PhD Computer Science

University of Kaiserslautern

Application deadline: 15 Jun & 15 Dec
Tuition fee:
  • Free (EEA)
Start date: Any time  
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Full-time
Project type: Open
Educational Form: Academic

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Since 2003, the Computer Science Department has provided a PhD programme which is similar to PhD programmes at top US universities. The PhD programme offers highly talented students the chance to become excellent scientists and successful managers within a short period of time. With the completion of a doctoral degree after approx. four years, the department certifies a broad and - in a selected range - deep fundamentals-oriented education in computer science, as well as the ability to pursue independent scientific research. Students with excellent abilities can apply for stipends.

The Computer Science Department at TU Kaiserslautern is very active in research and education - currently 25 groups covering the whole bandwidth of research topics in this domain.

It focuses particularly on:

* Information and Communication Systems
* System and Software Engineering
* Knowledge-based and Multimedia Systems

The excellence of the Computer Science Department is reflected in several highly prestigious research institutions and centers:

* German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI)
* Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software (IESE)
* Max-Planck-Institute for Software Systems
* Center of Excellence in the Federal State of Rhineland-Palatinate
* Research Center `Ambient Intelligence´ (interdisciplinary cross-faculty research).
* International Research Training Group `Visualization of Large and Unstructured Data Sets´ (in cooperation with well-renowned partners in the U.S.)
* Center for Computer Algebra

All these institutions and activities offer a unique scientific and educational landscape and provide for world-class education and research in computer science.

The PhD programme consists of two phases. The first phase of our programme, the graduate studies phase, can take up to four semesters and lays a foundation for writing a PhD thesis. Students obtain credits by attending lectures and seminars, doing guided research project work and preparing a thesis proposal. The second phase of the programme, the doctoral studies phase, lasts four to five semesters and is devoted to the preparation of the PhD thesis. During this phase, students attend corresponding courses. Admission to phase two is dependent upon acceptance as a doctoral candidate, based on an examination and a successful viva voce of the dissertation proposal.



Graduate Studies Phase:

The first phase of the PhD program, called graduate studies phase, can take up to 4 semesters and comprises of 140 ECTS CP. It provides a combined methodical and practical education in the area of the intended dissertation. The study consists of lectures, exercises, projects, seminars, and team work.

In this phase, a professor of our department (preferably in the potential area of the PhD thesis) acts as a mentor who helps the students to plan their study activities and guides the developing of the thesis proposal.

As an introduction to the area of the intended dissertation, students take lectures (32 CP in total), a practical training (project), and a seminar in the topic area. For broadening their computer science knowledge, students also have to visit lectures from three different teaching areas (12 CP each), do an additional project, and take an additional seminar. Besides this technical work, students take courses for guided research (40 CP). The graduate studies in this phase will be finished with a final oral examination to assess whether the student has acquired the necessary skills during the graduate studies phase.

Finally, a larger individual project (20 CP) should be the basis for the intended dissertation subject. This part of the first phase will be completed by a dissertation topic proposal and a description of the dissertation approach. The topic of the dissertation has to be arranged with the mentor. The student and his or her mentor together develop a concept that describes the topic and the scientific goal of the dissertation. This concept must also show that the dissertation can be completed within two and a half years.

Doctoral Studies Phase:

The second phase of the program, the doctoral studies phase, starts by being accepted as a doctoral candidate by the department. Prerequisite for acceptance is the passing of an oral examination for the graduate studies phase. When the proposed dissertation concept has been accepted by the department, an advisor team of at least three professors takes care of the student during his doctoral studies phase. The student can give a proposal for the composition of that advisor team. The doctoral studies phase lasts 4-5 semesters and is devoted to the preparation of the PhD thesis. The PhD work will be done in the research group of the mentor.

For the acquisition of further knowledge and abilities ("soft skills"), students have to do work that improves their teaching skills, written and oral expression ability, as well as project acquisition and project management. Examples of these activities are the elaboration and execution of parts of a lecture, supervision of seminars, conference contributions, and cooperation for the filing of a project application. This occupational work is done in parallel to the scientific work.

After two and a half years, the doctoral studies phase should be finished and the dissertation should be submitted to the department.

Please have a look at the Programme-Website:


Language Requirements:

Language proficiency in English: TOEFL: 550 (paper-based); 213 (computer-based); 80 (internet-based) or German (Certificate German, ZD) or equivalent

No proficiency in German is required!

Academic requirements:

Excellent Bachelor's or Master's degree:
Holders of a Bachelor's degree initially join the Master's programme.
Holders of a Master's degree are admitted directly to the PhD programme.
GRE test is strongly recommended





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