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Doctoral Studies

Desk of a Doctoral Student at the Library

Desk of a Doctoral Student at the Library
Image Credit: Julia Oesterreich

Monday 12-14h
Tuesday 12-14h
Wednesday no office hours
Thursday 10am-12pm
Friday 11am-1pm

The Department of Law offers German and international graduates the opportunity to earn a doctoral degree in law.


In order to get admitted for doctoral studies, candidates need a 4 years' law degree or a law degree which is considered as equivalent to the German first legal State Examination. In addition to that, they must have passed their degree with a grade which is equivalent to the German "Vollbefriedigend / Fully Satisfactory". If that degree is from a country other than Germany, applicants will be required to take two courses in German private law, criminal law, and/or public law and to pass a written final examination in these subjects. The two courses in German private law, criminal law, and/or public law may be replaced by a German LL.M. degree with a grade of 2,5 or better.

In exceptional circumstances, an admission with a university degree other than law is possible, if the overall grade of that non-law degree equals the German grade "Vollbefriedigend / Fully Satisfactory". In addition, candidates with a non-legal background are required to pass two courses in German private law, two courses in German criminal law, and two courses in German public law and a paper in either private law, criminal law, or public law.

Furthermore, each candidate must show a written agreement of a professor of this Law Department that s/he is willing to supervise his/her dissertation. In order to obtain such an agreement, applicants are required to contact a professor with the same research interests. A few professors have published their individual requirements on their websites. In general, professors accept applications on a rolling basis with a letter of motivation, a CV, a project proposal, and a transcript and degree certificate.


All doctoral students at the Law Department are expected to submit their dissertations in German. Only in very exceptional circumstances, if the topic of the doctoral thesis requires the use of a foreign language, dissertations can be written in a language other than German.


Doctoral studies at the Law Department are free from tuition. PhD students only have to pay the regular student fees and contributions.