Phase 1: Graduate Studies

The graduate studies phase provides a combined methodical and practical education in the intended PhD subject area. It consists of lectures, exercises, practical experience, seminars, team work and projects.

In this phase, a professor of the department will be your mentor and help you to plan their studies. Towards the end of this phase, your mentor will also support you in preparing a thesis proposal.

If you are still looking for your research area and an advisor, the graduate studies phase is just right for you.


Depending on your previous coursework, you will spend more or less time in the graduate studies phase. The PhD program is aligned with the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

The PhD board will review your application and determine your personal workload, typically following this scheme:

  • Applicants with a master or equivalent degree in computer science from a German university have already proved their specialist qualification in the subject computer science. They are admitted directly to the doctoral studies phase.
  • Applicants with a master or equivalent degree in computer science from a foreign university may be required to attend further qualification studies courses if their degree is not considered equivalent to a German degree.
  • Applicants with a master or degree from a German university in a different subject must provide proof of or achieve at least 24 extra ECTS credits in computer science at master level.
  • Applicants with a B.Sc. in computer science from a German university and applicants with a B.Sc. in computer science from a University of Applied Sciences who are among the best 5% in their year can be accepted as PhD students after completing qualification studies with 90 ECTS credits.
    If an additional 30 ECTS credits are obtained, a master can also be awarded. The qualification studies course with 120 ECTS credits is different from a standard master's course in that it focuses more on the future research topic and candidates are already individually guided in research by a mentor.
Degree program for graduate studies [more ...]