Why a structured PhD?

picture of thump going up

A structured PhD in HBRS has many advantages compared to a "normal" PhD (Dr.rer.nat.) at MHH:

-> Please see also the table below!




1. Overall:  HBRS takes care that your PhD does not take more than 3-4 years. Good supervision and funding for the whole duration of PhD is guaranteed.


2. International: you meet and interact people from more than 40 different countries


3. Networking and interdisciplinarity: we have around 250 PhD students as well as 150 supervisors in our graduate school. You get to know students and supervisors from different disciplines. Everyone is willing to assist you in your project.


4.  Personal development and Career: The HBRS also provides various opportunities for personal development and social interaction. Previous events organised for our students include:

# Orientation weeks
# Conflict/ Stress/ Project/ Time Management
# The Annual Indian Party and HBRS Christmas Party
# HBRS Career Day
# Intercultural communication, Team Work
# GMP course
# Day/weekend trips to various German cities
# Career advice including special soft skill courses and excursions to industry
# Master Classes and Summer Schools
# German and English language classes


5. HBRS office/ PhD offices: take care of all personal matters. Every student has got one main supervisor as well as two co-supervisors. Furthermore, you can rely on your fellow classmates as well as senior students. So, you are never left alone in case of problems!

Classical vs Structured PhD

 Classical PhD at MHH


Structured PhD at HBRS 

 One supervisor and one cosupervisor

 (more cosupervisors optional)

 Main supervisor and two cosupervisors from different departments; annual thesis advisory meetings

 Project provided by supervisor   

 Project provided by supervisor and checked by PhD committee 

 You start anytime

 You start in October. You have classmates (usually a batch of up to 20 students per program per year)

 Change of project difficult

 Time of probation 6 months; change of project within program possible

 You have colleagues in your department and have to take efforts to get to know other PhD students outside your group

 You have colleagues in your department and regularly meet fellow PhD students in HBRS seminars as well as other HBRS activities

 No special seminars and courses offered

 HBRS seminars every week during first two years

 You have to look for opportunities on your own; you have to take at least two soft skill courses

 Soft skill courses, Master classes, excursions, events, Career advice etc.

 Not provided by MHH

 German and English classes


 Annual retreat with all members of your program

 No intermediate exam

 Intermediate exam

 PhD office responsible mainly for registration and handing in thesis; International office helps international students

 PhD and HBRS offices provide help any time

 Not provided

 Orientation weeks and senior student mentors

 Organize on your own

 Housing, bank account, insurance etc. for international students organized by PhD offices

 Final PhD defense, no fixed dates, organize yourself  (you cannot predict when evaluations are ready)

 Final PhD defense at fixed dates organized by PhD offices

 No PhD degree awarded, only Dr.rer.nat or Dr.biol.hum.

 PhD or Dr.rer.nat. degree

 Medical students can only do the Dr.med. degree

 Medical students can be awarded PhD degree (German students after they have done Dr.med.)

 Not provided

 Huge HBRS Alumni network, Alumni Mentoring