Department of Mathematics

The Ph.D.-Degree (Dr. rer. nat.)

The programme

The German programme markedly differs from the perhaps more familiar programmes at American or British universities. Here are its main features:

  • The German Ph.D.-degree requires only work on the thesis. No course work needs to be done.
  • Most of the thesis work is done in guided self-study, with weekly seminars being the main formal venue of academic exchange. Accordingly, the completion of a Ph.D.-degree within 3 years necessitates a significant level of mathematical maturity from the beginning on.
  • Once the thesis has been accepted, the candidate has to defend his/her work in a public oral examination that also touches upon questions concerning mathematical disciplines that are not directly related to the thesis topic.


Students who are interested obtaining their Ph.D.-degree at Kiel should contact their potential advisor prior to formally applying for admittance.


Each professor has a number of Ph.D.-positions at his disposal. The stipend of these positions, which carry a teaching load of 2 hours per week along with office hours, is about €1,100 per month. Accordingly, these positions usually require a good command of German. Most of the international Ph.D.-students in Kiel are funded by scholarships from their home countries, or by German foundations (such as the German academic exchange service (DAAD)).