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PhD In Germany For Indian Students


Germany is a preferred destination for Indian students to do their PhD. About 10% of Germany's international student population comprises PhD students as the country has some of the best research and technical institutions in the world. Usually, state-funded universities in Germany do not have any tuition fees for PhD programmes, while at private universities, you need to pay tuition fees for the same. It usually takes 2-6 years to complete PhD programmes in Germany, and to attract international PhD scholars; the country offers several scholarships.

Benefits of Studying PhD In Germany

  • Germany provides world-class education facilities and is the 3rd best place in the world for education. Hence, after completing a PhD, it'll be easy for you to find employment in Germany and other countries.
  • Several non-university research organisations in Germany perform research-based services and provide research infrastructures to universities. It further enhances the experience of the PhD scholars.
  • Usually, the state-funded universities in Germany do not charge tuition fees for PhD scholars. It significantly reduces the expenses as you have to spend only for your living during your PhD in Germany. However, private universities charge tuition fees up to €3,000/year.
  • Indian students are eligible to obtain scholarships in Germany. It can reduce your educational expenses further. 

TOP Specialisations to Study PhD In Germany

Popular specialisations in PhD among the international students in Germany are:

  • Management
  • Law
  • Computer Science
  • Finance
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Financial Maths
  • Life Science & Health

TOP Universities to Study PhD In Germany

Name of the University/College



QS World Ranking

Technical University of Munich


  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Engineering & Architecture
  • Social Sciences
  • Life Science & Health Sciences


LMU Munich


  • Quantum Science
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Humanities & Cultural Studies
  • Natural Science & Medicines
  • Social & Economics Studies


RWTH Aachen University


  • Mathematica, Computer Science, and Natural Science
  • Architecture
  • Engineering & Technology
  • Management
  • Arts & Humanities
  • Medicine


Humboldt University of Berlin


  • Natural Sciences
  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Engineering & Technology
  • Social Sciences
  • Medical & Health Sciences
  • Humanities


Karlsruhe Institute of Technology


  • Material Science
  • Particle Physics
  • Climate and Environmental Science
  • Biology


University of Göttingen


  • Neuroscience
  • Economics
  • Computer Science
  • Chemistry
  • Physics


Heidelberg University


  • Molecular Life Sciences
  • Patterns and Structure in Mathematics, Data, and the Material World
  • Behavioural and Cultural Studies


 University of Freiburg 

Freiburg im Breisgau

  • Neuroscience and Neuro Technology
  • Biological Signaling Research
  • Functional and Bio-inspired Materials
  • Medicine
  • Civil Security Research
  • Data Analysis and AI
  • Environmental and Sustainability


Free University of Berlin


  • Natural Sciences
  • Life Sciences
  • Humanities & Social Sciences


University of Tübingen


  • AI and Machine Learning
  • Neuroscience
  • Microbiology & Infection Research
  • Geo & Environmental Research
  • Language & Cognition
  • Historical Research
  • Education & Media


Cost of Studying PhD In Germany

State-funded universities do not charge any tuition fees to both domestic and international students. It makes your PhD in Germany a pocket-friendly one. Still, you must pay the administrative costs of your studies every semester, ranging between €200-300 per semester.

Though most universities offer tuition-free programmes, international students need to show proof of financial resources, in addition to the entry requirements set by universities. It ensures that you can finance yourself during your stay in Germany. For this, you need to open a particular bank account called a blocked account with a German bank.

From the 2022 winter semester, the requirement for a blocked account is €11,208/year. Even though the funds will be held in your name, you can't access the whole amount at once; instead, you will receive a monthly allowance into your regular bank account opened at a German bank of your choice. 

Cost of Living in Germany

Though the living cost varies from one person to another depending upon their lifestyle and the location, the average amount ranges between €800-1,000/month.


Amount/Month (In Euro)

Rent & Utilities


Food & Drink




Learning Materials




Health Insurance & Medical Costs




PhD In Germany: Eligibility Criteria

In Germany, different universities have different criteria for admission, as every university is autonomous. Hence, thorough checking of the eligibilities of the programme you are interested in is a must. Check the official website of the university for this.

