Good To Know

  • As a doctoral researcher at GEOMAR you will receive your doctoral degree from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at Kiel University. Therefore, you have the option to enroll as a student at the university to benefit from their infrastructure, e.g., the graduate center, bus and train ticket, university sports center, canteen etc.
    According to the university law of Schleswig-Holstein, doctoral researchers are officially required to enroll at university for the submission and defense of their doctoral thesis. However, you do not have to fear any sanctions if you do it.
    Different rules apply if you are a Fast-Track doctoral researcher, i.e. doing your doctorate without having a Master’s degree. In that case, you have to be enrolled throughout your doctorate.


    If you want to enroll at university, you may follow these steps:

    1. Fill in and sign the “Acceptance as a Doctoral Researcher”:
    2. Fill in and sign the supervision agreement:
    3. Complete the online enrollment at Kiel University: If you have been enrolled at Kiel University before, you can apply for a “re-enrollment”:
    4. Pay the semester fee


    For more information, you can read the promotion regulation (only in German):,

    contact the deanery of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences via

    or visit

  • 3 years to finish the doctoral thesis is not much time. But taking days off and go on holidays is as important as working on your thesis. If you want to know more about holiday regulations you can look it up at TVöD §26, check the GEOMAR internal website or just finish reading this.

    All doctoral candidates with a working contract at GEOMAR have 30 days of holiday/year – this holds if you work 5 days a week. You apply to take days off using the form provided via the GEOMAR internal website (“Urlaubsantrag”) and having your supervisor signing it. If you do not take the days off, they are transferred to the next year, but they will expire the end of that second year.  In June each year, your supervisor is informed about the number of your holidays left and should encourage you to take them, if you haven’t done so already. Without a proper reason, the supervisors are not allowed to turn down your holiday application. Nevertheless, if that should happen feel free to contact us, the GEOMAR staff council or Silke Berger (Teamleitung Entgeltabrechnung).

  • Did you know that you will receive a Dr. and not a PhD at GEOMAR?

    The term PhD student originates from English-speaking countries where doctoral studies are usually completed as a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy). Unlike doctoral degrees in German-speaking countries, PhD programs often take the form of a specific study program, the PhD program that requires the candidate to attend lectures and examinations and has a standard duration of three to five years. GEOMAR does not offer such a program, thus you cannot obtain a PhD at GEOMAR.  What you do at GEOMAR is called a ‘Promotion’. This term refers to achieving a doctoral degree in a specific subject and the right to use the term ‘Dr.’, recognized by a doctoral degree certificate. A doctoral degree in this sense is not a structured program of study with lectures and examinations but takes the form of independent academic research on a topic chosen by the doctoral candidate and conducted under the mentorship of a supervising professor.

    Therefore, you actually are a doctoral candidate or doctoral researcher short DR (in German Doktorand/-in or Promovierende) - not a PhD student if you are doing your doctoral studies at GEOMAR.

    For more information visit:

  • All doctoral candidates and supervisors MUST apply for acceptance as a candidate at the faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences Kiel University AT THE START of their doctoral research, using this form (German/English). Furthermore, you have to sign a supervision agreement (German/English).

    Since 28.09.2018 the new doctoral degree regulation (in German) is binding for all doctoral candidates that apply for admission to the doctoral examination procedure (usually shortly before you hand in). There is also a translation in English available (note: the German one is binding!).

    The dissertation can be written and handed in as a monograph, a cumulative dissertation or a combination of both in English or German. If you need more information on that, please see the checklist (German/English) of the MNF. It also has information on how many copies you need to hand in, the examination procedure, etc…

    Important and new to know is that first and second reviewers of the thesis must be independent – in the working hierarchy – from one another.

    For more information visit the website of the MNF.

Important locations in Kiel and how to get there..

A little guide to help you with living in Germany

As an international Doctoral Researcher you might know the struggles of finding your way in a new country and trying to figure out life in Germany. We found an interesting website that might help all of our international colleagues to get a grip on living in Germany: "Simple Germany"

"Simple Germany is the #1 resource to empower internationals to settle into life in Germany more smoothly! You will find tips & information in English about living in Germany as an expat and learn what services are best to use to beat bureaucracy."

The page is created by the international couple Jen and Yvonne who live in Düsseldorf and try to help other young people to find their way in the german bureaucracy jungle. They have gathered tipps on basics like banking, insurance and housing as well as social aspects like living, family and pets in Germany.