Further information

The Guide for International Researchers Coming to Germany - a brochure prepared for individual needs of researchers coming to Cologne. Available at the IGSDHD office.

Student services

In addition to the structured PhD program, the Graduate School provides comprehensive advice and support for its students. With a special "start-up" program, the IGSDHD office helps new students to cope with the transition to the Graduate School, to meet all formal requirements and to integrate effectively into both the Graduate School's research and social environment. Further support and guidance, e.g. for conference travels, is offered on a "stand-by" basis.

Visa requirements

To enter Germany for the purpose of study, students from countries outside the European Union need a student visa. Residents of from Australia, Japan, Canada, Isreal, New Zealand, USA, Switzerland, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino are exempted from the obligation. The student visa must be issued by the German embassy or consulate in your country of residence. You should apply for this visa immediately after acceptance into the programme. (More detailed information and the required letter of endorsement will be provided together with the formal acceptance letter).

Useful resources are the websites maintained by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD, link) and the German Federal Foreign Office (link).

University enrolment

Formal admission to the university (and subsequent enrolment), will be organised after your arrival. You will have to provide certified copies of your high school admission, transcripts of records of your B.Sc.- and Master's studies and of your thesis summary. If your thesis is not in English or German, you will need a certified translation of the summary. Although you will only have to submit copies of these documents, make sure that you also carry the originals along - they will be requested for validation from the university administration.

Health insurance

Health insurance is compulsory for students at a German university and has to be documented upon enrolment. Student health insurance can be obtained on a semester basis. As the Graduate School programme starts one month ahead of the semester (September vs October), you will need a "non-student" insurance for this transition period. If your home insurance does not provide coverage equivalent to German minimum standards, please purchase travel health insurance valid for the first month.

Financial matters

Regular payment of your fellowship (through bank transfer) requires that you possess a bank account with a German bank. As part of our start-up service, we will also help with opening an appropriate account in Cologne.


Finding a place to live may take some time. We will therefore assist in taking temporary housing in student rooms/apartments of the Studentenwerk Koeln (the public provider for all student-related services like accommodation, catering etc.). Getting a place in a students' dormitory requires that you apply for it before you arrive in Cologne - waiting line can be from few weeks to few months. The sooner you apply the higher is your chance to get it. Accepted students who want to apply  should contact us directly in case they need our help. Once you have the temporary place you can start searching for private accommodation. Again, we will be happy to appropriately assist in the search if necessary.

Additional information prepared by the University of Cologne for international students on:

  • Visas
  • Registration
  • German classes
  • Working contract
  • Family and family support 
  • ... and many more