Information for Doctoral Candidates© Thilo Vogel
How to find a supervisor, what you need to know when enrolling in a doctoral program, and answers to other important questions about doctoral studies are covered in the following FAQ.
How do I find a supervisor for my doctorate?
If you have decided to pursue your doctorate at RWTH and you meet the formal requirements, the first step you need to take is to find an authorized supervisor for your doctorate at RWTH.
You must do this right at the beginning, since a written confirmation of supervision by a professor has to be enclosed with your formal application for admission to doctoral studies.
You can find out more about the research areas of RWTH professors on our website. You can access all the university institutes via the homepage of the respective faculty. Once you have found a suitable professor, you can apply by email. Many professors receive more doctoral applications than their supervision capacity allows and not all candidates can be accepted. But outstanding doctoral candidates are always in demand and have a good chance of being accepted!
If your application is successful, you should arrange with a professor that they will guide and support you on your way to your doctorate. This person is your first supervisor. At the beginning of the doctorate, a supervision agreement should be concluded between the doctoral candidate and the supervisor. In this agreement, the rights and obligations of the doctoral candidate and the supervisor are recorded and the supervisor relationship is transparent in content and time matters.
Who do I contact with questions concerning my doctorate?
Formally, the faculties determine the requirements for a doctorate, regulate the doctoral process, and establish both in their own doctoral regulations. You should therefore contact your faculty’s doctoral office with all matters concerning your doctorate.
Ombudspersons for doctoral studies at the faculties are confidential contacts for any problems and conflicts in matters related to the doctorate.
How do I find a position as a research assistant?
Many departments and institutes at RWTH advertise positions with the possibility of a doctorate in the respective field or on a topic that has already been specified. As a research associate, you will be involved in the institute’s research alongside your doctorate. Furthermore, you will often take on a temporary teaching position and perform administrative tasks within the institute.
Employment contracts are fixed. While employed, you have health insurance and pay social security contributions, i.e. you acquire pension rights and are entitled to social benefits during this time.
You can search for jobs at RWTH via the respective institute's website and contact the institute directly. Job offers are also published in RWTH’s job database.
A doctorate is also possible through various scholarships and funding programs.
What staff development measures are on offer at RWTH?
Motivated, highly qualified, and thoroughly satisfied employees are crucial when it comes to ensuring excellent research and teaching. For this reason, RWTH Aachen University has made it its goal to support its employees with appropriate staff development measures.
What do I have to be aware of when enrolling in a doctoral program?
Students can only enroll in a doctoral program if they meet the requirements stipulated in Section 67, Paragraph 4 of the Higher Education Act of North Rhine-Westphalia and can present a certificate from the doctoral admission committee to doctoral studies. However, enrollment is not obligatory to complete a doctorate at RWTH.
Are there special offers for international doctoral candidates?
If you are an international doctoral candidate at RWTH, or you are a visiting scholar spending a period of your doctoral studies at RWTH, you can obtain information and advice from the Welcome Center for International Researchers.
The Center for Doctoral Studies, in cooperation with the International Office and the RWTH Language Center, offers a quota of free German courses especially for international doctoral students wishing to acquire German language skills.
Are there opportunities to network and share ideas?
Once a year, the Rector and the Vice-Rector for Human Resources Management and Development at RWTH invite doctoral candidates and post-docs to the Young Academics Day.
Where can I receive support and advice on my doctoral project?
The following RWTH institutions provide you with advice and assistance:
- Help with psychological problems and advising (Center for Mental Health for Students)
- Balancing doctoral studies and family responsibilities (Equal Opportunities Office, IgaD)
- Diversity & equal opportunities (Equal Opportunities Office, IgaD, disability officers, …)
- Scientific misconduct
- Guidelines for authors
- Group resepresentation for academic staff
- Vice-Rector for Human Resources Management and Development
- Questions on doctoral studies (Faculty Doctorate Offices)
- Scholarships and funding programs