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Advice & Information

If you have questions about pursuing a doctorate at Freie Universität Berlin or would like to know whether a structured or an individual doctorate is right for you, Dahlem Research School provides information and individual advice. For an appointment please contact the DRS team at advice@drs.fu-berlin.de.

With questions about procedures for binational doctoral degrees (Cotutelle de thèse) please contact Dr. Doreen Forbrig (d.forbrig@fu-berlin.de).

Appointments are most effective if you come prepared. We would therefore ask you to complete the following self-assessment before making an appointment.

For everybody interested in pursuing a doctorate at Freie Universität, we offer a special event each summer and winter term: DRS Open Door Talk "Perspektive Promotion" (Doctorate Perspectives - The talk is held in German with English slides, questions in English are very welcome!) Further information

Further offers

During your time as a doctoral researchers you may encounter various difficult situations and conflicts. The DRS-Team offers information and advice, for an appointment please contact us at beratung@drs.fu-berlin.de.

Supervisory relationships in crisis, personal disputes, accusations of data manipulation or plagiarism, authorship or data use conflicts - these are all examples of situations in science and research in which mediation may be necessary. As a first point of contact, Freie Universität Berlin has established a Coordination Office for Research Integrity.

DRS offers doctoral candidates the opportunity for a first professional conflict coaching session at reduced cost (30,-€ contribution toward expenses). Priority is given to members of DRS doctoral programs. To make use of this service, please send a request to beratung@drs.fu-berlin.de with the subject "conflict coaching" and briefly outline the kind of conflict (supervision, publication, teaching, or the like) you are experiencing. The DRS will then connect you with our professional conflict coach.

The reformed German Act on Protection for Mothers at Work, in Vocational Training and in Study Programs (Maternity Protection Act – MuSchG) went into effect on January 1, 2018. The special protections afforded under this legislation now also apply to students at Freie Universität Berlin.

The law aims to prevent health risks to mother and child such as those that can arise from hazardous materials, pathogens, radiation, risk of accident, or particular physical strain or exertion.

As a result, please notify the department`s contact person or Student Administration office if you are pregnant or nursing, using the relevant form (notification of pregnancy or notification of nursing), especially if you would like preferential registration for courses.

Protective periods, work during nighttime/Sunday/and/or holidays

Pregnant students are not allowed to attend courses or take exams six weeks prior to delivery and eight weeks afterwards (12 weeks in case of premature or multiple birth) unless they declare their willingness to do so in written form. This declaration can be revoked.

During pregnancy and the subsequent nursing period, students are not allowed to attend courses or take exams after 8 p.m. or on Sundays and/or public holidays. This can also be made possible however based on a written declaration. This declaration is also revocable.

Contact persons for these matters are those responsible in the departments in the corresponding subject/major.

More information

At Freie Universität, we believe "family" means all situations in which people take long-term social responsibility for others. This includes, first and foremost, those who are raising children and people who care for family members. Freie Universität has been certified by audit familiengerechte hochschule since June 2007. In addition, the university signed the "Familie in der Hochschule" charter in June 2015. By embracing family-friendly personnel policies and a family-friendly university structure, Freie Universität helps its members to better balance working life, studies, and academic qualification processes with family responsibilities.

The Dual Career & Family Service also offers all members of the Freie Universität community information and confidential advising services on all questions relating to better balancing work, studies, and family life.

Further information for working and student parents (includine child care, flexible working hours etc.), caring for family members, Dual Career and advice and qualification offers is available on the website of the Dual Career & Family Service of Freie Universität Berlin

Contact Dual Career & Familiy Service

Advice, information and qualification offers of Dual Career & Family Service

Events Regarding Degree Programs, Internships, and Starting a Career

Whether you are still in the middle of your degree program or already have one foot in the working world, visit this section for the current calendar of events from the Career Service and the Berlin South Employment Agency’s higher education outreach team, who will support you during your studies and when planning and starting your career.

Workshops, talks, and presentations are a chance for you to prepare for applying for an internship or a job, hone your soft skills, get to know various working fields, and talk with employers, hiring managers, and HR specialists.

The program is the product of cooperation among many professional partners within and outside of the university. It supplements your subject-specific skills in a way that is geared toward real-world practice.

Full Calendar of Events on the German Website

Events organized by the Career Service

Events organized by the Berlin South Employment Agency’s higher education outreach team

Full Service on the German Website: Beratungsangebote des Career Service, Info Sessions und offene Beratung

Further informaion: Freie Universität Berlin Career Service

Consulting hours


Stress resilience and mental health are central issues while conducting a long-term project like a doctorate - crisis and challenges are normal during this process. Apart from workshop offers of Dahlem Research School and the Berlin University Alliance to strengthen your persistence and succesfully deal with such challenges furher information and advice is availabe:

  • *new* Mental Wellbeing Project and support.points:

    The Mental Wellbeing Project is an initiative of the Center for Academic Advising and Psychological Counseling in cooperation with the departments to build a psychosocial support network on campus. The aim is to promote mental health at the FU Berlin. To this end, support.points were set up at the departments as the first point of contact for students, doctoral candidates and employees to support them with problems in their everyday studies and work.
    We will also implement events that address the needs and wishes of students at the departments. Information on recommended online tools and information materials complete the offer. For further information, please consult the German website of the project, the English version is still under construction.
    The project team welcomes any inquiries, comments or ideas. Contact the project via mail or contact the  support.points staff directly.
    Please find further information on support.points at Freie Universität here: https://www.fu-berlin.de/sites/mentalwellbeing/Support_Points/index.html.

  • The psychological counseling at Freie Universität offers individual advice, training and workshop

The staff consists of licenzed psychological psychotherapists and psychologists in training to become psychotherapists. As a matter of course, the psychologists of the counseling service are required to maintain confidentiality regarding the matters you discuss with them.

