In 2018, Freie Universität Berlin will continue its privileged cooperation with the China Scholarship Council (CSC) and is again offering a number of open positions in a variety of research areas for CSC candidates.
The following information is focused on high-qualified Chinese students who are interested in a PhD study abroad and who want to apply for a CSC Scholarship in March 2018.
Before you consider to apply to the FUB Beijing Office for a PhD position, please read carefully the information about the eligibility criteria and rules of a CSC Scholarship, available online at www.csc.edu.cn.
1. Individual PhD studies
under the direct supervision of one professor who is an expert in a given research area ("Apprentice Model").
The PhD student could be described as research assistant who works independently in a certain field of research. At present, the majority of German and international doctoral students at Freie Universität Berlin follow this model. Generally speaking, any professor of Freie Universität can supervise PhD candidates.The FUB-CSC PhD Program is for individually supervised PhD students on the projects of professors in a wide range of subject areas.
- Please check the list with individual PhD positions for application to the FUB-CSC program 2018
- Application process and counselling are arranged by the FUB-Beijing Office.
2. Structured PhD Programs
There are a variety of Graduate Schools (GS) and Research Training Groups (RTG) focusing on interdisciplinary research. PhD studies can be undertaken within structured training program.
- Some PhD programs are offered by Graduate Schools, jointly organized by Berlin universities (FU Berlin, TU Berlin, HU Berlin) i.e. Berlin Mathematical School.
- Questions will be answered directly by the program coordinators in Berlin.
- Application process and counselling are arranged by the FUB-Beijing Office.
Please check the list of structured PhD programs at FUB.
The two possibilities correspond to two different ways of perfoming PhD studies. Please read the section on General Information About PhD Studies at Freie Universität Berlin for details.
NOTE: The doctoral degree/PhD degree awarded is the same for both types of doctoral studies!
Please check the requirements and rules for a CSC scholarship and read carefully the information given by the China Scholarship Council.
Scheme 1 (Full-time PhD study)
Scholarships for a PhD project pursued at Freie Universität Berlin and leading to a doctoral degree of Freie Universität
Scheme 2 (Part-time PhD research stay)
Scholarships for a doctoral program following the so-called "Sandwich Model"
English Certificate: IELTS certificate with an overall rating of 6.5 (no module below 5.5) OR TOEFL iBT certificate with a total score of at least 95 points (no test section below 20 points)
German Certificat: TestDaF certificate with at least the grade 4 in all four parts (total score at least 16) OR DSH-2 certificate.
However, in individual cases English for PhD studies is possible, depending on the thesis’ subject and on the approval of the candidate’s supervisor.
Application procedure (FUB – CSC PhD Program), Required Documents
The application and evaluation process for CSC candidates is coordinated by the Beijing Office of Freie Universität Berlin. All inquiries concerning the FUB – CSC Program and open positions should be sent in the first process only to FUB-Beijing Office (not to the professor!) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In order to become a PhD student at Freie Universität Berlin in the framework of the FUB – CSC PhD Program two applications are necessary:
Apply to Beijing Office for one of the positions offered by a professor of FUB.
[Please note! Apply only for a research project if your academic background meets the description of the offer!]
The application should be submitted ONLY to email@example.com.
Application deadline for PhD Studies: January 4, 2018.
Beijing Office will check and evaluate the application and forward it to the respective professor. The professor will contact the candidates who submitted a complete application. After interviewed by the professor who offered the position, the final decision about the acceptance is made by the professors of Freie Universität according to the academic qualification. We inform the applicants at latest mid of February about the decisions.
[Please note: Be patient and don’t contact the professor before the decision is made!]
In case the professor accepts the PhD candidate, he/she contacts the PhD candidate to discuss the research proposal which is required for the second process, the CSC application.
Freie Universität Berlin (Centre for International Cooperation) will issue the invitation letter for the accepted PhD candidates. The invitation letter is necessary for the application to a CSC scholarship and will be passed to the students by the FUB-Beijing Office end of February, 2018.
- All accepted PhD candidates who submitted their complete application to the FUB-Beijing Office and were accepted by a professor will be listed on the official nomination list of the FUB – CSC Program which will be handed in to the CSC by the FUB-Beijing Office.
List of documents Freie Universität Berlin requires from applicants:
- Application Documents Required for Scholarship Scheme 1 (Full-Time PhD, degree from FUB)
- Application Documents Required for Scholarship Scheme 2 (Sandwich-Model, research stay, 1-2 years)
- This is a separate application process which is handled only by the CSC. In case you have questions concerning the CSC scholarship, please contact the CSC directly.
