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Choice of discipline and choice of supervisor


If not enrolled in a PhD program (see below), the first thing you will have to do is to look for a professor who agrees to supervise your dissertation. “Doktorvater” or “Doktormutter”, as these supervisors are called in Germany, are extremely important for the success of your PhD. They are, often for many years, your main – and sometimes only – advisors with regard to your research and your scientific career, they are, moreover, your main examiners when it comes to the evaluation of your written work and your final exam, the viva.

Usually, there is no doubt on the topic of the dissertation planned and the relevant discipline. The better you know already which direction to follow in science and what to write about, the easier it will be for you to find an academic advisor who seems to be competent in your field and to contact him or her. Difficulties might arise, however, if the discipline you studied does not exist at Freie Universität, or if, as just said above, you were graduated from a Master program that was truly interdisciplinary and does not fit the classification of disciplines at FU Berlin. The only way to proceed in these cases is to go through the lists of departments, the institutes or disciplines subsumed, and, finally, persons. The examination offices of the respective departments are unfortunately not able to advice and help you with scientific questions. To easy this tedious work a bit for you, we compiled a step-by-step manual “how to find a supervisor” which can be found here:


How to find a supervisor – step by step manual