Springe direkt zu Inhalt


No, unfortunately not. You have to submit the original of the supervisory agreement. And you have to produce the original MA and BA certificates or supply certified copies. If you present the original certificates, simple copies can be included in your file.


The Central Institutes cannot confer doctoral degrees, only the departments can do that. If you have completed a Master´s programme in one of the Central Institutes and/or wish to write a doctoral thesis with a focus on regional topics, however, a professor or senior lecturer from one of the Central Institutes can act as your supervisor. This is due to the fact that the professors and senior lecturers there have a double membership in the respective Central Institute and - according to their area of expertise - in one of the departments of the Freie Universität Berlin.

You need to decide on the subject you wish to do your doctorate in and then apply for admission as doctoral candidate in the Department your subject belongs to. If your chosen field is Anthropology, Political Science or Sociology, it is affiliated with our Department.

For the doctoral procedure as such there is no selection process for a limited number of places. Nor are there deadlines. If you meet the prerequisites for admission as doctoral candidate and have found a supervisor for your doctoral project, you may apply for the admission as doctoral candidate at any given time.

If you wish to do a structured doctorate and complete the programme of one of the Graduate schools, however, you need apply for a place in the respective Graduate School as well, meet their criteria and observe their deadlines.

The full, associate and honorary professors as well as the senior lecturers of the department can act as supervisors for doctoral projects. Full professors are those who are currently employed as professors in the department, whether they are tenured, junior or visiting professors and the professors who have a double membership in the department and in one of the Central Institutes. Associate or honorary professors and senior lecturers (Privatdozent*innen) are not employed by the Freie Universität Berlin.

In addition to that, select members of institutions our department have a cooperation agreement with and - in well-founded exceptional cases - professors who are not or are no longer members of the faculty (eg. retired professors) are authorized to supervise doctoral projects.

You will find detailed information in the regulations for the conduct of doctoral examinations (Promotionsordnung) as well as on the homepages of the institutes and Central Institutes.

Please be advised that according to § 4(2) of the regulations for the conduct of doctoral examinations your doctoral project must be supported by at least one of the full professors of our department. In case your supervisor is a full professor him- or herself, no further action is necessary. If not, you will need to find a full professor who supports your doctoral project in addition to your supervisor. Ideally the supervisor should also be willing to act as second assessor of your doctoral thesis.

That depends on whether you file your application during the lecture period or in the lecture-free priod. If you submit a complete set of documents during the lecture period, you will receive an answer within two or three weeks. During the lecture-free period the Committee for Doctoral Examinations meet less frequently and you should allow for a processing time of about six weeks.

That depends on whether you are employed by the Freie Universität Berlin. If you are not an employee, registration as doctoral student in the Student Records and Registration Office within a period of four weeks after having been admitted as doctoral candidate is mandatory. Failing to register would render your admission void and you would have to re-apply for admission.

Employees of the Freie Universität Berlin are being asked to register, but are under no obligation to do so.

This degree can only be conferred if you have completed the programme of one of the Graduate Schools of the Freie Universität Berlin. If you have been accepted as doctoral student in a Graduate School and would like to receive the academic degree Ph.D. (instead of the German grade Dr. phil. or Dr. rer. pol.), please tick the respective boxes in the application forms for the admission to and opening of the doctoral procedure. 

Proof of having successfully completed the Graduate School has to be submitted to the Early Career Support on the day of your defense latest. Your doctoral certificate will be issued as soon as possible after the defense and if you have not delivered proof of having completed the programme of your Graduate School by then the certificat will bear the German doctoral degree.

No. The Freie Universität Berlin do not levy a fee on tuition. You will merely have to pay a small registration fee and may choose between registration with or without a semester ticket (covers public transport in the city area).

Only in a limited sense. If you are employed as research assistant, the Freie Universität Berlin expect you to do a doctorate. But that does not mean that the admission as doctoral candidate would imply a job offer. The vast majority of doctoral candidates are not employed by the Freie Universität Berlin.

You are obliged to attend courses if you wish to complete the programme of one of the Graduate Schools or if the Committee for Doctoral Examinations have granted admission as doctoral candidate prior to the condition that you complete specific modules in order to broaden your knowledge in the chosen field. And your supervisor may make regular attendance of her/his colloquium for doctoral candidates a prerequisite for her/his continuing commitment. Apart from that you are under no obligation to attend courses.

