Planning and preparation

When planning a doctorate, various aspects need to be considered in advance. These include answering the questions about motivation and expectations of a doctorate as well as the possibility of being able to cope with the expected high amount of work and time over a period of several years. In order to be able to start a doctorate, various preparatory steps are necessary.


After assessing the formal requirements for the doctorate and deciding on the path and type of doctorate as well as the choice of the degree awarding institution, the work of finding a topic can be tackled. For the development of an outline of the doctoral project and the preparation of the research proposal, the Graduate School offers support during this phase of doctoral preparation through the doctoral studies. If you have any questions or would like to receive individual advice, please contact the Graduate School at any time.

Doctoral projects are supervised academically by a professor of h_da, often also in a team. The supervision includes support and expert advice. To contact a professor at h_da, the department pages of Hochschule Darmstadt and the webpages on the doctoral centers offer initial information.

When taking on supervision, the conclusion of a supervision agreement is recommended.

The research proposal should describe the planned doctoral project:

  • the motivation and relevance of the work
  • the scientific research question
  • the state of research
  • the research methodology
  • the aim and contribution of the work
  • the expected results
  • the scientific context
  • the work, time and resource plan
  • the financial planning for the realisation of the project.

For the doctoral preparation phase, those interested in pursuing a doctorate can as participants at the Graduate School and take part in the corresponding accompanying studies.

The constituent characteristic of a cooperative doctorate is the joint supervision by a professor from h_da and the respective partner university, which will also award the doctorate. After the decision for a cooperative doctorate and for a partner university to undertake the doctorate, initial contact is made for the search for academic supervision. Here, the Graduate School offers support in establishing contact.

The joint organisation of supervision between doctoral students and supervisors can be agreed in the form of a supervision agreement. This documents the objective, the jointly agreed procedure and working method for the doctoral phase as well as the recommended further academic training. The supervision agreement also serves as a written commitment for the first and, if applicable, second supervisor. A supervision agreement is obligatory for submitting an application for acceptance at a doctoral centre.

The basic requirement for a doctorate is a successful and at least good university degree, usually a Master's degree. The requirements are laid down in the corresponding doctoral regulations. In the case of cooperative doctorates, the regulations of the partner universities apply; in the case of own doctorates, those of the doctoral centres apply. Other requirements may also apply, for example proof of an above-average university degree, certain language proficiency or successful completion of an aptitude assessment procedure. If you have any questions, please contact the Graduate School.