Funding your doctorate

There are different ways to finance your doctorate: employment, scholarship and others means.

Doctoral candidates are usually offered limited employment contracts. The contract specifies details such as working hours, number of holidays and, if applicable, teaching obligations. The employer determines the topic of the doctoral candidate's research, which may be changed over the course of the doctorate. The doctoral candidate pays social insurance contributions and receives a subsidy towards the costs of health insurance from the employer, i.e. the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein.

Doctoral grants and scholarships are designed to finance the cost of living of the recipient. The recipient does not sign an employment contract but instead receives a formal letter approving the grant which specifies the conditions of the approval, the amount of the grant and its duration and, if applicable, information about the research project. There are no statutory working hours and the grant holder is not obliged to deliver a certain output; this also means there are no teaching obligations. Grant holders do not have a superior and their supervisor is therefore not allowed to issue instructions. They have to finance their health insurance out of their own pocket and do not pay social insurance contributions. In most cases grants or scholarships do not constitute taxable income. Please note that is extremely rare that successive grants or scholarships are awarded.

It is also possible to fund a doctorate through other means. In this case also the supervisor is not allowed to issue instructions or to demand a certain output. The doctoral candidate does not receive any financial support from the university, unless she or he applies for other grants or scholarships.

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