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Steps to a Doctoral Degree

Following the opening of Zeppelin University Graduate School | ZUGS on January 20, 2012, admissions are possible according to the admission requirements specified in the Doctoral Regulations. Here are the individual steps towards a doctoral degree at ZUGS:

Step 1 | Admission Requirements

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The first step towards achieving a doctorate is to examine whether your previous academic studies and qualifications meet the formal admission requirements in accordance with § 5 of the Doctoral Regulations.

It is important to note that a qualification gained at a non-accredited university does not meet the admission requirements. Normally, your most recent academic qualification must qualify you for a doctoral degree and the university – especially in the case of international or foreign universities – that awarded your most recent academic qualification must be entitled to award doctorates.

The grade of your qualification or qualifications must comply with the admission requirements specified in § 5 of the Doctoral Regulations. Several equal-value qualifications do not improve your grades as required by the admission requirements.

The final decision on fulfillment of the admission requirements is taken by the Doctoral Committee of the Zeppelin University.

Step 2 | Identifying a Doctoral Supervisor

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If the requirements are met, you can take the second, subject-related and therefore decisive, step towards your doctoral degree:

Like many public universities in Germany, at Zeppelin University, as part of the admission requirements for a doctoral degree, we include a requirement that a ZU professor or junior professor agrees in writing to supervise the dissertation proposal.

Therefore doctoral candidates are advised to contact the potential academic supervisor in their selected subject field, explain their proposal and on this basis discuss whether it would be possible, both in terms of subject matter and capacity, for a professor to supervise their doctoral thesis.

As a doctoral candidate you should, if possible, already have studied this subject area, either in a specialized or an interdisciplinary way. Ideally, you should also come to the discussion equipped with ideas for the research framework of your dissertation proposal.

Step 3 | Application for Admission to a Doctoral Degree

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After you have obtained confirmation of a supervisor for your dissertation proposal, you can submit an application for admission to a doctoral degree to the Doctoral Committee in accordance with § 6 of the Doctoral Regulations.

Please enclose all of the documents listed on the reverse of the application form with your application. These include the written confirmation of supervision, which you must fill out together with your doctoral supervisor.

Step 4 | Aptitude Assessment Procedure

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For doctoral candidates in accordance with § 5, Subs. 2 and 3 of the Doctoral Regulations, an aptitude assessment procedure (in accordance with § 8 of the Doctoral Regulations) must be carried out.

Step 5 | Admission to Doctoral Studies

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Participation in the partially-structured doctoral program begins after admission to the doctoral degree is granted by the Doctoral Committee. Zeppelin University is committed to sustained and effective supervision of its doctoral candidates. That is why the supervisor and the candidate must conclude a supervision agreement with each other within two months of the admission. The supervision agreement outlines the specific planning of the dissertation proposal with the goal of successfully achieving the doctorate. It also contains Zeppelin University's rules of good scientific practice.


Doctoral degree courses at Zeppelin University are subject to fees. ZU research fellows and scholarship students are exempt from those fees. According to the study contract, a fee of € 1,000 is charged for admission to the doctoral degree and a fee of € 1,000 is charged for admission to the doctoral examination, while there is an additional fee of € 1,000 per semester of enrollment.

Going for any degree at ZU always requires matriculation.

Work as a Research Fellow

Should you be interested in working as a research fellow at ZU, you can find up-to-date information here on requests for proposals in various (post-)doctoral positions.

Meeting dates of the Doctoral Committee

ZU's Doctoral Committee meets four times a year, twice during the spring and fall semester. 

Next meetings in Spring 2021: 

  • January 27, 2021 
    Application deadline: January 13, 2021 
  • May 12, 2021
    Application deadline: April 28, 2021

Next meetings in Fall 2021:

  • September 08, 2021
    Application deadline: August 25, 2021
  • November 17, 2021
    Application deadline: November 03, 2021

Please note: Application deadlines have to be met in any case. Late or incomplete submissions will not be considered and have to be postponed to the next Committee meeting.