Are Masters degrees from German universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen) eligible for PhD?

If I do a Masters in any of the German universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen), would I be able to apply for a PhD in any other Universities/research institutes in Germany?


2 Answers 2


The basic answer is "Yes, but. . . ."

A master's degree is usually the minimum prerequisite for admission to PhD programs in Germany. However, many faculties within various German universities have established "qualification" procedures for degrees they do not believe to be "equivalent" to their own. This usually includes some combination of coursework (with the associated exams), plus evaluation of the master's thesis to show equivalency to the expected degree.

These criteria are often applied not only to international students, but to students from German Fachhochschule as well. However, these policies vary widely between universities, and between different departments at the same universities, so you should contact the specific programs you're interested for more details.


Since you have asked this question, the situation has changed. It is now becomming more common that people with a master degree from a university of applied sciences (or Fachhochschule, FH) are doing PhDs. The barriers that @aeismail mentioned still exist, but the willingness of university professors to supervise FH-students has increased. Often FH PhDs are done collaboratively between a FH (were most of the reserach is done) and a "regular" university (were the main supervisor is located, although the FH profoessors co-supervise as well).

There is even the possibility to do the PhD not at a "regular" university, but at a FH itself - withouth a univerity based supervising professor. This is so far only possible in 6 of the 16 Bundesländer (federal states) of Germany, though.

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