- Apply under the framework of the FUB – CSC Program (otherwise, you are not a member of the program and cannot profit by its benefits).
- The invitation letter issued by the Freie Universität Berlin (See above, No. 1) is required for the scholarship application to the CSC in the framework of the FUB – CSC PhD Program. For the exact application period of CSC scholarships (usually: March 20 – April 5), please refer to the CSC homepage: http://www.csc.edu.cn/chuguo
- Confirmation of the scholarship awardees of the CSC will be announced at latest end of May 2018.
- Successful scholarship holders start their research stay in Berlin in September 2018.
1) Do not delete the e-mail history of your correspondence with the FUB Beijing Office.
2) Make sure your application fits the project that you would like to apply for. Concentrate on the questions in the project description. Do not try to "make a topic fit", that you would like to work on, but which has hardly anything to do with the project as the professor describes it in the offer.
3) The letters of recommendation have to:
- be on official paper sheets of the respective university.
- have the professors' university adress at the top of the page.
- carry the professors' signature and seal.
Forging a letter of recommendation leads to disqualification.
4) Make sure that your documents all together not exceed the size of 5 MB.
5) Send us your abstract of Master thesis in English.
6) The title of your Master thesis should be seen on your Curriculum Vitae.
Based on experience with Chinese students interested in the FUB – CSC PhD Program in previous years, we have composed a FAQ section. Please check it here.
If you did not find the information you are searching for in the FAQ section, please write an e-mail to the Beijing Office of Freie Universität Berlin: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ms. Sabrina BERGMANN).
Please check our FAQ section.
The choice is not limited to professors who contributed to the List of Open Positions. Generally, each professor of Freie Universität Berlin could become your PhD supervisor. To find out the names of potential supervisors you have to check the professor's individual research interests. A good starting point is the List the Departments of Freie Universität.
It is not necessary to contact a professor before making an application to the Beijing Office of Freie Universität. The FUB Beijing Office will contact the professors you would like to work with anyhow. This is part of the evaluation process. All decisions about the acceptance of individual candidates for a doctorate at Freie Universität Berlin are made by the potential supervisors in Berlin.
In terms of the number of available scholarships, the CSC's programs are certainly your best option. But there are some alternatives: The DAAD - German Academic Exchange Service - is offering scholarships for doing a doctorate in Germany, too. Check the details on the DAAD Beijing Office's homepage.
Some of the structured doctoral programs and research training groups of Freie Universität Berlin have their own scholarship programs. These scholarships are given away on a competitive basis. Calls for applications are open to German as well as international applicants. Calls are published yearly, in the case of some programs only every 2 to 3 years. For information about these scholarship opportunities, see the homepages of the individual programs. A suitable starting point is the List of Graduate Schools and Research Training Groups at Freie Universität Berlin.
Finally, in some cases, the German supervisor could be able to cover your living expenses from his own third-party funding.
A research proposal is not a letter of motivation, or a personal statement. It should describe a potential research project you might like to carry out.
In the research plan we would like to read about your ideas for doing research under the supervision of the professor you would like to work with. In writing a research plan, we want you to demonstrate that you are sufficiently familiar with a subject area to develop scientifically sound ideas for doing research. Please keep in mind that your proposal has to fit into the professor's research interests. Your research plan should not exceed 5 pages in length. It is not necessary to submit the research plan to the professor for approval first. You should send it directly to FUB Beijing Office together with the other application documents.
You may apply. The requirements given here are not strictly binding. If you fulfil them, you should be "on the safe side." However, the individual professor may also accept you with a weaker language test result. The chances of getting accepted depend on your subject area.
If you want to apply for admission to one of the structured PhD programs (click here to see the list), you don't need to apply to the Beijing Office of Freie Universität Berlin.
You have to apply to the program you are interested in, instead. In order to do this, you have to go to the homepage of the program first and check out their admission policy towards foreign PhD students coming with their own scholarship, i.e. in your case a CSC scholarship. Then you should write to the contact person of the respective program.
Admission requirements for doctoral studies vary depending on the departments. Students who are admitted to doctoral studies at Freie Universitaet Berlin with only a bachelor's degree are rather exceptional. In some departments admission to doctoral studies requires a master's degree. In other departments - especially in Mathematics and Computer Science, in part also in the Natural Sciences - admission for outstanding candidates holding a bachelor's degree might also be possible.