External Doctorate

Regardless of the type of doctorate (individual or a doctoral program), doctoral candidates can also research in non-university research institutions and private enterprise companies. In these cases, the doctoral researchers are usually directly employed by the research institution or the company. Depending on the arrangement, the dissertation will be written during or outside of working hours.

Big non-university research organizations and associations are:

  • Fraunhofer Society that primarily focuses on applied engineering research.
  • Helmholtz Association (HGF) is the biggest science organization in Germany. KIT also is a member of HGF.
  • Leibniz Association of 97 scientifically, legally, and economically independent research institutes and service institutions in Germany.
  • Max Planck Society with institutes in various scientific areas focusing on fundamental research.  

In an external doctorate in a company – the so-called industrial doctorate – you usually work and research directly at the company. Advantages are that doctoral researcher acquire practical and professional experience during the doctorate. Disadvantages can arise as a result of the distance to the university, which can restrict the contact with the supervisors at the KIT Department, the integration into the working group, and the access to the scientific network compared to those doctoral researchers who research and work directly at the institute.