PhD program: Doctor of Science

 The general aim of the program is to prepare qualified students for research careers in geo-related science and engineering. It requires at least three academic years of full-time study and research, or the equivalent over a longer period and may typically involve as many as four years. A short description of all geo related study courses (M.Sc and Ph.D) at our university you will find here! Be aware that geo-science and geo-engineering is a highly interdisciplinary research field and do need scientists and engineers from the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, informatics, environmental-, civil- , and geo-engineering. So do not hesitate to contact us, if you are e.g. a chemist but interested in environmental and geo related topics.

Why Freiberg ?

Freiberg is a centre of excellence in Geoscience and Geoengineering in Germany joining campus university, consultings and administrative bodies.


The Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg is one of the rare cases of an universitiy owning an own teaching mine / underground laboratory.

Freiberg is a budget-priced city with nearly everything in walking distance. The city offers a variety of sports, recreation and cultural activities.

Freiberg has a fine tradition (oldest Bergakademie of the world, historic town) but at the same time offers modern and future-orientated labs and research facilities.


Each student must submit an acceptable dissertation which represents a significant and original research contribution in the area of specialization chosen. As well in certain cases it is possible to submit a cumulative dissertation containing several papers published in international and reviewed journals. The dissertation have to be written either in English or German.


You must pass an oral examination for the major and a minor subject; but there is a go around for the oral examination. Finally you will defense your dissertation by means of a 30 minutes talk followed by an open discussion with the memmebrs of the PhD committee and the audience..


We advise potential applicants to communicate with one or more of our faculty before completing a formal application. We provide state-of-the-art opportunities for students with well-defined interests in our areas of focus, but a good "fit" between a student and the program needs to be established early in the application process.

Rules of Good Scientific Practice

Please inform yourself about the rules of good scientific practice.


We do not charge PhD students since university courses are subsidized in total by the German government. You only have to pay for the formal enrollment which comes up to be 84 Euro per semester.

Foreign students from non EU countries may work 90 whole or 180 half days. Apart from this and additional foreign students from non EU countries may take as much students jobs as they can get. However, according to university rules student jobs (studentische /wissenschaftliche Hilfskräfte) are limited to 40 hours a month. Finally after their final exam they can stay for one year to look for a job. If they find a job, they will likely get a further visum (Neues Zuwanderergesetz valid since January 2005).

Please do not hesitate to write or call for more information-we'd be happy to answer your questions or send you an application. Write or call:

Professor Dr. Broder J. Merkel, Institute for Geology, Faculty of Geoscience, Geotechniques and Mining, Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg,
Gustav Zeuner Str. 12, D-09599 Freiberg

Tel. +49 3731 392775
Fax +49 3731 392720 
email: merkelatgeo [dot] tu-freiberg [dot] de



You must have a master´s degree from an accredited college or university with a specialization in one of the physical sciences or engineering. Although the program is designed primarily for students who have majored in geology at the graduate level, there may be instances in which a science student with other than a major in geology may be admitted to the doctoral program provided that the deficiencies in undergraduate geology are made up during the first year of graduate study. Test scores of the Graduate Record Examinations are required.


Financial Support

Financial support is available to PhD students on a competitive basis. One source of support is through teaching assistantships. Grant-supported research assistantships are also available which carry a comparable stipend. The University itself offers no Fellowships. You are encouraged to apply for other fellowships, such as the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, DAAD (
You are as well encouraged to apply for research funding from external sources. Here you might find more fellowship programmes.

Important for all starting a PhD

A PhD at Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg (TUBAF) comprises 3 components: thesis, oral exams (“Rigerosum”), and public defense (30 minutes talk plus discussion). The common time to perform a PhD research is 3 years. Classwork is not obligatory, but many courses are offered and you may attend.
There are certain things that you have to consider during your PhD work:

  • Think about the two possibilities to write a thesis: classical versus cumulative
  • The “Rigerosum” might be replaced by certain alternative achievements: publications in peer reviewed journals, conference talks and posters, lecturing courses, and participating in courses (see GRAFA ).
  • Use a reference management system (e.g. CITAVI, which is provided free of costs via the TUBAF library. more... ).
  • Use a database (e.g. Microsoft ACCESS, Oracle, dBase, (MySQL)) instead of tools like Excel to manage your data.
  • All work and data have to be included in the digital appendix of the thesis.
  • Improve you English.  Many international students do not have the approbriate English proficiency. The language tandem program might be a good option as well.
  • When using WORD for writing your text take advantage of the available automation tools (e.g. automatic numbering of headings and subheadings, captions for figures and tables, automatic content and reference lists).
  • When using other software for writing (e.g. LATEX), consider that there are groups of experienced users at the university (More about Latex... ). Do not hesitate to contact this group as well...
  • Find help at the competent staff of the library with questions and problems on reference management software, literature research, writing programs, availability of journals, etc. (Andreas Stumm, Silke Tesch and others; for contact details see ....).
  • Much information on the university’s website and elsewhere is only given in German. Ask people for help if you have problems with understanding. Or start learning German and become able to help yourself and others too with translating. The international university center (IUZ) offers different levels of German courses (more... ; in case of questions, do not hesitate to contact staff from the IUZ.
  • When working together and interacting with other scientists (e.g. commenting on written texts), use the correction mode that is offered by MS WORD and Adobe pdf.
  • Learn how to write scientific papers (e.g. by reading as many scientific papers as your time allows, participate in courses offered (geo-scientific communication and/or GRAFA ).
  • Improve your soft skills as a scientist by attending courses offered by the university’s library, the Career Center, the faculty, etc.
  • Use SCOPUS, GEOBASE, GEOLINE, GeoRef and others for your scientific research. Be aware that you will have access only with a computer with an TUBAF ID. You may as well establist a VPN if you are working at home. You may download  VPN here ...
  • Build your own database with e.g. CITAVI.
  • TUBAF does provide electronic access for many, but not all journals. Even though you may get these papers via the library (inter-library loan, German: “Fernleihe”) for Euro 1.5 € per reference...  or as fast track ordering option (one day) via SUBITO (with a fee of about 7 €). This is also applicable for books or any kind of references.
  • After you have submitted the thesis, no further changes are possible except correction of misspellings. Only if reviewers state that the thesis contains major errors (which is hopefully not the case) the candidate will get the condition to make certain changes.

Career Placement

Our graduates have had excellent job placement records. Over 20 percent have taken jobs as university faculty or research staff. Among the institutions at which they work are universities all over the world. Others have taken and retained jobs with major and intermediate-size drilling and mining companies, oil companies, consulting companies in the fields of geology, mining, water exploitation, sustainable development, environmental protection and pollution sanitation as well as government authorities.