A master's degree from a recognised Indian university will be treated at par with a German Master's degree. In certain universities, international students may be required to appear for an assessment to prove their eligibility. Several may ask you for TOEFL or IELTS scores to demonstrate your English language proficiency. Further, in a few of them, you may be required to show your German language skill as well—the certificates of TestDaF or DSH will be enough for this. As a PhD scholar, knowing the German language will be a great advantage as it'll aid you in interacting with the locals and exploring the nation's countryside.

Exams Required to Study PhD In Germany


Minimum Score Required






Level II


B2 or C1

Scholarship for PhD in Germany for Indian Students

Scholarship Name



Amount (In Euro)

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Applicants with good academic track record and an excellent English language proficiency will be considered.

Relevant work experience of 2 years, a minimum aggregate of 85% in the prior degree, scorecard of IELTS (band 6) or TOEFL (minimum score 550 paper-based and 80 for internet based). If German is compulsory in your university, then you need to produce a DSH 2 or TestDaF 4 certificate. 


German Research Foundation

To aid scientists and academics to carry out their research projects for a limited time period.

Qualified researchers from all disciplines working at German research institutions are eligible for this scholarship.


Green Talents

The award is intended to honour young researchers from countries conducting sustainable development research.

This grant is available only to international students. Your master’s should not be completed before two years, and the focus area of your research should be sustainable development. Above this, you need an excellent academic track record and good English proficiency.


Georg Forster Research Fellowship

Available for scientists and scholars from developing and transition countries for 6-24 months.

Regardless of your field, your research should address the further development of your region of origin.


Humboldt Research Fellowship 

Available to researchers of all countries other than Germany.

For your application to be successful, you have arrived in Germany, and you may not have lived in Germany for longer than a total of six months within the 18-month period prior to submitting your application. Further, you must have a good knowledge of German or English. 


How to Apply for a PhD In Germany?

Before applying to any German university, you should know a few things about Germany's different types of institutions. Most higher education institutes in Germany fall under either Technical Universities (TUs)/Universities or the University of Applied Sciences. Only TUs and Universities are allowed to award PhD degrees. If you do your PhD at a research organisation or University of Applied Sciences, then it will always be through a partner University/TU that you will get your degree. Hence, before finalising your university, don't forget to check which type of institution it is.

You can either do a structured doctoral program or an individual doctorate course in Germany. For a personal doctorate course, you should contact and convince a supervisor. During the communication with the potential supervisor, share all information about your academic background, performance, and career goal. After that, wait for approval from their side.

On the other hand, for a structured doctoral programme, first of all, decide on which domain you want to carry out your research on and shortlist the universities. Check the selection process of the shortlisted universities as different universities have different selection procedures. 

You may need to submit the following details along with your application:

  • A detailed CV
  • A thesis proposal to the admissions committee
  • SOP
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcript of previous mark sheets
  • Proof of language proficiency
  • Relevant job experience

If the university accepts your application, they will conduct your interview with the admission committee members. If selected in the consultation, you will get a confirmation letter of admission from the university, and now you can apply for a student visa to Germany. Apply for a visa immediately after you get the confirmation of entry, as the process may take at least 25 days. The German Embassy and the Consulates require proof of funding for the first year of studies along with other documents. 

Career After PhD In Germany

An academic career in German universities is a popular option after a PhD. However, these temporary positions can only help if your long-term aim is a professorship. Hence, you should look beyond the university setting if you have a different career aim.

Germany invests a lot in research and development; therefore, several well-equipped research institutes offer excellent options for PhD and postdoc scholars from all fields and backgrounds. You can join as a junior researcher or research group leader in these German research foundations, and starting salaries will be €3,500/month. These positions are also temporary; usually, the contract will be for 2-3 years with a possibility of extension. And the extension period depends upon the funding available from external funding organisations for research.

Apart from this, Germany is a leader in Engineering, Manufacturing and Chemical & Pharma Sectors. Several large companies operating in these sectors offer many research opportunities. Unlike academic research positions, these are permanent contracts. They offer a wide range of activities, such as utilising your expertise to apply innovative solutions and leading a team of researchers.

Other areas that attract PhD graduates are:

  • Government/public sector (such as policy advisors/intelligence analysts)
  • Legal professions (Only for law experts)
  • Finance and banking
  • Charities and NGOs


Average Annual Salary (In Euro) 





Natural Scientist


Computer Scientist


Humanities Scientist


Postdoctoral Researcher


Junior Research Executive


Research Associate



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