Cooperative doctorates have been a success

If you study at a university of applied sciences and want to obtain your doctorate, here is what you need to know.

One frequently asked question is whether a traditional research university is the only place to obtain a doctorate in Baden-Württemberg. The answer is no. Thanks to the diverse educational landscape in Baden-Württemberg, there are several attractive ways that lead to a PhD.

If you graduated from a university of applied sciences and want to go on for your doctorate, the right path for you is a cooperative doctorate program at a Promotionskolleg. The Promotionskolleg is a program that allows graduates from research universities and graduates from universities of applied sciences to work together on research projects that lead to doctorate degrees. This model has been highly successful in Baden-Württemberg: In recent years, a high percentage of graduates from universities of applied sciences obtained their PhD in cooperative doctorate programs.


A cooperative PhD must fulfill the same requirements as a traditional or structured PhD program. Please check the requirements well in advance. It may be possible that, for example, a business law degree from a university of applied sciences doesn’t fulfill the PhD requirements, because one area, for example criminal law, has not been covered at the university of applied sciences.

Students need to sign a contract and a full professor from a traditional research university has to supervise the work. In many cases, financial aid is available. If you are studying at a university of applied sciences in Baden-Württemberg and consider continuing with a PhD program, check the university’s website and talk to the admissions office about cooperative doctorate programs. There is a wealth of information and support available.

Cooperative doctorate programs can include a wide variety of subjects. At times, they are very application-oriented, practical projects following high scientific standards. Some are third-party funded projects; others are done in cooperation with companies. Some cooperative doctorate programs are done in conjunction with companies so that the doctoral students may work part-time. They can work on their projects with a professor and a supervisor from the respective company.