Doctoral Study

Your way to a doctorate

Dear doctoral candidates and all those who want to become one, here you will find all information about doctoral studies at the Faculty of Physics. We will answer your questions and accompany you on the way to your doctorate!

  1. Wendelstein 2.1m Fraunhofer Telescope
© Jan Greune
© M. Kluge

First Steps

Are you thinking about a doctorate? First of all, think about the field of research in which you would like to work! The choice of your doctoral topic is of central importance, because those who research with enthusiasm will reach their goal in the end! At the Faculty of Physics a PhD is possible in the subjects astronomy, meteorology and physics (only available in German).

Afterwards, you should find a supervisor for your doctoral project who is authorized to conduct examinations. Looking specifically for PhD positions and finding out about structured PhD programs can also be very helpful.

Contact one of our researchers directly. Information on subjects and research areas as well as an overview of professors can be found in the research section.

A 5-year Master's degree with at least the grade 'good' or a 3-year Bachelor's degree with the grade 'very good' is required for admission to the doctoral program.


We are glad to assist you with all administrative steps - from the admission and submission to the defense of your dissertation. You will find all important information below.

All legally binding regulations can be found in the current version of the examination regulations - these and possible amendment regulations are available for download here (PDF, 130 KB).


Search for and contact a university lecturer on your own. All professors and private lecturers at the university count as a university lecturer.

Letter of admission
It is mandatory to apply for admission at the dean's office.
For this, please hand in all necessary documents:
(certified copies can be made in the dean's office)

  • with a German master degree in physics: certified copy of Master's certificate and diploma
  • with a foreign/non-specialized university degree : certified copy of Bachelor's and Master's certificate, diploma and final transcript of records

Once your admission request has been checked and confirmed, you will receive an admission letter via post mail. With this you can apply for enrollment at the Office of the University Registrar or the International Office.

Admission to doctoral studies is open to students with an outstanding Bachelor’s degree.

Prerequisites for this are

  • an excellent bachelor's degree with a grade of "very good"
  • or a placement among the top 10% in the respective year,
  • a mentor who will advise you

Applicants with degrees earned outside the EU must submit GRE Subject Test scores in physics or mathematics.

Proceed as follows:

After successful examination, you will be admitted to the respective Master's program of the Faculty of Physics.

  • You then have to enroll in the respective master's program and successfully complete 60 ECTS of Master courses in the following two semesters with an average grade of at least good (grade ≤ 2.5). Course selection will take place in consultation with your mentor.
  • These required achievements have to be proven to the Dean's Office at the end of the two semesters. To do so, present the master's certificates to the examination office and obtain a statement of account.

If you can prove that you have completed the 60 ECTS with an average grade of "good", your mentor can give you a confirmation of supervision for the doctorate.

  • Please submit the supervision commitment together with the account statement of the master's achievements to the Dean's Office.
After a successful review, you will be admitted to the doctoral program.
  • You can then enroll in the doctoral program.

With the doctoral degree, you do not acquire a master's degree. This may have consequences later on, e.g. on the pay group in case of employment in the public service. A doctorate without a master's degree is therefore not advisable for people who want to stay in Germany. However, if you are pursuing a Master's degree, you should remain enrolled in the Master's program and complete the remaining required coursework.

Information on how to obtain a Master's degree can be found in the FAQs on this page.

The faculty member who gives you the mentoring commitment is not obligated to continue to mentor you and give you a mentoring commitment for the doctoral degree.

With a master's degree in physics from a total of 4 years of education, e.g.

  • with a "First Degree Master" or
  • with a 3-year Bachelor's degree and a one-year Master's degree ("Integrated Master")
admission is possible under the same conditions as for admission with an excellent Bachelor's degree.

Depending on where you are from and depending on where you obtained your Master degree, the International Office or the Office of the University Registrar is responsible for enrollment as a doctoral student. Please follow their instructions on the information page.

