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Earning a Doctorate in Philosophy

There is no study program in philosophy at Freie Universität Berlin culminating in the degree of “Dr. phil.” Candidates seeking a doctorate in philosophy do so within the scope of a personal agreement with an instructor at the institute who has earned postdoctoral higher education teaching qualifications (Habilitation), who then acts as the candidate’s doctoral advisor and issues a statement of willingness to supervise the process. If this kind of statement has been issued and the other conditions stipulated in the doctoral regulations have been met, the candidate can request that doctoral study be started at any time. No fees are charged. The student is responsible for financing his or her own studies. Advisors may be helpful in terms of locating scholarships, fellowships, and grants.

As a prerequisite for earning the doctorate, the candidate must have completed a scholarly degree program, having taken an exam with honors (with at least the grade of “Good” on the German scale). This program does not necessarily have to have been in philosophy.

Click here for the doctoral regulations of the Department of Philosophy and Humanities.

The body responsible for initiating the procedure is Examinations Office II of the Department of Philosophy and Humanities.

Alongside the traditional individual doctorate in philosophy, Freie Universität Berlin increasingly offers structured interdisciplinary doctoral programs within the scope of German Research Foundation (DFG) research training groups, graduate schools funded under the Excellence Initiative, and the programs of the Dahlem Research School, which lead to a doctorate within two to three years. These programs are similar to the PhD programs found in the English-speaking world. They involve close supervision and support within the subject, intensive training for junior scholars and scientists, and joint seminars focusing on certain content. There is a competitive application and selection process. A placement is typically associated with a scholarship or fellowship. Several of these programs are also open to doctoral projects in philosophy. Click here for an overview.