Thank you for your interest in doing a doctorate and welcome to Graduate Center!
TH Köln has particularly specialized researchers and very good basic equipment for many research areas - alltogether optimal conditions for a doctorate. Please be aware that doctoral projects can only be carried out in cooperation with a university. Over 190 doctoral candidates are currently doing their doctorate at TH Köln as part of a cooperative doctorate.
Doctorate - yes or no?
In addition to aspects such as the formal requirements for a doctorate at TH Köln, the financing and the different options for doing a doctorate, the focus is on the question of whether you can imagine dealing with a topic for several years. We are happy to support you in your decision-making with our event "Ways to a Doctorate", which takes place 1-2 times a year, as well as through personal advice at Graduate Center service desk.
What types of doctorate are there at TH Köln?
A cooperative individual doctorate is currently the most common path that doctoral researchers pursue at TH Köln. Here, future doctoral candidates make individual contact with a professor (both at TH Köln and at a university) and write their research in a self-organized manner and independently of a set program.
In order to promote young academics, TH Köln has currently established doctoral colloquia and doctoral programs as a support structure at the faculty level in addition to the individual doctorate. In addition, TH Köln is involved in a number of publicly funded doctoral colleges as part of a structured doctoral training program.
What requirements do I have to meet in order to do a doctorate?
Since TH Köln does not have an independent right to award doctorates according to NRW University Future Act, you can only do a doctorate at TH Köln as part of a cooperative doctorate. The prerequisite for this is the cooperative supervision of the doctorate by supervisors at TH Köln and at a university. In order to start a doctorate, you must meet the formal requirements in accordance with the doctoral regulations of the cooperating university that apply to you and, as a rule, have an academic degree at Master’s level.
Please check the relevant doctoral regulations of the cooperating university for the respective requirements regarding the degree and any additional requirements.
How long does a doctorate take?
The duration of doctoral research is very individual and subject-specific. The vast majority of doctoral procedures are completed within 2.5 to 6 years. You may have to plan additional time for the initiation of a cooperative doctoral procedure.
Can I do a doctorate part-time?
A part-time doctorate is generally possible, but requires additional planning and, if necessary, coordination with your employer.
How expensive is a doctorate?
The costs for a doctorate can vary greatly, depending on the individual project. You should plan the following costs for your doctoral project:
+ Semester fee for the cooperating university - the obligation to enroll and the amount of the fee are determined by the universities themselves, therefore no general information can be given here.
+ if applicable, the semester fee of TH Köln (if you are not a research assistant at TH Köln)
+ technical literature, special software, etc.
+ travel expenses for conferences, meetings with supervisors, possibly stays abroad
+ costs for (online) publications
Topic and supervision
How do I come up with a dissertation topic?
Ideally, your dissertation topic comes from a subject area for which you are sufficiently qualified and which interests you. It may be useful to deepen the topic of your thesis or you develop an idea against the background of a seminar you have attended. Discuss your idea with scientists in this field and coordinate with your potential supervisors.
Why shoud I choose TH Köln for my doctorate?
Since TH Köln has particularly specialized researchers and very good basic equipment for many research areas, a cooperative doctoral procedure at the TH Köln is a very attractive option for doctoral candidates. With Graduate Center of TH Köln you also have a central point of contact: In addition to the possibility of personal advice in cooperation with the faculties, the doctoral colleges of TH Köln and other institutions, we offer you a doctoral program for external qualifications as well as a variety of networking opportunities.
How do I find a supervisor at TH Köln?
In order to find a doctoral supervisor at TH Köln, we recommend that you first write an exposé (brief description of your project) on your doctoral idea. The professors of all faculties are listed on TH Köln website. Look for a person who fits your research project and write or address them with your synopsis.
How do I find a supervisor at a university in Germany or abroad?
In order to find a doctoral supervisor at a university, we recommend that you first write an exposé (brief description of your project) on your doctoral idea. Look for universities that offer a suitable research focus in your area. Then contact the person who fits your research project and clarify whether the scientist is interested in supervising your doctorate. If you already have a supervisor at TH Köln, ask them about suitable colleagues who could supervise the cooperative doctorate at a university.
With which universities does TH Köln cooperate?
In general, collaborations with any university that is eligible for a doctorate are possible worldwide.
A mediation to a university through which the cooperative doctoral procedure can be carried out is usually not possible on the part of the administration of TH Köln. However, some professors at TH already have good contact with colleagues at universities with whom, in the best case, they have already jointly supervised a doctorate.
Of course, you can also use your own contacts or networks to find the right university for a cooperative doctorate.
How does a cooperative doctorate work formally?
After you have found a supervisor at TH Köln and at the cooperating university, you conclude a cooperation agreement. This regulates the rights and obligations of all those involved during the doctoral process - you can find templates in German and English here:
What is the doctoral college in North Rhine-Westphalia (Promotionskolleg NRW)? How can I do my doctorate there?
The doctoral college for applied research in North Rhine-Westphalia (Promotionskolleg NRW) was established at the end of 2020. The PK NRW emerges from Graduate Institute NRW (GI NRW), which was founded in 2016 to strengthen cooperative doctorates from universities of applied sciences (HAW) and universities. In the future, outstanding master's graduates from universities of applied sciences are to carry out their doctoral projects there in close cooperation with the universities. The Promotionskolleg NRW will award the doctoral degree. The prerequisite is that State Ministry of Science (Wissenschaftsministerium) grants the Doctoral College NRW the right to award doctorates after assessment by the Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) - probably at the beginning of 2022.
What foreign language skills do I need?
As a rule, very good knowledge of English is also recommended for German-language doctorates in cooperation with German universities, in order to be able to exchange ideas internationally and to be able to follow the English scientific literature.
In cooperation with foreign universities, the doctorate is usually carried out in the respective official language or English.
As a doctoral candidate at TH Köln, you have the opportunity to take advantage of the courses offered by the language learning center.
Must I enroll as a doctoral candidate?
Doctoral candidates who are employed as research assistants at TH Köln are free to enroll at TH Köln. All other doctoral candidates must enroll at TH Köln as soon as they have found a supervisor at TH Köln and the university.
Graduate Center was founded in 2016 with the aim of ensuring high-quality qualification for doctoral candidates and the promotion of young academics after their doctorates. Show more
Portraits of doctoral researchers
All about the doctoral program at TH Köln: On this page we regularly present cooperative doctorates at TH Köln, doctorates by our academic staff and external doctorates that are co-supervised by professors from TH Köln. Show more
Graduate School for Applied Research in North Rhine-Westphalia (Promotionskolleg NRW)
The Graduate School for Applied Research in North Rhine-Westphalia (Promotionskolleg NRW) was founded in December 2020. It has emerged from Graduierteninstitut NRW (GI NRW) which was founded in 2016 to strengthen and promote cooperative doctorates from universities of applied sciences (HAW) and universities.