Please note:

  • Doctoral studies are not subject to a standard period of study. As a rule, enrollment for the purpose of a doctorate is limited to a maximum of 8 semesters.
  • If you are seeking a doctorate via access with an excellent bachelor's degree, you must apply as a master's student. See the information page on application, admission and enrollment.

Please note the following for the submission of your thesis:

  • A time limit of at least six weeks should be granted between the submission of your thesis and your oral examination, so that all deadlines can be duly met. The submission of both reports to the dean's office is decisive, since according to the doctoral regulations there must be at least 3 weeks until the oral examination. We therefore recommend that you consult with your reviewers in order to plan your oral examination.
  • Your committee will consist of 6 members (old regulations) or 5 members (new regulations). Please note that amongst them there must be one theoretician, one experimentalist and one person from another field in physics than your own. There can only be one external member.
  • You have to submit eight copies (old doctoral regulations) or seven copies (new doctoral regulations), hard bound in DIN A 4 format. Your doctoral thesis should be preceded by an abstract in German language, included in your thesis.
  • We kindly ask you to make an appointment for your submission at the dean’s office and send us an email to on the day of your submission containing your abstract as well as your dissertation as two separate PDFs or as a download link.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the PhD office by phone or email.

Earning a doctorate with multiple publications?

Cumulative dissertations usually require at least three published and refereed first author publications in renowned journals. Cumulative dissertations must be submitted to the dean by the supervisor prior to submission, indicating the relevant publications. Only when the application has been approved by the dean a cumulative dissertation is possible.

Mixed forms between classical and cumulative dissertation are possible, but require a detailed justification and explanation, with sufficient time before the intended submission date.

In all cases, care must be taken to ensure that the dissertation clearly presents and demonstrates independent scientific achievement.

As a rule, the examination should take place in person. The 20-minute-presentation takes place on the blackboard and is followed by questions. A remote examination is only an option if there is an external member outside Munich or in the event of illness of a member.

If a member of the doctoral committee participates remotely, the requirements of the remote examination apply:

  • The presentation will take place on an electronic whiteboard.
  • All parties involved in the examination must agree to the procedure described here.
  • The examinee and those examiner situated in Munich meet in person in a room.
  • Joining remotely is possible via a suitable video conferencing systems. Suitable and approved according to IT security standards are DFNconf, LRZmeet and in exceptional cases Zoom.
  • The examiner who takes the minutes signs them and sends the scan of the minutes by e-mail to the commission chair. The chair prints out the minutes, signs them as well, and sends them to the Dean's Office along with all other doctoral documents.
  • The committee chair is responsible for ensuring that these requirements are met, including proper record keeping and submission of these to the Dean's Office.

The date for the doctoral examination

  • you set independently in consultation with all members, especially the chair, of the doctoral committee.
  • Please notify the Dean's Office of the date, location and time of the examination as soon as possible.
  • If you have any questions, please contact

After submitting your dissertation and passing the oral examination, you are almost there - the doctoral title is within reach.

Please note, that the preliminary notification you receive after the oral examination does not yet entitle you to use the doctoral title; designations such as Doctor designatus (Dr. des.) or similar are also not permitted. Only after receiving the certificate you may officially use the title Dr. rer. nat.

In order to receive the doctoral certificate for the award of the title "Doctor rerum naturalium", Dr. rer. nat. you must

  • first submit six printed and possibly corrected copies of your dissertation to the University's Office of Publications and publish your dissertation electronically (further information can be found here).
  • According to the doctoral regulations, this submission must take place within one year.
  • The certificate will be issued automatically after the dissertation has been uploaded electronically and submitted to the University Library.
  • As soon as the doctoral certificate is ready for collection at the Dean's Office (approx. 4-6 weeks after submission of your dissertation to the University Library), you will receive a message from the Dean's Office by e-mail and you can collect it from the Dean's Office during normal opening hours.

