Before your stay

Zentral Campus

For some years now, doctoral studies in Göttingen have only been possible according to the model of structured doctoral studies. At the same time, every doctoral student becomes a member of a graduate school. It is possible to obtain a doctorate in all faculties via doctoral study programmes and doctoral programmes.

On the following pages, you will find


Before you decide to do your doctorate in Göttingen, you should make sure that you have the necessary language skills. Language skills are crucial for the successful completion of your doctorate and for your everyday life in Göttingen:

  • Language requirements are specified in the doctoral and/or examination regulations. Inform yourself regarding these requirements at an early stage. Please bear in mind that even if an exemption from these language skillscan be obtained relatively easily by your supervisor from the examination offices, it is of no use to you if you are unable to communicate in everyday life and research.
  • If you are pursuing your doctorate in an English-speaking research environment, but English is not your first language, you should determine at an early stage whether you can argue and formulate in English at a sufficiently high level to successfully write and defend your dissertation.
  • Scholarship grantors also expect proof of German language skills at a B2 or C1 level.

Before you decide on a doctorate, you should make sure that you have the necessary financial means, because a doctorate in Göttingen does not automatically come with financing.

As a rule, a doctorate lasts at least three years - depending on the subject area - but not infrequently four or five years. Financial security is a prerequisite for working stringently on your dissertation and completing it within a manageable timeframe. Therefore, you should discuss the financing with your supervisor. The likelihood that you will get a job at the University or that you will finance yourself with a scholarship or even from your own reserves is highly dependent upon the subject and field of study.

Be sure to clarify this question in advance. If you have any questions about scholarship applications, you can also contact the graduate schools.

After you have been accepted for your doctoral studies, the next step is the enrolment process via online registration:

Below please find important information regarding the health insurance system in Germany:

Häuser Reihe

Finding housing in Göttingen is not easy. You should therefore try to find accommodation as early as possible. You can find some information on the Göttingen International website and in the University Handbook on the Housing Market in Göttingen:


A visa is an entry permit. Candidates who are not citizens of a member state of the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland usually need a visa in order to enter Germany and study in Göttingen. The Federal Foreign Office of Germany provides a list of all countries whose citizens require a visa to enter Germany.

You can apply for a visa in person at a German consulate general or the German embassy in your home country. Generally, applications are also available in the language of your home country.

To submit your application, you must make an appointment with the consulate or the German embassy. As part of the appointment, which you must make in person, a short interview will take place in which you will be asked about the details in your application.

When making your arrangements, bear in mind that the waiting period for an appointment can be many months. The demand for visas for Germany is very high in many parts of the world, and as a result, many German embassies abroad are overburdened. Arrange an appointment as early as possible in order to receive your visa in time before you start studying/working in Göttingen.

Please also note that we cannot assist you in obtaining an appointment. We have no influence on the work of the German embassies abroad.

The processing time for a completed and personally submitted application can take up to twelve weeks.

As a future doctoral candidate, you also need to apply for a visa for study purposesin your home country. This is a very important distinction from a visa that is issued for tourism purposes ("Schengen visa"), which cannot be converted into a visa for study purposes nor justify a residence permit for study purposes!

The formal requirement is a national visa issued for entry for a planned stay of more than 90 days ("D-Visa"). As a rule, the visa is valid for 3 to 6 months, at least for 90 days from the date of entry into Germany, and can then be converted into a residence permit for study purposes in Göttingen.

In exceptional cases, a student visa can be issued for application and preparation for doctoral studies. It can lead to a residence permit for the purpose of applying for studies for a limited period of time, during which you can find a supervisor and apply for a doctoral programme. It is then possible to convert the residence permit for application purposes into a residence permit for study purposes.

The documents required for a visa application may vary from country to country. Please inform yourself as early in the process as possible via the website of the website of the German embassy in your home country which documents you need to enclose with your application.

In addition to the application for a visa, which you must submit in duplicate, the following documents are usually required for a successful visa application:

  • > Notification of admission
  • This is the formal notification of admission that you have received from your future Göttingen faculty or graduate school. Please note that the letter of acceptance from your future supervisor is generally not sufficient.

  • > Valid passport
  • Your passport should be valid for three months beyond the end of your planned stay.

  • > Proof of health insurance
  • Health insurance is required by law for all students at German universities. You need proof of valid health insurance in order to apply for a visa for study purposes, enrol in Göttingen and obtain a residence permit.

    Before you arrive in Germany, you must first take out travel health insurance that is effective during your trip and for the first few weeks after your arrival—it should be effective at least for the duration of your visa. You must provide proof of this when applying for the visa.

    After your arrival, you must obtain German health insurance for the duration of your stay.

    Fintiba and Expatrio offer a cost-effective solution that combines the initial travel health insurance policy with a seamless transition to German health insurance after entry.

  • > Proof of financing
  • When applying for a visa, you must prove that you can finance your living expenses in Germany for at least 12 months. You must prove financial means of up till now 8,640 €/year and from September 2019 10,236 €/year

    The typical way to prove the availability of funds for the visa application is via a blocked account (Sperrkonto). Financing through a scholarship, a guarantor or a sponsor is also possible. Please contact the German Embassy in your home country or here to find out which financing options are suitable for you and what evidence must be submitted.

    Please note that a student part-time job in Germany is not sufficient for self-financing and will not be recognised as proof of financing.

    Fintiba and Expatrio offer a low-cost blocked account solution.

  • > Proof of accommodation
  • In order to apply for a visa, it may be necessary to prove that you have accommodation in Göttingen, such as a signed rental agreement, for at least the first few months.

    The Accommodation Service of the University of Göttingen can help you find accommodation.

  • > Up to four biometric passport photos