Useful links and information

Enrollment, degree and funding

The doctoral degree is awarded by one of our partner universities (TU Dortmund, Ruhr University Bochum or University of Duisburg-Essen) depending on the affiliation of the group leader. Therefore, students, that join the IMPRS-LM program, will also be officially enrolled as doctorate students at one of the universities. At the end of their doctoral studies, students will receive, in addition to the university degree, a certificate from IMPRS-LM that acknowledges their successful participation in the international program.

IMPRS-LM students will receive financial support for the duration of their project. Funding can be of two types: working contract or fellowship. The choice of one or the other will depend on the source of funding of the hosting group leader and the hosting institute.
As a rule, financial support will end with the final PhD defense.

There are no tuition fees for the PhD program, but there is a fee for university enrollment which includes the Semesterticket that entitles to the use of public transport in all the Ruhr Area (link to

Visa to enter Germany

In many cases a visa is required for entry into Germany. This can be obtained from the German embassy in your home country. You should allow two to three months for the application process. 
You will find the addresses of the German missions along with details of visa requirements for citizens of your country and further information regarding the visa regulations on the following German Foreign Office web pages:

Visas for entry into Germany
German Missions abroad

In general, a visa only entitles you to enter the country and remain for a period of 90 days. If you are planning a longer stay, shortly after arrival you should apply for a residence permit.
Citizens of the EU member states, and of Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein do not need a visa.
For European Union (EU) citizens, rather than a residence permit a so-called ‘Freizügigkeitsbescheinigung’ is issued on a relatively informal basis (literally, this is a Freedom of Movement Certificate, a document which confirms your status as an EU citizen).

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Public transport

For your doctoral studies you have to register at a University (TU Dortmund, Ruhr University Bochum or University Duisburg-Essen). The registration fee (to be paid twice a year: 320 Euro) includes free public transport in the NRW area.

"VRR" (Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr): Public transport company for the NRW area:

"Deutsche Bahn" website: find the fastest connections, timetables, fares etc. within Dortmund and Germany: 

Map of Dortmund's Stadtbahn & Tram Network: here

German health insurance system

Health insurance in Germany is split in several parts. The largest part of 85% of the population is covered by a basic health insurance plan provided by statute, formally insured under the legislation set with the Sozialgesetzbuch V (SGB V), which provides a standard level of coverage (“Law-enforced health insurance” – Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung).

The remainder of 15% opt for private health insurance, which frequently offers additional benefits.
All salaried employees must have public health insurance. Only public officers, self-employed people and employees with a large income, above c. €50,000.00 (adjusted yearly), may join the private system.

Child care in Germany

Nursery school (Kindergarten or Kita)
Children under the age of three have no legal right to a place in nursery school (Kindergarten). Places are often limited and in some cases new admissions are only accepted once a year, so it is advisable for parents to place their child on the waiting list of the nursery of their choice well in advance.
All children aged three and above have a statutory right to a place at a nursery (Kindergarten/Kita). A "Kita" is a more informal kindergarten, often run by parents' associations. Most nurseries operate half-day sessions (usually mornings), but approximately one third offer full day care. Nurseries are run by local authorities, churches, and charitable organizations. Parents are obliged to make a financial contribution towards the cost based on their family income.

Enrolling in a kindergarten
There is a specific procedure for enrolling a child at a kindergarten. First visit the local municipal nursery office "Kita-Stelle" where the financial and social (for example single or dual parent) status of the family is assessed and recorded. Written confirmation is then given by the Office for Youth (Jugendamt) which details the childcare entitlement and sets the financial contribution ratio expected of the parent.

Childminders (Tagesmutter)
Childminders can be found through personal recommendation or by contacting the local Office for Youth (Jugendamt) who will recommend a registered childminder, often with a professional childminding qualification. Childminding costs are generally lower than nursery fees.

Information about German school system


Living and working in Germany