Dean's Office of the Faculty of Physics

Ms. Merita Shabanaj

Ms. Anna-Serena Melo Voigt

The office hours can be found here:

Regular office hours for habilitations and doctorates

Postal address of the dean's office of the Faculty of Physics

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Fakultät für Physik
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
80539 München

Zentrale Poststelle der LMU (LMU central mail room)

Opening hours:
Monday - Thursday: 07:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Friday: 07:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Central mail room's postal address:
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Zentrale Poststelle der LMU, Zi.Nr. 003
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
80539 München

  • How can I currently submit my dissertation?
The dissertation can be submitted via post mail or in person. Alternatively, you are welcome to hand it in at the "Zentrale Poststelle der LMU" (central mailroom of the LMU Munich) during its opening hours.

  • What do I have to consider when submitting?
Please submit your complete documents including the deposit copies together. As soon as you have submitted your documents, please send us an e-mail to With this e-mail, please send us your abstract and a PDF version or a download link of your dissertation.

  • How much time must elapse between the submission of the dissertation and the date of the defense?
After complete submission of your dissertation, at least 6 weeks must be planned. Decisive for the scheduling of your defense is the receipt of both reviews in the dean's office. After that, there must be at least 3 weeks left until the date of your defense. Therefore, you are welcome to consult your referees for the planning of your examination date.

  • How do I know according to which doctoral examination regulations I will defend my examination?
If you received your doctoral admission before 01.01.2020, you will defend according to the doctoral regulations of April 19, 1993 (old doctoral regulations). If you received your doctoral admission after 01.01.2020, you will defend according to the new doctoral regulations.

  • What are the differences between the two doctoral regulations?
One of the most important differences is that according to the new doctoral regulations, there must be one less member on the examination board and the number of obligatory copies is correspondingly reduced by one. In addition, according to the old doctoral regulations, proof of enrollment as a doctoral student for at least 2 semesters must be submitted. This proof is not required under the new doctoral regulations.

  • Is it possible to change to the new doctoral regulations?
A change from the old to the new doctoral regulations had to be notified in writing to the Dean's Office by 30.06.2020.

  • Will I be employed at a chair directly after admission?
The admission to the doctorate does not say anything about the possibility of employment and about the grouping during the doctorate.

  • Where can I get certified copies?
For the purpose of admission or submission, the certified copies can be done at the dean's office. For any official purpose, please contact your local authority (in Munich at the Kreisverwaltungsreferat, German embassies abroad also certify). Some universities in the USA require certified copies of transcripts in sealed envelopes to be sent directly from LMU when applying. In this case, please bring a fully addressed and stamped envelope along with the original transcript and copies of it to our office. We will then certify and mail the copies.

  • How can I obtain a master's degree if I start a doctorate directly after completing my bachelor's degree?
In order to obtain a Master's degree, you must complete the prescribed curriculum in the respective Master's program, i.e. the required lectures etc. and the practical phases as well as writing the Master's thesis. The research results in a master's thesis can serve as a starting point for the doctoral project. However, a dissertation cannot be recognized as a practical phase and master's thesis.You must also apply for the master's degree at the Office of the University Registrar or the International Office. Please note the deadlines.


Congratulations on your doctorate! You have your doctorate in your pocket. We would like to celebrate this together with you and invite you to the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Physics, which once a year gives a festive farewell to all graduates of the previous academic year.

Theodor Hänsch PhD Award

Joannis Koepsell, winner of the Theodor Hänsch PhD Award 2022 | © Christoph Hohmann

Joannis Koepsell is awarded the Theodor Hänsch PhD Prize from the LMU Faculty of Physics for his outstanding dissertation entitled “Quantum simulation of doped two-dimensional Mott insulators”.

The Theodor Hänsch PhD Award is donated by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation for the Faculty of Physics and is endowed with 4,000 euros. It is named after Professor Theodor W. Hänsch (Nobel Prize winner in 2005) and is intended to recognize particularly outstanding dissertations in the field of physics. The prize is awarded once a year during the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Physics.

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