During their studies people often wonder:


 “So …when should I start searching for a doctoral dissertation?”


Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to this question. This depends on the clinic or institute where you plan to write your doctoral dissertation.


If you are, for example, interested in a doctoral research study in the Institute of Pharmacology or Microbiology, a request one year prior to your graduation is required.

Furthermore, the Institute of Microbiology requires an internship at their institute or an equivalent institute to increase your chances of acceptance. The Institute of Pharmacology prefers to learn to know possible applicants during an internship.

In some clinics however, the clinic for cattle for example, it is sufficient to ask about information about openings/dissertation projects four to six months before you graduate. In some instances, professors will even like you to start two weeks later, which is a huge advantage to those who decide on the spur of the moment.

All in all, there are is no patent remedy for all clinics and institutes at our university.

 If you already know in which direction you want to go after your graduation, then it is recommended for you to try and do internships during your studies or in your “practical year” in your field of interest and in particularly at the institute you are aspiring to work at. (The German vet students are required to have a so called “practical year”. During 2 semesters, at the end of their studies, the students do not attend classes, but have the opportunity to intern to gather work experience) If you are lucky, you might even get an offer to do your doctoral dissertation in that particular clinic or institute that you are interning at.


Of course it is important to have a close look at the working group and to choose your supervisor carefully. Ask yourself:

“Can I work in a team with these people – for a longer time?!” “Do I enjoy this? Is the chemistry good between us?”

To find answers to these questions internships in your “practical year” are a great opportunity! Talk to the employees of the institute and try to retrieve as much information as you can from other students that are writing a doctoral thesis at that particular institute or clinic. These students are more than happy to provide information for the next generation of doctoral students.


To get in touch with doctoral students you are welcome to write an email at

Concerning the question: “How do I find a doctoral position? Or “Where do I find listings on dissertation topics?” there is unfortunately no definite answer. Again, this depends on the clinics, institutes and especially on the professors. Try writing 

emails, calling or even visit the clinic/institute and ask in person.  

In the Institute for Animal Nutrition, as an example, the latter way is the best. Prof. Kamphues asks for your field of interests, how you plan to maintain your financials during your dissertation and which time frame you strive for. After this a whole catalogue of topics is reeled off. Additionally he asks which grade average you have / will achieve and in particular what grade you have in “Animal Nutrition”


 The other professors like to be contacted personally as well. You can stop by spontaneously or by appointment, of course. Consider that it is not only the professors that choose their doctoral students.  Sometimes the assistants, that supervise the dissertational projects directly, have certain projects that they want to continue working on and need doctoral students to continue the project. In this case, talking to these assistants is more important than to the professor, as they are the ones that you will directly be working with and the professor has little influence.


Additionally, check for dissertation offers on bulletin boards. Either you can check those of the institutes directly or check the offers that are published on our website or others.

As a concluding thought: Think about what is important to you and your doctoral dissertation. To assist you, our check list will be helpful!