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PhD in Chinese Studies

Please note: Individual doctoral training at the Institute of Chinese Studies does NOT imply any funding or course work. Funding needs to be individually obtained by application to any pertaining domestic or international funding body. Dissertations at Heidelberg University may be prepared in either German or English language.

Goal of doctoral training

The goal of pursuing doctoral training, which ultimately leads to the title of Doktor (Dr.), is to obtain the skills necessary to successfully carry out independent academic specialized research. Over the course of the doctoral training, the results of the scholarly research carried out are documented in writing the doctoral dissertation. After submission and review of the dissertation, the doctoral candidate has to pass an academic defense, Disputation. During the Disputation, the candidate is examined on the research presented in the dissertation as well as on other topics important to the candidate’s general field of research.


Prerequisite for being accepted as a doctoral student is the completion of one of the following university degrees, with above-average results: Master, Magister, or an equivalent university degree from a German or foreign university in Chinese Studies or a comparable field of studies. Students need to prove very good proficiency in English by means of either one of the following:

  • a minimum score of 90 in the internet-based, 230 in the computer-based, or 575 in the paper-based TOEFL 
  • a minimum score of 6.5 in the IELTS 
  • a minimum score of 730 in the TOIEC
  • a CAE
  • a certificate of the language centre of Heidelberg University with "good" (2.0) or better

For general information on doctoral training in Heidelberg, please visit the website of the Graduate Academy and/or refer to the Doctoral Regulations of Heidelberg University. In case your former field of study was not Chinese Studies, a colloquium of one hour with two professors may be necessary to evaluate your expertise in Chinese Studies.


  • STEP ONE: Find a professor at the respective institute who is willing to act as your supervisor.
    Provide a short summary of your research topic, add copies of your prior degrees, a cv, and names of possible referees. You might be asked to provide additional materials on yourself and your prior studies. You need a letter of acceptance of a supervisor for applying at the faculty for admission.
  • STEP TWO: Apply for admission to the Faculty of Philosophy.
    Please refer to the step by step guide for general information about admissions. Materials needed include:
    • the completed form  “Admission as a Doctoral Candidate” (“Annahme als Doktorand”)
    • your supervisor’s acceptance letter (Betreuungszusage)
    • proof of your completed university degrees (your university diploma and transcript)
    • your planned dissertation topic and a short exposé of the dissertation
    • a curriculum vitae outlining your personal and academic background
    • a declaration of any other previous or current attempts at completing doctoral training

The faculty will decide on your application.

  • STEP THREE (optional): Register as a doctoral student at the University of Heidelberg.
    Please go to the step by step guide for more information about registering at the University.


If you are searching for a potential supervisor, make yourself familiar with the professors at the institute and their research foci.

Last edited by: SV
Latest Revision: 2024-02-28
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