Admission to the Doctorate

Finding a supervisor and getting in contact

The first step to a doctorate is to find a supervisor for your project. Potential supervisors at Leuphana University of Lüneburg are professors who are experts in their field, and who research and teach on the Masters programmes at Leuphana University of Lüneburg. Your thesis topic must correspond to the research profile of your potential supervisor, and you are responsible for initial contact. You should therefore bring a brief proposal outlining your research idea to your first meeting.

The professors are attached to the faculties and institutes at Leuphana. You can access the professors' pages by searching for "People" on the faculty websites. These pages generally list the professors' current research and publications, and will give you an idea of whether they are researching in a relevant field for your proposed topic. You can also contact the student counselling service at the Graduate School with any questions.

Narrowing down the topic

You choose the topic for your thesis. It must be related to one of the Leuphana research fields, and to the subjects taught at our faculties. The first step is to contact your potential supervisor; at your first meeting, you should already have a rough proposal outlining your research idea. You will find potential supervisors for your subject in the doctoral research group or the relevant faculties.


The proposal is a description of your doctoral project of no more than five pages, and should include the provisional title of your thesis that you have agreed in preliminary meetings with your supervisor. Your proposal should outline your project in more detail, in part by answering the following questions: What question are you seeking to explore? What methods will you use? What is the current state of the art? What is the key literature?

Supervisor’s confirmation

You will receive a written statement from your supervisor in which they agree to supervise you. This statement does not need to follow any set form, but should include an assessment of your academic qualifications, your thesis project and if applicable subject relevance. The statement is one of the documents that you then submit with your application.

Semester contribution

For the winter semester 2019/2020, the following contributions are payable at Leuphana University of Lüneburg for:

  • Studentenwerk contribution: 104.00 Euro

  • Student body contribution: 178,32 Euro (includes "Lower Saxony Ticket" = € 161.32, incl. Kulturticket, city bike and € 17.00 contribution towards student council and administration)
  • Contribution towards administrative expenses 75.00 Euro
  • Total: 357,32 Euro

These fees are payable upon registration or re-registration for the following semester. The amounts should be transferred to

IBAN: DE 26 2505 0000 0199 916 917
Credit institute: Norddeutsche Landesbank Hannover
Purpose of use: student ID (or applicant number)
surname, name

University degree

Students applying for a doctorate should have a Diplom, Magister or Masters degree, or have passed the 1st or 2nd Staatsexamen examination. Students must have passed their first degree with at least "gut" ("good"), i.e. better than 2.6.

For the first or second law Staatsexamen examination, a final grade of at least "befriedigend" ("satisfactory") is required.

Please make sure that your final grade and the grade for your Masters or Magister dissertation or Examensarbeit is clearly stated on your certificates/transcripts.

Language skills

No proof of proficiency in German is required for admission to the doctoral programmes. You can write your thesis either in German or in English. However, some of the doctoral programme classes are held in German. We therefore strongly recommend that you acquire the necessary level of German before commencing your doctorate (e.g. DSH level 2 or TestDaF). You can also attend the International Office's Summer University to bring your German up to the required level, and the Language Centre can provide more information on the German classes on offer.

Good English is only required for doctorates at the Faculties of Sustainability and Business & Economics. The following are accepted as proof of English proficiency:

  • At least 85 points in an Internet-based TOEFL test
  • At least 785 points in a TOEIC test
  • An IELTS 5.5 test
  • A Cambridge Advanced Certificate of English (CAE), Grade C or higher
  • Modules taken and passed as part of a higher education degree that are worth at least 30 CPs (ECTS) and were taught and assessed exclusively in English
  • A degree in English
  • A certificate from an English-medium school that qualifies the student to study in that English-speaking country

Students who hold a Masters from the Leuphana Graduate School do not need to provide proof of English proficiency. The doctoral board may accept alternative, equivalent proof of English proficiency in individual cases.

The TOEIC test can be taken at the Centre for Modern Languages (ZeMoS). We recommend taking the placement test to get an idea of your level before preparing for the TOEIC. The Language Centre also offers two-week preparatory courses and consultations. Leuphana cannot cover the fees for the test. You will find all the information you need about the TOEIC test on the Language Centre pages.