But you might wish to participate in lectures or courses you deem interesting or helpful for your project and you are free to do so as long as you have the prior consent of the lecturer.


The regulations for the conduct of doctoral examinations define a core period of three years in which you are expected to write your doctoral thesis and assume that the doctoral procedure (assessment and defense included) will be completed after four years. This is why your registration period is limited to four years.

Quite a few doctoral candidates, however, find themselves unable to meet the three-year-deadline, be it due to professional duties or for family reasons. Should it become apparent that you will not be able to finish the work on your thesis within the allotted time, please apply to the Committee for Doctoral Examinations to extend the working period for your doctoral thesis. If it is the first extension you are applying for you just need to state an estimate for the time you still need to finish your thesis. For any further extension you will have to submit proof of the status of your work and a supporting statement from your supervisor. Graduate School students should never forget to get in touch with their Graduate School and find out whether they need to file an application there as well.

If the Committee for Doctoral Examinations grant the requested extension you will receive a letter of extension you have to provide the Student Records and Registration Office with. Then your registration period will be amended accordingly.  

You are of course welcome to submit your doctoral thesis in person but you do not have to. You may as well send us the six printed an bound copies of your thesis, the electronic one on a data medium and your application form for the opening of the doctoral thesis in a parcel. Please make sure that you have the consent of your prospective second assessor as well as that of the further three members of your doctoral commission before you propose them for respective capacity in your application form.

Your doctoral commission and particularly the chair person is expected to do that. The chair person will arrange a date for the defense in accordance with the doctoral candidate and the other members of the commission. When date and place are agreed upon he or she will invite everyone for the occasion. You are of course allowed to assist the chair person in doing so.

At all events on the premises of the Freie Universität Berlin. The department´s conference room is used very frequently for these occasions. And the institutes or Central Institutes have their own conference or seminar rooms which are often used for oral examinations as well. Rooms have to be booked by a member of the faculty, preferably the chair of your doctoral commission.

Yes, you may, provided you have obtained prior consent of the respective doctoral candidate.

If you´d like to sit in on a defense, please get in touch with the Early Career Support. You will be provided with the email addresses of the doctoral candidates whose defenses will take place in the near future and can ask them. Since the doctoral candidates have the right to exclude the public from their defense and should not be pressurized into revising their decision, the candidates themselves will inform you of time and place of their defense - if they agree with your participation.

Upon submission of the mandatory copies to the Hochschulschriftenstelle (a division of the university library), you will be provided with a receipt confirming that you have met the duty to publish your work. As soon as you can provide the Early Career support with this receipt, your doctoral certificate will be handed over to you or sent by post, according to your preference. The doctoral certificate and the academic degree Dr. phil., Dr. rer. pol. or Ph.D. will be conferred simultaneously.

Please note that according to a directive issued by the Legal Department of the Freie Universität Berlin, the mere submission of a contract agreed with a publishing house does not constitute sufficient reason to confer doctoral certificate and academic degree.

No, the use of the degree Dr. des. (Doctor designatus) is strictly forbidden for our alumni. Whether the degree Dr. des. is conferred is at the universities´ discretion and the Freie Universität Berlin have decided against it.

You will have to do that in the Dissertations Department (Hochschulschriftenstelle) of the Freie Universität Berlin, a division of the University Library. The Dissertations Department will monitor whether you have met the regulations for the publication of your doctoral thesis and will inform the other university libraries in Germany about the publication. And they will issue a receipt confirming the execution of your publication duties after you have submitted the mandatory copies of your thesis to them.

Please read the information provided on the web pages (guidelines, regulations etc.) of the Dissertations Department very carefully and make sure that the published version of your thesis will meet all the requirements. Otherwise you would run the risk that the copies will be rejected.

No, you may take all formatting decisions - eg. on type faces and –sizes, margins or line heights according to your own preferences. Likewise you are free to choose the type of paper, double-sided or single-sided print and binding method. You just have to meet the minimal requirements regarding the title page, cover page and appendix in § 7(5) of the regulations for the conduct of doctoral examinations.