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Acquiring a PhD

Please note: Individual doctoral training at the Centre for East Asian Studies does NOT imply any funding or course work. Funding needs to be individually obtained by application to any pertaining domestic or international funding body.

Are you planning to go for a PhD degree? Studying Research ObjectHeidelberg University offers a diverse and inspiring research environment for young academics interested in the field of East Asian Studies. Closely cooperating with the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" as well as through many contacts with international universities and research institutes, the Centre for East Asian Studies is part of a network of researchers from all over the world.

Dissertations at Heidelberg University may be prepared in either German or English language.

Goal of doctoral training

The goal of pursuing doctoral training, which ultimately leads to the title of Doktor (Dr.), is to obtain the skills necessary to successfully carry out independent academic specialized research. Over the course of the doctoral training, the results of the scholarly research carried out are documented in writing the doctoral dissertation. After submission and review of the dissertation, the doctoral candidate has to pass an academic defense, Disputation. During the Disputation, the candidate is examined on the research presented in the dissertation as well as on other topics important to the candidate’s general field of research.


Prerequisite for being accepted as a doctoral student is the completion of one of the following university degrees, with above-average results: Master, Magister, or an equivalent university degree from a German or foreign university in the respective or a comparable field of studies. Students need to prove very good proficiency in English by means of either one of the following:

  • a minimum score of 90 in the internet-based, 230 in the computer-based, or 575 in the paper-based TOEFL 
  • a minimum score of 6.5 in the IELTS 
  • a minimum score of 730 in the TOIEC
  • a CAE
  • a certificate of the language centre of Heidelberg University with "good" (2.0) or better

For general information on doctoral training in Heidelberg, please visit the website of the Graduate Academy and/or refer to the Doctoral Regulations of Heidelberg University.


  • STEP ONE: Find a professor at the respective institute who is willing to act as your supervisor.
    Provide a short summary of your research topic, add copies of your prior degrees, a cv, and names of possible referees. You might be asked to provide additional materials on yourself and your prior studies. You need a letter of acceptance of a supervisor for applying at the faculty for admission.
  • STEP TWO: Apply for admission to the Faculty of Philosophy.
    Please see chapter 3 of the university's  Information Brochure for general information about admissions. Materials needed include:
    • the completed form  “Admission as a Doctoral Candidate” (“Annahme als Doktorand”)
    • your supervisor’s acceptance letter (Betreuungszusage)
    • proof of your completed university degrees (your university diploma and transcript)
    • your planned dissertation topic and a short exposé of the dissertation
    • a curriculum vitae outlining your personal and academic background
    • a declaration of any other previous or current attempts at completing doctoral training

The faculty will decide on your application.


  • STEP THREE (optional): Register as a doctoral student at the University of Heidelberg.
    Please go to chapter 4 of the university's  Information Brochure for more information about registering at the University.

Supervisors and application procedure

First of all, you need to find a doctoral thesis advisor. Please find a list of professors and possible supervisors at the Centre for East Asian Studies here.


Last edited by: SV
Latest Revision: 2024-03-04
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