Proof of proficiency in English must be provided by the end of the third semester at the latest.

Supervisor’s confirmation

You will receive a written statement from your supervisor in which they agree to supervise you. This statement does not need to follow any set form, but should include an assessment of your academic qualifications, your thesis project and if applicable subject relevance. The statement is one of the documents that you then submit with your application.


There are no deadlines for doctoral applications. Candidates can submit their applications at any time for the current semester or subsequent semesters.

Application form

The application form available here and all accompanying documents required must be sent by post to Student Services. Applications cannot be submitted by e-mail.

- Application form for admission as a doctoral candidate

Ethics Guidelines

The "Guidelines for Ensuring Good Academic Practice and Dealing with Academic Misconduct at Leuphana University of Lüneburg" ("Richtlinie zur Sicherung guter wissenschaftlicher Praxis und zum Verfahren zum Umgang mit wissenschaftlichem Fehlverhalten der Leuphana Universität Lüneburg") or "Ethics Guidelines" set out by the Senate and the Presidential Committee, define the framework for good academic practice.

- Ethics guidelines

Doctoral regulations

You should read the doctoral regulations carefully as they are the legal basis for your doctorate. The doctoral regulations set out in detail the applicable prerequisites and procedures for doctorates at Leuphana University of Lüneburg.

Letter of acceptence and enrollment

Your application will be assessed by Student Services and passed on to the competent doctorate commissions by the dean's office for the relevant faculty. The commissions generally meet at least twice a semester to decide on admissions. Decisions are made on the basis of academic criteria and there are no quotas or limits. You will hear within around 2-3 months (depending on when the competent doctoral commison meets) from either the dean's office or Student Services on whether your application has been successful.

If you have been accepted, all you need to do is complete the formal enrolment process at Student Services. You will then receive your student card and semester ticket. Your acceptance letter will state the deadline for enrolment; it is usually 14 days from receipt of the letter.

Create or update a myStudy account

Please find information on creating a myStudy-account here

More information on how to update an already exsiting account will be available shortly.

Entry and residence

Doctoral candidates from abroad should check the immigration and visa regulations as soon as they start considering studying here. Please note that the following information is a general guide only: please check with the competent authorities for the binding requirements.

Visa Regulations

In ge­ne­ral, for­eign na­tio­nals who wish to stu­dy in Ger­ma­ny must ap­p­ly for a stu­dent visa in or­der to en­ter Ger­ma­ny. Do not en­ter Ger­ma­ny with a tou­rist visa be­cau­se it can­not be chan­ged into a stu­dent visa.

Na­tio­nals of EU-coun­tries, Is­land, Liech­ten­stein, Nor­way and Swit­z­er­land do not need a visa.

Ci­ti­zens from coun­tries that are ex­emp­ted from the EU visa re­gu­la­ti­ons, such as Aus­tra­lia, Bra­sil, Ca­na­da, Is­ra­el, Ja­pan, New Ze­a­land, Re­pu­blic Ko­rea and USA, may en­ter Ger­ma­ny wi­thout a visa, but must ap­p­ly for a re­si­dence per­mit wi­t­hin two weeks upon ar­ri­val.

Visa ap­p­li­ca­ti­ons must be made well in ad­van­ce at the com­pe­tent Ger­man em­bas­sy or con­su­la­te in the home coun­try. The re­le­vant lo­cal of­fice for for­eign na­tio­nals in Ger­ma­ny, e.g. Lüne­burg, must ap­pro­ve the ap­p­li­ca­ti­on and the Ger­man em­bas­sy or con­su­la­te is not al­lo­wed to is­sue a visa pri­or to this ap­pro­val. The­re­fo­re, it might take up to 3 months from ap­p­li­ca­ti­on date to is­sue date.

Plea­se check de­tails re­gar­ding the ap­p­li­ca­ti­on pro­cess and ac­com­pany­ing do­cu­ments with your com­pe­tent Ger­man em­bas­sy/​con­su­la­te!

For­eign na­tio­nals can also ob­tain a visa that is va­lid for the ent­i­re du­ra­ti­on of their stay in Ger­ma­ny. In this case, no ap­p­li­ca­ti­on for an elec­tro­nic tit­le of re­si­dence (eAT) is ne­cessa­ry. Plea­se con­tact your con­su­la­te to find out more about this op­ti­on.

