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Published:  22 Dec 2021

How to apply for doctoral studies in Europe

Find out how to apply for doctoral studies, including a PhD, in Europe.

Getting started

In Europe, every university sets its own application criteria for doctoral studies. 

To successfully enter the world of research, it´s very important to be proactive and start your preparation early. 

The enrollment procedures take time. Prepare early, check entry requirements and collect your documents. 

Key steps

Choose your topic

Choose your research topic well before starting your studies. 

Find out which university or programme meets your research interests and your academic background.

Find a supervisor

Finding a supervisor before applying could be either compulsory or advisable and it is usually the applicant’s responsibility. 

Check the research teams in the university and look at the publications written by your potential supervisor, as well as their research projects and supervised dissertations to ensure that his or her research areas match your plans.

Check language requirements

Examine the language skills needed for enrollment. It might be necessary to take a test or present internationally validated test results. 

Recognition of qualifications

Find out what documents need to be translated before applying and which ones may need ENIC-NARIC evaluation. 

Some documents might need to be certified by a notary, with an apostille attached.

Prepare your documents

The required documents vary. Usually, you need to prepare the following:

  • official copy of the previous diploma(s)
  • curriculum vitae (CV)
  • research proposal for your PhD
  • motivation letter
  • references and/or recommendation letters

Find a position and funding

EURAXESS is a European Commission portal providing information on research positions and funding to help researchers come to Europe to study, work in another European country and more.

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Published:  22 Dec 2021