  • Freie Universität Berlin offers individual counseling, training courses, and workshops. The staff members are licensed psychological psychotherapists or graduate psychologists in training to become psychological psychotherapists. The psychologists are bound by professional secrecy and will of course treat your concerns confidentially..

Guides for for promoting the mental health of early career researchers (ECRs) written for PIs and supervisors, and for ECRs themselves by the Quest Center for Responsible Research and its community partners.

Self-organizes initiative of doctoral students at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin who share resources, survey the status quo and organize mental health events to promote awareness and destigmatize mental health struggles.

Growing up in Science Berlin: talk series "Growing up in Science"

The Studierendenwerk counsels on financing studies, studying with children, provides counselling on academic writingprovides psychological counselling, is a contractual partner for the KfW student loan and supports studying with special needs.

For Self-Determination and Respectful Relationships: 'No means No'

In today’s society, people are still continually subjected to insults, discrimination, and violence due to their gender or sexual identity. Universities are no exception. The personal boundaries of students, employees, and visitors can be violated here, too, and they can be exposed to verbal or physical harassment or assault. 

Services & Support

Office of the Standing Working Group on Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Violence
Wendy Stollberg, program manager at the Chief Gender Equality Office and systemic coach

Team Chief Gender Equality Office
Katharina Schmidt, Psychologist and Deputy Chief Gender Equality Officer

Center for Academic Advising and Psychological Counseling
Licensed psychologist Brigitte Reysen-Kostudis

Regulations on Sexualized Harassment, Discrimination and Violence at Freie Universität Berlin

As well as offering a definition of sexualized harassment, discrimination and violence, these regulations from 2020 outline key approaches and procedures in handling incidents of this nature at Freie Universität Berlin. They also address raising awareness and preventative measures.

Regulations on Sexualized Harassment, Discrimination and Violence at Freie Universität Berlin

Federal Antidiscrimination Agency 

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (FADA) is an independent focal point to which persons affected by discrimination may turn. 

More than forty thousand people with diverse identities, belongings, backgrounds, and experiences study and work at Freie Universität Berlin.

“Diversity” refers to our ability and readiness to acknowledge and value the many interlinked differences and commonalities between groups of people, and to dismantle barriers that prevent people from being able to participate equally.

The critical reflection of issues and developments in society and the fulfillment of our social responsibility are firmly engrained in Freie Universität’s ethos. Our founding principles, key concepts, and values, and our profile as a university that stands for truth, justice, and freedom, all require that we acknowledge and promote diversity in all aspects of academic life. This involves an ongoing self-critique in which we recognize power imbalances and reflect upon the ways in which specific groups are excluded, in order to deconstruct and break free from these mechanisms of discrimination. This essentially means that diversity and antidiscrimination are two sides of the same coin.

In line with this responsibility, Freie Universität has formulated the following overarching and interlocking objectives that guide our diversity work:

  • The equitable participation of all university members regardless of their positioning within various diversity dimensions or social categories,

  • An accessible and nondiscriminatory teaching, learning, and working environment,

  • An organizational culture that values diversity and fosters mutually respectful cooperation among all status groups,

  • The sustainable implementation of structural equal opportunity.

More information:


Support & Complaints

Staff Networks

Staff Network Queer@FU

The FU counseling service for students with disabilities and chronic illnesses - Beratungangebot für Studierende mit Behinderungen und chronischen Erkrankungen

Hier findet sich alles rund um das Thema Studieren mit Beeinträchtigungen an der Freien Universität Berlin :
Unterstütztung, Beratung, Information, News, Termine, Mailingliste
Webseite: https://www.fu-berlin.de/sites/studium-barrierefrei/index.html

Information leaflet - Handlungshilfe Promotion inklusive

PROMI – Promotion inklusive ist eine Informationsplattform und ein Netzwerk für Fragen und Austausch zum Promovieren mit gesundheitlichen Beeinträchtigungen, angeboten und entwickelt im Rahmen eines vom Bunderministerium für Arbeit und Soziales geförderten Projekts der Universität zu Köln.

weitere Informationen:
PROMI-Webseite der Universität zu Köln: https://promi.uni-koeln.de/
PROMI-Handlungshilfe (Information leaflet)

Inklusives Expert*innen-Netzwerk iXNet

Netzwerk, Beratung und Austausch

iXNet empowert und unterstützt behinderte Akademiker*innen mit Netzwerkwissen, Info-Veranstaltungen und einem Beratungsteam bei der Karriereplanung. Das „Inklusive Expert*innen Netzwerk (iXNet)“ ist ein digitales Angebot des Arbeitgeber-Service für schwerbehinderte Akademiker der Bundesagentur für Arbeit.
Weitere Infomationen: https://ixnet-projekt.de/

Information for doctoral researchers from non-academic backgrounds

If you come from a non-academic household, university often feels like a different world. The Graduate Academy of Friedrich Schiller University Jena has created a helpful webpage with information on funding for doctorates, networking opportunities, and overcoming feelings of strangeness in academia: https://www.uni-jena.de/en/first-generation-phd.

The doctorate can be completed in part-time with the approval of the respective doctoral committee. 

Part-time studies can be requested in the Self-Services portal within the respective enrollment or re-registration deadline, no later than at the start of the semester (April 1st or October 1st). Your semester fees and contributions remain unchanged during part-time studies.

A semester studied on a part-time basis will be counted as half of a subject semester (Fachsemester) and a full university semester (Hochschulsemester).

You can utilize the teaching and support resources as a part-time student, however, there will be no entitlement to a distinctive part-time study curriculum. If applicable, please get in touch with the coordinator within your structured doctoral program to arrange the schedule for your part-time study.