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. More than 200 doctoral researchers are currently doing their doctorate at TH Köln.
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?
Doctorate with PK NRW
Since fall 2022, when the Graduate School for Applied Research in North Rhine-Westphalia (PK NRW) was awarded the right to confer the doctorate, it is also possible to do a doctorate as part of a structured doctoral program of PK NRW. In this case, doctoral researchers are doing their doctorate at TH Köln and they are supervised by a team of PK NRW members. The doctor's degree is confered by PK NRW.
Cooperative individual doctorate
A cooperative individual doctorate is currently still the most common path that doctoral researchers pursue at TH Köln. Here, future doctoral researchers make individual contact with a professor (both at TH Köln and at a university) and conduct their research in a self-organized manner and independently of a set program.
In order to promote young academics, TH Köln has 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?
Doctorate with PK NRW
A general requirement for doctoral studies is an academic degree at Master’s level. PK NRW is organized into different departments that decide on the admission to a doctoral program on an individual basis, if the general requirements are met. Detailed requirements can be found in the doctoral regulations of each department of PK NRW.
Cooperative individual doctorate
The prerequisite for a cooperative doctorate is the cooperative supervision 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:
+ if applicable, 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 doctoral procedure at the TH Köln is a very attractive option for doctoral researchers. 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 the TH Köln website. Look for a person who fits your research project and write or address them with your synopsis.
You can find professors of TH Köln as follows: Go to the German TH Köln homepage, select the appropriate faculty under "Hochschule" > "Fakultäten". On each faculty page you will find a page "Personen (an der Fakultät)" on the left. On this page you can filter for "Professorinnen und Professoren" under "Status".
How do I find a supervisor at a university in Germany or abroad?
In order to find a doctoral supervisor at a university (if you persue a cooperative doctorate), 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.
Which universities does TH Köln cooperate with?
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.
What is the Graduate School for Applied Research in NRW (PK NRW)?
The Graduate School for Applied Research in North Rhine-Westphalia (Promotionskolleg NRW) was established at the end of 2020. 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. As of late, outstanding master's graduates from universities or universities of applied sciences are able to carry out their doctoral projects at PK NRW in close cooperation with the universities. The PK NRW confers the doctor's degree. This is now possible as in fall 2022, after assessment by the Science Council, the State Ministry of Science granted the PK NRW the right to award doctorates.
How does a doctorate with the Graduate School for Applied Research in NRW (PK NRW) work formally?
For doing the doctorate with PK NRW you first need to find a supervisor at PK NRW with whom you conclude a supervision agreement. A template will be provided by PK NRW. Then, you enroll both at PK NRW and the university of your primary supervisor. Further information on the procedure will follow soon.
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 foreign language skills do I need?
As a rule, very good knowledge of English is also recommended for German-language doctorates at 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.