For fur­ther and fre­quent­ly up­dated in­for­ma­ti­on, plea­se vi­sit the web­sites of your com­pe­tent con­su­la­te or of the Federal Foreign Office.

Health Insurance

In Ger­ma­ny health in­suran­ce is com­pul­so­ry. The­re­fo­re, in­ter­na­tio­nal stu­dents must pro­vi­de pro­of of ade­qua­te health in­suran­ce co­ver­age du­ring their stay in Ger­ma­ny. Travel insurance will not be accepted!

Stu­dents from coun­tries that have si­gned the Trea­ty on Health Care Ab­road must only pro­vi­de pro­of of health in­suran­ce in their home coun­try and along their elec­tro­nic health in­suran­ce card/​AT 11. Plea­se note that for working du­ring the stu­dy pe­ri­od a pu­blic health in­suran­ce in ger­ma­ny is com­pul­so­ry for all stu­dents, even for EU ci­ti­zens.

Stu­dents from other coun­tries can take out pu­blic stu­dent health in­suran­ce in Ger­ma­ny at a cost of 105 eu­ros per month. It can be ar­ran­ged in ad­van­ce on­line. Al­ter­na­tive­ly it is pos­si­ble to en­ter Ger­ma­ny with a tra­vel in­suran­ce and take out health in­suran­ce wi­t­hin se­ven days af­ter ar­ri­val. For­eign health in­suran­ce will usual­ly not be ac­cep­ted ex­cept if un­li­mi­ted co­ver­age is gua­ran­te­ed. In spe­ci­fic ca­ses stu­dents can be ex­cu­sed from the health in­suran­ce com­pul­so­ry. Stu­dents aged over 30 must take out pri­va­te health in­suran­ce wi­t­hin the first week upon ar­ri­val

Plea­se find more in­for­ma­ti­on on the Ger­man health in­suran­ce sys­tem here .

Registration of Residence

All in­ter­na­tio­nal stu­dents, in­clu­ding tho­se who do not need a visa, must re­gis­ter their place of re­si­dence in Lüne­burg with the lo­cal Re­gis­tra­ti­on Of­fice.

The re­gis­tra­ti­on of ex­ch­an­ge stu­dents will be ef­fec­ted du­ring the ori­en­ta­ti­on week. Plea­se re­gis­ter on your own, if you ar­ri­ve ear­lier.

The fol­lo­wing do­cu­ments are ne­cessa­ry for re­gis­tra­ti­on:

Plea­se note that you must give no­ti­ce of your de­par­tu­re.

Residence Permit

A visa al­lows you to en­ter Ger­ma­ny and to stay for a ma­xi­mum of 90 days. If you will stay for a lon­ger pe­ri­od of stu­dy you must ap­p­ly for a re­si­dence per­mit at the lo­cal of­fice for for­eign na­tio­nals wi­t­hin 2 weeks upon ar­ri­val in Ger­ma­ny. The elec­tro­nic tit­le of re­si­dence (eAT) will be is­sued as a do­cu­ment in credit card for­mat wi­t­hin 4 to 6 weeks. Plea­se note that you are not al­lo­wed to lea­ve and re-en­ter Ger­ma­ny un­til you have re­cei­ved the eAT. The cost for the eAT amounts to 100 eu­ros for a pe­ri­od of stay up to 12 months.

To ap­p­ly for the eAT, stu­dents need the fol­lo­wing do­cu­ments:

  • Fully completed and signed application for a title of residence
  • Valid passport including visa (with a validity period of at least 6 months or preferably one year)
  • 1 up-to-date biometric passport-size photo
  • Letter of acceptance and confirmation of registration issued by Leuphana University of Lüneburg
  • Proof of blocked bank account (e.g. Fintiba, X-patrio, Deutsche Bank) with the complete amount (4350 € per semester).
  • Proof of unlimited health insurance coverage in German

The In­ter­na­tio­nal Of­fice will as­sist you in ap­p­ly­ing for the eAT wi­t­hin the scope of the ori­en­ta­ti­on week.