplomas. Generally, you should have a Bachelor's transcript and degree certificate as well as a Master's transcript and degree certificate. If these documents were not originally issued in English or German, you also need a translation completed by a state-certified translator. Please compile these documents in a single PDF file and upload it when prompted during the application process.
    • Confirmation of supervision/invitation: Your supervisor must issue you an official invitation or a confirmation of supervision stating that you have been accepted as a doctoral candidate.
    • Admission letter to doctoral studies by the doctoral committee: Generally you will not yet have this document. Below we will explain how to receive it.
  2. Register online and start your application. In the application, you will be asked to enter personal information as well as information about your schooling and academic background. At the end of the application, you will be prompted to upload the relevant PDF files. You will most likely not yet have received an admission letter from the doctoral committee, so leave this empty. If you do already have the letter, you can upload it now. You will be admitted to the doctoral program as soon as you have uploaded the must-have documents for admission. The mandatory documents for admission include your letter of admission from the doctoral committee. Please submit an application for recognition of doctoral requirements to the doctoral committee responsible for you. Information about the contact persons of the faculties can be found on the website for international doctoral candidates. If you did not complete your Master's degree in Germany, you will also need to submit documents proving your formal eligibility for doctoral studies as well as a certificate of supervision in order to be admitted.
  3. Your application will be reviewed and you will receive an evaluation of your suitability for doctoral studies via email. You need this evaluation to submit an application for recognition of doctoral requirements to the doctoral committee. You can find each Faculty's contact person for this topic on the page International Prospective Doctoral Candidates.
  4. You should submit the application for recognition of doctoral requirements to the appropriate doctoral committee as soon as you have received the evaluation. To submit the application you must:
    • first ask the doctoral committee which documents and forms are required
    • prepare the required documents
    • send the application, the evaluation, and the documents to the doctoral committee
  5. As soon as the doctoral committee has determined you can be admitted, open the Self Service section of your application in your RWTHonline account. Here you are able to upload the letter from the doctoral committee. Once you upload the document, your application is complete.
  6. Within roughly five business days of uploading the letter from the doctoral committee, you will receive an email with the application results. You can find the electronic letter of admission in the Self Service section of RWTHonline. If you need a visa to travel to Germany, you can print out this letter and take it to the German embassy and consulate. German authorities usually accept a printout of the electronic letter.

Enrolling for Doctoral Studies

Once you have been admitted, you must enter the remaining information in RWTHonline required for enrollment. You must update the information in your application (for example your address) and you will have the option to upload the documents required for enrollment. After you have entered the remaining required information, you can download the official application to enroll at RWTH, which you must then sign and upload again. Please be sure to bring the original copies of your transcripts and certificates to Germany with you. They may be checked for authenticity.

Please note

Keep in mind that there are specific application and enrollments deadlines. You can find them in the yellow box titled Online Application further up this page. We strongly recommend you apply at the start of the application period so that you have enough time to complete the whole process.