How do I become a doctoral student?

Acceptance into a doctoral programme requires meeting certain admission criteria. One primary requirement is identifying a professor who agrees to supervise your thesis, and will need to provide documentation confirming this agreement (Supervision Agreement).

If you would like to become a doctoral candidate, one option is to become a research associate. In this case, you work for a professor and in addition to your research, take on responsibilities such as teaching and supervising seminar papers as well as bachelor and master theses. Vacancies for research associate positions are advertised by the respective professorships. If you are hired as a research associate, the respective chair holder becomes your doctoral supervisor.

In addition to working as a research associate, it is also possible to become a doctoral candidate by joining a Research Training Group (RTG) or a doctoral programme that is financed by a third party, such as the German Research Foundation. In a Research Training Group there are usually no teaching duties, but you may be expected to supervise students' seminar papers and theses. Vacancies for positions in RTGs are advertised publicly. For an overview of current RTGs and doctoral programmes of the Göttingen Graduate School of Social Sciences (GGG), click here.

You also have the option of doing your doctorate alongside your (external) job or financing your doctoral studies with scholarships from organisations and foundations, for example. In this case, too, you need the approval of a professor to supervise you as well.

A young woman sits at a table in a library reading a book.


Faculty of Business and Economics
Office of the Dean of Studies

What former doctoral students say

  • Portrait photo of Jan Christoph Hennig. He is wearing a black jacket and a white shirt.

    „During my doctorate, I particularly appreciated the diversity of my activities: from analytical and conceptual thinking in the development of research ideas to interaction with students in teaching and interesting insights into the business world as part of cooperation projects. This time was enhanced by an open (not always only subject-related) exchange with colleagues around the chair and the faculty, but also in the context of conference trips.“

    Dr. Jan Christoph Hennig,

    Assistant Professor at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands

  • Portrait photo of Tim Nierobisch. He is wearing a blue suit and a white shirt.

    „If you have the opportunity to pursue a doctorate directly after your master's degree, then you should take it! A doctorate is no guarantee of future success. However, a doctorate opens up more options and opportunities in life. Without the doctorate, I wouldn't be able to pursue my true vocation today. I was only able to identify this in retrospect - thanks to my time as doctoral student at the Chair of Marketing and Retail Management.“

    Dr. Tim Nierobisch,

    Professor of General Business Administration & Retail Management at the DHSH University of Applied Sciences (Duale Hochschule Schleswig-Holstein)

  • Portrait photo of Sebastian Ludorf. He is wearing a checked tweed jacket and a grey shirt.

    „The doctorate helped me a lot when I started my career and, in retrospect, was probably the deciding factor. At the time, diligent virtually created a new position for me in the company. The doctorate certainly also had a positive effect on my subsequent career progression.“

    Dr. Sebastian Ludorf,

    Managing Director of the Hungarian subsidiary, partner and authorised signatory of diligent technology & business consulting AG