Before arrival

Congratulations! You have found a supervisor for your doctoral thesis. In order to organize your relocation to Munich and the initial phase of your doctorate as smoothly as possible, you should take care of certain formalities before your arrival. A good overview of important steps to consider can be found in our Checklist for International Doctoral Candidates.

You are interested in pursuing your doctorate at the TUM and are looking for information about application and admission? Comprehensive information on how to find a supervisor and the application process can be found in the section “Applicants” under “Application”.

Virtual Office Hours

In order to continue offering the best possible support during the COVID-19 pandemic, our Welcome Office offers a virtual office hour via Zoom every Wednesday from 2-4 p.m. Contact our Welcome Office via and pre-book your individual time slot.

Visa-free entry

Citizens of an EU/EFTA member state can enter Germany without a visa. They only need a valid government-issued ID or a comparable proof of identity. There are also several countries whose citizens do not require a visa to enter Germany. These include Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom and the United States of America. However, citizens of those countries must apply for a residence permit in Germany within three months. Citizens of several other countries, such as Brazil, do not need a visa only for study purposes, for all other purposes (such as employment or research) an appropriate entry visa is required.

Current information on entry regulations for each country can be found on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

Entry with a visa

Citizens of all other states will need a visa to enter Germany. As the application process might take up to several months it is necessary to submit your visa application as soon as possible at the responsible German representation in your home country. As a rule, you will need a supervision confirmation letter from your future dissertation supervisor that includes the details of your doctoral project and your stay (including your dissertation topic, length, financing, health insurance and language skills).

There are three types of visas that are normally used for doctorates at TUM (study, employment, and research). The right kind of visa for you depends on several factors and on your personal preferences. Please consult the respective German representation in your home country to determine what documentation you will need. Always name the specific reason for your stay (doctorate) and your later plans so that the visa you are issued matches your needs and plans. You can find important information about entry regulations Germany on the website of the Federal Foreign Office at and of the Munich Foreigners' Office at .

Please note: If your language does not use the Roman alphabet, decide what spelling your name should take. In case your passport is transliterated, always use the spelling chosen there. Many official forms in Germany will ask for your last name (family name/surname). If your country does not follow the custom of first and last name, decide in advance which part of your name you will use as your last name and be consistent.

Please do not enter Germany on a tourist visa. Such visas can very rarely be changed retroactively in Germany (usually, any change requires you to leave the country first). Your financing in Germany must be secured by the time you submit your visa application.

There are different option to fund your doctoral research at TUM. The majority of TUM doctoral candidates either receive a scholarship or are employed as research associates at their respective TUM chair/research group. TUM has no specific requirements regarding on how you have to fund your doctorate and as there are no tuition fee for doctoral research at TUM, you may fund your living expenses by a regular job and do a “part-time doctorate” or live from your savings. However, please keep in mind that Munich is an expensive city and you will need 1,000 Euro per month on average. Furthermore, in case you have no secure funding (e.g. scholarship, employment at TUM) and if you need a visa to enter Germany/apply for residence permit, you will need to prove that you have at least 10,332 EUR at your disposal for 12 months (blocked account, “Sperrkonto”). Further information on funding can be found in the section “Applicants” under “Funding”

TUM Graduate School (TUM-GS) is a central academic institution at TUM. It promotes structured training for doctoral candidates, and collaborates with the degree-awarding institutions at TUM to provide the best possible supervision. The TUM Graduate School is organized into a central Managing Office, Graduate Centers for degree-awarding institutions (Departmental Graduate Center) and interdisciplinary, interdepartmental Thematic Graduate Centers. These Graduate Centers are the first point of contact for graduate students with questions about, among other things: administrative steps for doctoral programs (e.g. a supervision agreement, feedback meeting), the requirements of the TUM Graduate School (required courses), specialized and discipline-related qualification programs, internationalization support and much more. Each Graduate Center has its own webpage, where you can find extensive information about the program it offers and its services, information sheets and guidelines, as well as contact information for the respective contact person.

All doctoral candidates at TUM will automatically become members of a suitable Departmental Graduate Center or Thematic Graduate Center after their successful doctoral admission (entry into the doctoral candidacy list of the respective department/school). As the TUM Graduate School is an umbrella organization of all Graduate Centers at TUM, you do not need to apply for membership in the “TUM Graduate School” additionally. Please ask your doctoral supervisor about which Graduate Center is the most suitable one for you. 

The supervision agreement helps you and your supervisor plan and complete your doctorate. This document makes each party’s rights and obligations transparent, and defines the focus of qualification and traceable milestones. The elements of the supervision agreement can and should be adjusted and changed as the dissertation project develops. The supervision agreement is an essential part of the doctoral admission process (entry into the doctoral candidacy list) and should be tackled as early as possible. You will get the template for the supervision agreement from your respective Graduate Center.

Applicants with a degree from a foreign university must subject their degrees to an equivalency check. At TUM, the determination of equivalency with a German degree will happen during the application process for entry into the doctoral candidacy list. This means that the recognition process will happen after you have already found a doctoral supervisor, have signed a supervision agreement and (in most cases) have already moved to Munich. In addition, the equivalency check will also be necessary for your employment at TUM (if applicable) and either for your visa application or, at the latest, for the application for your residence permit after your arrival in Germany.

Therefore, it is highly recommended, and in certain cases even required, to prepare necessary documents, certified copies and translations before your arrival. Please contact our TUM-GS Welcome Office for more information on the requirements for degree recognition. Further information can also be found on our website in the section “Applicants” under “Application” -> “Foreign Degrees”.

Regardless of the type and length of the doctoral program, every doctoral candidate (and, if appliccable, all family members travelling with them) must have valid health insurance for Germany during the entire stay. If you come from a EU/EEA member state and have a health insurance, please check before your arrival whether this insurance is also recognized in Germany. A current list of countries that have concluded social security agreements with Germany can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and of the German Social Insurance (Deutsche Rentenversicherung).

Usually, you will have to provide a proof of valid health insurance during your application for residence permit, and it is recommended to inform yourself about health insurance providers and treatments covered (please note that pre-existing conditions are not always covered!).

Please note: Although travel insurance might be accepted for visa applications, it is not sufficient to cover the entire period of your doctorate at TUM. Travel insurances only cover specific health risks when travelling but do not cover for medical treatments during extended stays. Therefore, we highly recommend to inform yourself about health insurance as soon as possible.

Further information about health insurance and social security can be found on the website of EURAXESS Germany as well as DAAD.

Accommodation in Munich is expensive and scarce. Unlike many foreign universities, German universities usually do not have their own student dormitories but student housing are provided and managed by Student Unions, private companies or institutions belonging to the church. In Munich, the Munich Student Union offers student housing that are open to doctoral candidates who are enrolled at doctoral students at the TUM. However, places in student dormitories are very popular and have long waiting lists. Therefore, the vast majority of our doctoral candidates have to search for accommodation on the housing market. Please note that the search for affordable housing is usually quite difficult and takes a long time. Therefore, you should start looking as soon as possible. The TUM-GS Welcome Office will gladly provide further information on how and where to start your search. A first overview can also be found in the section “Living in Munich” under “Finding Accommodation”.

The TUM Family Service offers a comprehensive range of information, advice and services relating to the compatibility of work and family. Free places in childcare facilities like nursery and Kindergarten are limited, especially in downtown Munich. Therefore, you should contact the TUM Family Service as soon as possible if you are moving to Munich with your child/children.

Additionally, since November 2020 the International Dual Career Network (IDCN) has been offering a platform for the development of a professional network for partners of TUM doctoral candidates.