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A PhD is the next step on the academic ladder. Can you imagine a career at a university or do you prefer research and development departments in companies? Doctorate specialists and managers are in demand in all areas of public and business life. This path is open to graduates of universities of applied sciences in Saxony via the cooperative doctorate model. Please do not hesitate to contact us!

Quick introduction to PhD

According to the Saxon Higher Education Freedom Act (german version), specially qualified graduates of universities of applied sciences (FH/HAW) can also be admitted to doctoral studies in a cooperative doctoral procedure. At present, the HTW Dresden does not have the right to award doctorates; therefore, cooperative doctoral procedures are currently being carried out in cooperation with universities.

The modalities must be clarified with the participating faculty at the HTW Dresden and the cooperating faculty.

IMPORTANT: The cooperative model only applies to graduates of universities of applied sciences. Of course, there are also university graduates who would like to do their doctorate in cooperation with an FH/HAW. However, there is no need for the cooperative model, since they have already fulfilled the formal admission requirements by obtaining their university degree. However, it is also possible here to include an FH/HAW professorship as a second or third supervisor.

It is an individual work in the form of a book, which is dedicated to a concrete topic and which deals with it taking into account the current state of science. This is the most common type of dissertation in Germany. Doctoral students are often firmly involved in a research project - usually funded by third parties.

Alternatively, it is possible to publish individual aspects of a topic in (international) journals and submit them collectively as a dissertation. It is therefore also referred to as a publication or collective dissertation. Each university with the right to award doctorates has its own rules and regulations which are recognised as publication standards. This form of doctorate is particularly suitable for doctoral students who wish to pursue their academic careers: they develop their own publications at an early stage and can network and establish themselves in the professional world.

Many research institutions offer graduate colloquia or doctoral programmes in which the doctoral students are closely accompanied within the framework of an educational programme. This means, on the one hand, close contact to supervising professorships and scientific networks, but also professional qualification and personal development on the basis of a fixed schedule.

If you do not do your doctorate "part-time" in parallel with a permanent job, the path to suitable financing will vary in length. Many parameters play a role: subject area, expected duration, financial requirements, current calls for tenders and projects, contacts, etc. Basically, one can say that there are four variants of financing:


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


  • Combinations of the above-mentioned variants, such as part-time employment and a part-time PhD


As a rule, a scholarship is paid to cover the living expenses during the doctoral phase (or a doctoral period). offers many important information about scholarships.

On the following pages you can get a good overview of potential scholarships:

Student loan


If none of the alternatives mentioned above work, there is the possibility of taking out a student loan, e.g. via KfW.


If you are doing your doctorate cooperatively, you will need two supervisors - one person each at HTW Dresden and at a university. In principle, HTW Dresden does not have the right to award doctorates and therefore the entire administrative process takes place at the cooperating university.

If you already have a concrete supervising professorship in mind, it is best to contact them directly and discuss possible topics. Either you have your own proposal or you can develop a research question together.

However, if it's the other way around and you already have the brilliant idea in your head but lack the right contact person, we recommend the following: Formulate your research area into an abstract. It should contain a brief overview of the state of the art in science and technology you have researched, the research subject itself and a rough idea of how you want to approach the topic. The practical application or possibly affecting property rights can also be considered. There is no limit to the number of pages (some topics only require two pages, other topics require five or more). Please use our website, the research information system or the contact to the research officers of the faculties to identify potential supervisors. Please contact them and introduce yourself with your abstract and, if applicable, a short CV. If you are an alumnus of HTW Dresden, there will certainly be additional suitable points of reference for an interview.

In this case you will have to find a university supervisor, i.e. the right professorship for your topic - either by doing your own research or by arranging contacts with the help of your professorship at HTW Dresden.

In principle, the HTW Dresden has no right to award PhDs and therefore the entire administrative process takes place at the cooperating university.

The first step is to find a university supervisor, i.e. the right professorship for your topic - either by researching it yourself or by establishing contacts with the help of your professorship at the HTW Dresden.

Find out in good time about the PhD regulations of the faculty concerned. Not the university as a whole, but the faculties have the right to award doctorates. This means that each faculty may have different regulations. It is important to make sure whether and what conditions exist for the admission to a cooperative doctorate. In Saxony, graduates of universities of applied sciences and universities are to be treated equally with regard to doctorates. Unfortunately, FH graduates - especially Dipl. (FH) graduates - still have to take exams frequently. The scope is linked, for example, to the grade of the last degree or the subject area occupied. Try to avoid such additional benefits as much as possible or negotiate.

As soon as the framework conditions have been defined and the topic has been concretized, the application for admission to the doctorate follows. This is done at the doctoral committee of the respective faculty. This is a committee that meets regularly and decides whether a topic meets the scientific requirements. Please note that at many universities these committees only meet during the lecture period and therefore have to suspend for a while, especially in summer. As a rule, you will receive confirmation by means of an admission letter, the date of which is the official start date of your doctoral period, even if you have already carried out preliminary work in the form of research.

This is followed by an application for enrolment in a doctoral programme. As a university member, you are thus entitled to use the university's facilities and take advantage of the benefits, e.g. a semester ticket. The regular semester fee is due as long as you are doing your PhD. At most universities, enrolment in such a "degree programme" is linked to qualification offers, access to graduate schools or other services that support students during their doctoral studies.

If you are doing your PhD at the HTW Dresden, you can matriculate as a PhD student. You pay the full semester fee and receive a student ID card.

Advantages: Use of the university infrastructure, semester ticket, student discounts, accident insurance via the HTW Dresden (Please contact your statutory health insurance company for information on insurance cover for doctoral students. Many health insurance companies do not recognise this student status and higher costs are incurred.)

Disadvantage: half-yearly cost burden

The application for matriculation is signed by your supervising professorship and the Prorector for Research and Development and then submitted to the Student Office.

Most universities offer further education and development in the form of graduate academies (or comparable institutions). The disadvantage is often that the university is located in a different city and additional time and costs are incurred although the actual participation is free of charge. There is currently no content associated with the doctoral programme at  HTW Dresden. Since November 2018, however, there has been the Graduate Service, which also offers you new opportunities at the HTW Dresden in terms of information, advice, qualification and networking. Have a look!


If you would like to do your doctorate abroad with a German degree, you should definitely find out whether it is possible to work together 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 get in touch with the respective International Office in order to clarify further general conditions. Many universities offer special opportunities with regard to getting to know the other country, the city and the university as well as support with language barriers.

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

The HTW Dresden offers the following options for the compatibility of family and academic career:

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

The Personnel Department will be happy to advise you on maternity leave and parental leave.

Contact: email

On which topics do we do a PhD?

On which topics do we do a PhD?Overview of PhDs (mainly German)


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