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Cooperative Doctorate at the HTW Dresden

Are you interested in a career at a university or are you more drawn to research and development departments in companies? Then a doctorate is the next step on your academic ladder. This path is open to graduates of universities of applied sciences in Saxony via the cooperative doctorate model

Legal Framework

Universities of Applied Sciences (HAW) do not have the right to award doctorates. Only universities may award the academic degree "Dr.". However, HAW graduates have access to a doctorate via the cooperative doctorate model. In Saxony - as in many other federal states - this is regulated by the Free State of Saxony Act.

"(4) Universities and universities of applied sciences shall cooperate in the doctoral process for graduates of universities of applied sciences.

(5) 1The details, in particular 1. admission to the doctorate, 2. the suitability assessment procedure, including the criteria for determining additional academic achievements to be made, 3. cooperation with universities of applied sciences, including the participation of university teachers at universities of applied sciences in the cooperative doctorate procedure as supervisors, reviewers or examiners, 4. whether a viva voce examination is to be conducted, shall be regulated by doctoral regulations."

[Excerpt from the SächsHSFG / § 40 sentence 4 and 5]

In practice, this means that professors from HTW Dresden and universities jointly supervise a doctoral project. The submission of the thesis and the disputation take place at the university that awards the doctorate. The research work, on the other hand, can be carried out entirely at HTW Dresden - for example, as part of a research project.


The main legal basis is the doctoral regulations of the faculty at the cooperating university. Therefore, find out about the regulations that apply at your cooperating institution at an early stage.


Before starting your doctoral thesis

If you are doing a cooperative doctorate, you will need two supervisors - one at HTW Dresden and one at a university. If you already have a specific supervising professorship in mind, it is best to contact them directly and agree on possible topics. Either you have your own proposal or you develop a research question together.

However, if it is the other way around and you already have a brilliant idea in mind, but you do not have the right contact person, we recommend the following: Formulate your research area to be worked on into an abstract. Then use our website, the research information system or contact the research officers of the faculties to identify potential supervisors. Contact them and introduce yourself with your abstract and, if applicable, a short CV. If you are an alumnus of the HTW Dresden, there are certainly additional suitable points of reference for an interview.

Then you need to find a university supervisor, i.e. a suitable professorship for your topic - either through your own research or by establishing contacts with the help of your professorship at HTW Dresden.

In the cooperative doctoral model, the framework conditions are defined by the doctoral regulations of the faculty of the cooperating university. This also means that the entire administrative process takes place at the cooperating university - and not at HTW Dresden.

Each faculty may have different regulations. As a UAS graduate, it is important to pay attention to whether and what conditions there are for taking up a cooperative doctorate. In Saxony, graduates of universities of applied sciences and universities are to be treated equally with regard to doctorates. Unfortunately, it is still often the case that UAS graduates - especially Dipl. (FH) - have to make up examination credits. Clarify in advance which additional work must be done on your part. 

As soon as the general conditions have been defined and the topic has been concretized, the application for admission to the doctoral program at the cooperating university follows. The goal is for you to be accepted as a doctoral student at the university (inclusion in the doctoral student list). 

You would like to start a PhD project and are already in discussion with the cooperating university or a potential supervisor? Then it's time to register as a doctoral candidate at HTW Dresden.

Registration as PhD-Interested

Currently we ask for information by e-mail to sophie.tietze(at) The following data are important: name of the doctoral candidate, if applicable supervisor at HTW Dresden, planned start of the doctoral project, if applicable already known cooperating university. 

In the future, a registration by form at the HTW Dresden will be necessary. This will be announced in due time. 

If you are a doctoral student at HTW Dresden, you can also enroll as a doctoral student. In doing so, you pay the semester fee in full and receive a student ID card.

Advantages: Use of the university infrastructure, semester ticket, student discounts, extended qualification offer within the Studium Integrale at the HTW Dresden, accident insurance through HTW Dresden (Please check with your public health insurance about insurance coverage as a PhD student. Many health insurance companies do not recognize this student status and higher costs are incurred).

Disadvantage: half-yearly costs

The application for enrollment is signed by your supervising professor as well as by the Prorector for Research and Transfer and then submitted to the Student Secretariat.

