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International Doctoral Researchers -
Getting Started at our Faculty

We appreciate your interest in pursuing a doctoral degree with our faculty. Below you will find important information for international doctoral candidates on preparing for a research stay at HHU.

We are happy to support you in this process and are available to answer any questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to contact our Graduate Centre if required.

The Faculty of Medicine at HHU awards the following academic degrees:

  • Dr. med.  (lat. doctor medicinae - Doctor of Medicine)
  • Dr. med. dent.  (lat. doctor medicinae dentariae - Doctor of Dentistry)
  • Dr. PH  (Public Health - Doctor of Health Sciences)
  • PhD in Medical Sciences

Admission requirements differ for each title according to the respective Doctoral Regulations. With the following information you can decide which title is suitable for you.

We are looking forward to welcoming you at the Medical Faculty!

Your degree needs to fulfil the following admission criteria (§ 4 Doctoral Regulations):

Dr. med:

  • Master's degree in human medicine / State examination in human medicine / an exam equivalent to the German state medical exams
  • Proof of equivalency of your foreign degree with a European / German degree
  • Proof of German professional licence / Approbation (optional)
  • Language skills in German or English

Dr. med. dent:

  • Master's degree in dentistry / State examination in dentistry / an exam equivalent to the German state dentistry exam
  • Proof of equivalency of your foreign degree with a European / German degree
  • Proof of German professional licence / Approbation (optional)
  • Language skills in German or English

Dr. PH (Public Health):

  • A state examination in human medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy or a master's degree at a foreign academic university in the life sciences, social sciences or public health
  • Proof of equivalency of your foreign degree with a European / German degree
  • Language skills in German or English

PhD in Medical Sciences:

  • Master's degree in Life Sciences
  • Grade 2.0 or better / ECTS B / top 25% of class
  • Proof of equivalency of your foreign degree with a European/German degree
  • Language skills in German or English

All university degrees will be checked for compliance with the admission requirements according to our Doctoral Regulations before applying for our doctoral programmes.

In general, you will have to request a request for recognition of your university degree, if you hold one of the following degrees:

  • a German degree of a subject not offered at HHU.
  • a degree of a subject which is not equivalent to the subject of the doctoral project.
  • a  degree from outside of Germany.

For degrees from non-EU countries, a positive evaluation by the Central Office for Foreign Education in Bonn (ZAB) must be submitted.
For university degrees from the EU, a printout from the anabin database confirming equivalence is usually sufficient for registration.
Information on the recognition procedure and the anabin database:

Applicants from VR China, Vietnam, Mongolia
Please submit a valid APS certificate from the German Embassy and show the original certificate to the office of the Graduate Center Medicine.

The exact procedure for applying to the ZAB for a degree evaluation can be found on their website. There you can download the necessary forms and follow the steps for submitting your application.
Please submit an application for certificate evaluation with the aim of "Admission to doctoral studies (medicine), also admission to Dr. rer. med.".
Please note that the processing time at the ZAB varies and may take some time. We therefore recommend that you plan this step early in your application process.

Information on the ZAB recognition procedure and the anabin database:

This will be your most important task. You will have to find and convince a supervisor to support you and develop a project together.

In general, if you are planning a research stay at the Medical Faculty, please contact the respective institute/clinic directly for first-hand information on projects, open positions and potential funding.
You will find more information on research at the Faculty of Medicine on our webpages: https://www.medizin.hhu.de/forschung.

Please use our "Supervision Check" to determine whether your supervising team is in line with Doctoral Regulations: https://www.graduiertenzentrum-medizin.hhu.de/check-betreuung.

In our faculty, a good command of either English or German is required for your doctoral studies. You will need to submit a proof of your language proficiency to the Medical Graduate Center on admission to doctoral studies.

Required language skills/certificates:

•    DSH-2
•    TestDaF (TDN 4)
•    Kleines or Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom (Goethe-Institut)

•    IELTS-Test (at least 6.0)
•    TOEFL-Test (at least Paper 500, Computer 200, iBT 80)

The Studierendenakademie at HHU offers language courses for international students and researchers for free.

When starting a doctoral project at the Faculty of Medicine, please pay special attention to the duration of doctoral studies:

Dr. med. / Dr. med. dent.

  • The duration of the doctoral project for Dr. med. / Dr. med. dent. at our faculty is determined by the Doctoral Regulations. You have a maximum of 4 years to complete the dissertation. This means that you must conduct your research, write your dissertation and submit it for examination within this time.

Dr. PH (Public Health)

  • You have a maximum of 4 years for a Dr. PH. You must take into account that at least 2 years of scientific activity related to public health is part of the admission requirements.

PhD in Medical Sciences

  • The scientific work for a PhD in Medical Sciences usually takes three to four years.

The duration of the doctoral studies can vary. It does not only depend on the success of your research project. Other factors will be the timely submission of the written reports, finding a date for the defense and others. Oral examinations cannot take place before submission of both reports.

Please note, that your physical presence is mandatory for the defense of your thesis. You may have to re-enter the country for it.

You can officially enrol for doctoral studies at the Student Services Center of Heinrich Heine University (SSC), once you have been admitted to doctoral studies by the Dean's office. You will need an official letter by the Graduate Center Medicine.

If this takes longer than anticipated, you will be able to enrol as "guest doctoral researcher from abroad". More information can be found on JUNO's webpages. Just in case...

Who is deciding on the equivalency of my degree?
In case of an international university degree, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine decides on the equivalency of the university degree. This is usually done by requesting an official statement by the Central Office for Foreign Education (Zentralstelle für Ausländisches Bildungswesen, ZAB) in Bonn.

What is ZAB and anabin?
ZAB (Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen) issues an official statement on your international university degree (The Statement of Comparability). The statement requested has to relate to the admission to doctoral studies.
In the ZAB database 'anabin', you will find lists containing most foreign universities and degrees with information on their recognition in Germany. Feel free to do some research on your own in their database:

How long do I have to wait for a statement?
ZAB needs several weeks and sometimes even several months for the official statement on your degree.
Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you contact the Graduate Center Medicine well in advance (i.e. before applying for visa/entering the country).

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