Applying for a doctorate

Topic & Primary Supervisor

Do you have an idea for a doctoral dissertation related to the expertise and research interests of one of the TUM-GOV professors? Are you interested in the research focus of one of our research and teaching units?

If so, please contact the desired supervisor directly. Typically, your potential supervisor will want to see the following documents from you as part of your application (for specifics, please inquire directly with your preferred supervisor):

  • Dissertation proposal or at least a brief statement indentifying your proposed topic or research question and explaining why you are interested in conducting research on this topic
  • CV (curriculum vitae) including detailed information about your academic career to date
  • Records concerning prior degrees: bachelor’s and master’s degrees, if you have them, and especially transcripts (a list of specific courses taken and of individual results (grades) in each of those courses)


There are various options available for financing a doctorate. The most common ones are working as a research or teaching associate, scholarships, fellowships or grants and external sources.

As a research associate or teaching associate, you will be hired to work at a research and teaching unit. You will be closely integrated into research activities, and possibly also into teaching. Positions for research associates and teaching associates are typically awarded through job postings. Current vacancies are found on the pages of the Bavarian School of Public Policy, among other places.

There are numerous foundations and research institutions that provide scholarships, fellowships and/or grants to support highly qualified doctoral candidates. The TUM Graduate School provides information on scholarship, fellowship and grant opportunities (and other financing options) for doctoral candidates here.

External doctoral candidates are typically employed at an industrial company or a different research institution (meaning not at TUM), while the primary academic responsibility remains with the TUM School of Governance. In this case, you need to ensure before starting your dissertation project that the goals and specifications set by the external institution are compatible with the academic and scientific standards of TUM-GOV (e.g. with regard to the use and publication of data). Although you are affiliated with a different institution, you will also be integrated into the TUM-GOV academic environment and expected to participate actively.

You can also self-finance your dissertation project, of course. Please note that the relevant level of participation in the academic environment and completion of the required elements of the qualification program (on this point, also see the doctoral process) are also required in this case.

Formal Requirements

To be admitted to doctoral study at TUM, you are required to have completed a degree (Diplom, Magister, or master’s degree) with above-average results at a university, to have passed an equivalent State Exam, or to have passed the final examination for the master’s degree at a university of applied sciences.

“Above-average” means that you must have earned an overall grade of at least 2.5 on your studies or have been granted the notation of “passed with the grade of Good” at least. In isolated cases, you can also demonstrate that your qualifications are above average by presenting scholarly, scientific or research achievements completed after you earned your degree, such as publications.

In the case of foreign degrees, the TUM Examination Office will review whether the degree is equivalent and whether the final grade reflects the requisite above-average performance. This takes place as part of the application for registration as a doctoral candidate.