If you are not doing your doctorate "part-time" in parallel with a permanent job, the path to suitable funding varies in length. Many parameters play a role: subject area, expected duration, financial requirements, current calls for proposals and projects, contacts, etc. Basically, it can be said that there are four variants of funding:

  • Employment in a research project
  • Scholarship (national or international)
  • Employment in a company
  • Taking out a student loan.

Securing or applying for funding is done individually by the doctoral student, if necessary with the support of the supervising professor at HTW Dresden. 

Tip: You should plan at least 6 months for the preparation phase of the doctoral project. Especially in the case of project funding, the approval periods of the funding bodies must be observed. 

During your doctoral thesis

During your doctorate, it is recommended that you attend colloquia and qualification courses accompanying your doctorate. The aim is for you to acquire competencies and skills relevant to your doctorate for the preparation of a dissertation. In addition, you can acquire further skills for later managerial activities in business, science and society. 

Most universities offer further training and development within the framework of graduate academies (or comparable institutions). The disadvantage is often that the university is located in another city and additional time and costs are incurred although the actual participation is free of charge. Currently, there is no content associated with the doctoral program at HTW Dresden. The Graduate Service of HTW Dresden provides an overview of current offers and events for graduate students. 

>>> Current offers within the scope of the Graduate Service


If you would like to do a doctorate abroad with a German degree, you should definitely find out whether it is possible to cooperate with a German university - especially a university of applied sciences. Often, however, the FH model is not even known abroad and there are no problems.

Furthermore, you can contact the respective International Office or International Office to clarify further general conditions. Many universities offer special opportunities in terms of getting to know the other country, the city and the university as well as support with language barriers.

If you are in need of specific funding for international travel or guest stays, it is also advisable to talk to the International Office at HTW Dresden. The team knows many possibilities and will be happy to advise you.

HTW Dresden offers the following options for balancing family and academic career:

  • As a doctoral student, the childcare services of the Studentenwerk are open to you.
  • HTW Dresden offers individual working time arrangements, e.g. through part-time models and mobile workplaces, for flexible everyday arrangements with a child.
  • Under the title "family-friendly university", those responsible at HTW Dresden are committed to the constant further development of the compatibility of studies/doctorate/profession and family.

With regard to maternity protection and parental leave, the Human Resources Department will be happy to advise you: familie(at)

>>> Kitas of the Studentenwerk Dresden

>>> Information page on the family-friendly university HTW Dresden

>>> Information on maternity protection and parental leave at HTW Dresden

HTW Dresden aims to make teaching, research and university life inclusive. This also applies to doctoral students with disabilities or chronic illnesses. The following support services are available:

  • PhD students and PhD candidates with disabilities can get support in the form of networking opportunities and peer expertise through the University of Cologne's project "PROMI - PhD inclusive":
    • Networking: a virtual regulars' table for doctoral candidates with disabilities/chronic physical/mental illnesses is held bi-monthly. Current dates will be posted in Graduate Services.
    • Peer support: There are many questions that doctoral candidates and doctoral students with disabilities/chronic physical/mental illnesses have and for which they cannot find answers in books or on the Internet. The PhD students from the project "PROMI - PhD inclusive" offer to support you with their experiences. If you are interested in an exchange or have any questions, please feel free to send an email with a short description of your concern to promi-projekt(at)
  • Doctoral students with disabilities at HTW Dresden receive support services via the Representative for Severely Disabled Persons. Current representatives and information can be found in the internal area.
  • Under the title "inclusive university", those responsible at HTW Dresden are committed to improving inclusion. Information on the topics of barrier-free campus, mentally fit studying, technical aids and more can be found bundled on the website in the equal opportunities section.


>>> Information page on the topic of equal opportunities, accessibility and inclusion at the HTW Dresden

>>> Representative for severely disabled persons at HTW Dresden

>>> Project page "PROMI - Promotion included 

Our Services

Do you have questions or are you interested in a doctorate at HTW Dresden? We are here for you with the following offers:

  • Advice on financing options and general conditions for doctoral studies
  • Support in obtaining scholarships
  • Organization of the Dr. Stammtisch as a networking format
  • Information and advice on the Young Scientists Award
  • Communication on upcoming events and funding for doctoral students
  • Support of the graduate service and the postdoc program of the HTW Dresden


M.A. Sophie Tietze

Research Coordinator

M.A. Sophie Tietze


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