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Individual Doctorate

Philologische Bibliothek der Freien Universität Berlin
Philological library of Freie Universität Berlin Image Credit: FUB / David Ausserhofer

Pursuing an individual doctorate means that you chose an academic advisor (in most cases a professor of the respective department) by yourself and asks him or her to supervise your dissertation. If he or she agrees, you apply for admission to the PhD in the chosen field via the examination office (“Prüfungs- und Promotionsbüro”) of the department your discipline belongs to (“Chemistry” to the department “Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacology”, “Theatre Studies” to the department “Philosophy and Humanities”, “Cultural Anthropology” to the department of “Political and Social Sciences” and so forth).

An individual doctorate generally allows great latitude to determine the topic of the dissertation thesis and to pursue individually defined goals. It’s very fundament is the relationship between the doctoral candidate and his or her advisor(s). But final success will also depend on the integration of your work into the discipline and be alleviated if you manage to keep close contact to your co-fellows in the institute or the research project. Colloquies, organized on a regular basis by your professor, make exchanges with others easy and give you the chance to present yourself, your ideas and your work to other PhD candidates and discuss your progresses with them.

An individual doctorate may be pursued in all disciplines that are represented at Freie Universität by at least one professor. The exceptional broad spectrum of disciplines Freie Universität maintains is a valuable precondition for this option.

To apply for admission to a PhD you will need some documents, among them the supervision agreement (“Betreuungszusage”) signed by your academic advisor. In all cases you will need a certified copy of your university diploma and you should have it ready at hand. The examination office will check whether you meet all formal requirements and, if so, will admit you. All requested documents are listed by the Rules and Regulations of the respective department. Information is provided by the examination offices in charge:

Complete list of examination offices