I have just finished an honours degree in Psychological science in Australia - this is a 3 year bachelors with an additional selective entry 4th year involving 50% coursework and research. In addition to this I have about a year of research experience across a few different labs and areas. I'd like to move to somewhere in central / western Europe (e.g. Berlin). The aim is to eventually do a Phd there (although nobody there ever seems entirely certain whether my degree is eligible or if I need a masters), but ideally I'd like to get some involvement in a lab / institution first.

Does such an aim seem reasonable and achievable, or would I be generally expected to just pursue a Masters / Phd path? What is the best way to go about finding such a position?

I am pursuing the networking angle, but don't have many contacts in that direction. I have a sporadic collection of mailing lists and web sites I check, and will turn to 'cold emailing' academics of interest at some point.

3 Answers 3


From my experience, EU citizen and familiar with Australian degree system, you will have a hard time getting into a PhD program. The honors bachelor cannot be considered at the same level of the Masters degree. Regarding employment in a lab in Europe your first hurdle would be getting a working permit. This might be hard unless you already have someone who can sponsor you. I think you are better off trying to find some field technician or volunteer position to collaborate with some of the labs and then perhaps start networking from there. Otherwise you could try and move to Germany with the tourist visa for 3/6 months and start network that way. However German professors seem quite reachable by e-mail, I would start contacting some of them for which you have an interest in their research and see what they suggest.


As somebody working in Germany, I can assure you that starting a doctoral program is not possible unless you have either a Master's degree or a degree considered "equivalent" to the Master's degree. In most cases, this means that you have to have a Master's degree. To enter a Master's degree program in Germany can also be tricky, because most "traditional" programs require proof of German skills as well as a bachelor's degree that is "equivalent" to the bachelor's degree as offered by three German university in which you wish to enroll. The qualification process for a foreign degree can be very tedious to complete.

However, there are a number of "non-consecutive" Master's programs in various disciplines at most universities. Admission to such programs is not contingent on having a bachelor's degree in the same field, and many of these programs are conducted in English. The DAAD can help you to find a suitable program.

If you are a Master's student, you will typically have to do a thesis project to complete your degree. Until then, however, you won't be able to do full-time research. However, you will be able to act as a part-time worker in a research group. What duties this entails varies greatly from research group to research group.


I came across this memorandum of understanding between Germany and Australia on academic degrees a while ago - among other things it says that Australian honours degrees are eligible to begin phd studies in Germany, and I did so last year after some time in an assistant like role.


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