Freie Universität Berlin, one of the nine German universities approved for institutional funding in the federal and state Excellence Initiative, offers various possibilities for highly qualified individuals with a master’s degree or the equivalent to complete a doctorate.
The traditional procedure is to complete a dissertation under the direction of a faculty adviser in the desired field of study. In addition, there is a possibility to complete a doctorate within the framework of a graduate school (Graduiertenschule), a Promotionskolleg, or a research training group (Graduiertenkolleg). In the first case, the potential doctoral candidate needs only to find a professor willing to take on the role of adviser. The other possibilities involve programs with specific application procedures.
Graduate schools, Promotionskollegs, and research training groups all offer structured programs for obtaining a doctorate and are led by groups of professors. It is the objective that graduate students in these programs complete their doctorate within three years.
The university’s Promotionskollegs are primarily of interest for transdisciplinary research themes. This also applies to most of the research training groups sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Both of these types of programs are funded for a specified number of years. The graduate schools of Freie Universität Berlin are set up as long-term institutions under the umbrella of Dahlem Research School.
Qualified applicants to the graduate schools, Promotionskollegs, and research training groups are all eligible to apply for various grants or scholarships.