Doctorate at the HFAQuestions and answers
I am in my last semester of my master/ I finish my Master in …, can I apply?
Yes, you can apply. Upload your transcript of records or a provisional master certificate. Please be aware that you have to finish your master until the end of this year and hand in your certificate before you can start the doctorate. As soon as you have your certificate, please send it to us.
I already have a doctorate, can I still apply for a position?
If your field of interest is different from what you have done in your previous doctoral program then, yes, you can apply at Hector Fellow Academy for a position.
I applied last year or before but was unsuccessful. Can I apply again?
Yes, you can re-apply. You will need to re-upload your application.
Is there any age limit to apply for a doctoral position?
Please be aware that our doctoral positions aim at promoting young and excellent scientists at the beginning of their career. For this reason, we recommend you to have a Master degree which is less than five years old. Thus, we will review your application in regard to your profile and qualification if you decide to apply nevertheless.
I am not a citizen from the European Union, can I still apply for a position?
The call is open to excellent students from around the world. There are no restrictions regarding your country of origin.
Is it mandatory to have an IELTS or TOEFL certificate to apply? What is the minimum grade required?
Applicants must have excellent English skills. However, an English language certificate is not mandatory for the application. If available, an IELTS or TOEFL certificate can be uploaded. We will take it into account if it is there, but it will not negatively impact your application if you cannot hand it in on time.
Are German language skills mandatory?
German language skills are no precondition for the doctoral program. However, applicants must have excellent English skills.
What are your research areas?
As only you know what the specific focus of your doctorate will be, we recommend you to take a look at the different research areas of our Hector Fellows. On our website, you can find all the research areas within the Hector Fellow Academy. For your application, you define the matching Hector Fellow as a potential supervisor for your application. The profiles of our Hector Fellows are provided here:
Die Profile unserer Hector Fellows finden Sie hier:
Please check the Hector Fellow’s profiles if he/she is available for supervising doctoral projects!
I am interested in …, can you please tell me whom of the Hector Fellows can supervise me?
It is your responsibility to choose the Hector Fellow, whose field of research fits your proposal. On our website you can find all the research areas represented in the Hector Fellow Academy. Just go to the profile page of each Hector Fellow and look at their current research fields.
Can I still apply for a doctoral position when my supervisor is not one of the Hector Fellows?
The funding of the Hector Fellow Academy is bound to the supervision of a Hector Fellow. It is not possible to apply for funding without having a supervisor from the Hector Fellow Academy. Therefore, you are not eligible to apply if you were already accepted for another position.
The topics available do not match my research interest, can I still apply for a position?
Your research topic needs to fit within the research interest of a Hector Fellow. The funding is bound to the supervision of your research by a Hector Fellow. If you haven’t found your field of research in the fields of one of the Hector Fellows, then unfortunately there might not be much of a chance for your application.
Could you review my documents and see if I am eligible?
The Hector Fellow Academy cannot pre-screen your application and background. As we take a holistic view at each applicant, we can only evaluate your application once it is complete and we only accept applications made via our application portal.
Do I have to upload the official translation of my documents?
For the application process, we need the original document as well as the translation in English or German (you can make one pdf file out of two and then upload a two-page document). If you don’t have the possibility to provide an official/notarized translation, we accept translations made by yourself (that’s enough for the first instance). At a later stage in the application process, we will require notarized translations. Please send your documents as early as possible so that we can start the admission’s process.
Can I submit letters of recommendation myself?
We cannot accept letters of recommendation sent by the applicants themselves. We will request them from the references directly.
Who should write the letters of recommendation?
The letter of recommendation should be written by someone who is able to give us a holistic view of your abilities. As you are applying for a research scholarship, this should be an academic who is able to comment on your research and academic abilities — whether from the university you studied at or another one does not matter. Letters need to be written on official institutional letterhead.
Do I need a class ranking?
You can go on with your application without any class ranking, it’s not mandatory.
What topic should I choose for my research proposal?
The topic must fit within the research interests of the chosen Hector Fellow. You need to be qualified to conduct the research (i.e. have a strong background in the required methodologies, topics, techniques).
Is there a special format required in writing the research proposal?
There is no template. Please follow these guidelines:
Please summarize your Research Proposal on 2–4 pages (4,000–8,000 characters, incl. spaces) and address the following points: Introduction to the scientific topic, state of the art in the field of research (+ possibly own preliminary work), goals and methods applied, bibliography. Highlight the innovativeness of your research idea and link your topic with the research field of the chosen Hector Fellow.
In the application form in the "Research Proposal or Letter of Application" section, do I upload a Research Proposal, or a Statement of Purpose?
You upload your research proposal if you are applying with your own idea and you upload a Statement of Purpose if applying for an advertised position.
Do I need to contact the supervisor to get their approval before I can apply?
Do I need to contact the supervisor to get their approval before I can apply?
You don’t have to contact any Hector Fellow but are welcome to. Please do not be discouraged if you do not receive an answer immediately. If contacting them, be well prepared and please make sure to have relevant and well thought questions. Keep the email short and to the point including the most relevant data about yourself and your research. You just have to name the selected Hector Fellow in the application form. Without this, your application will not be forwarded.
In case of applying for an advertised position, please contact the respective Hector Fellow in order to discuss the position in advance. Please check the advertised positions: https://www.hector-fellow-academy.de/en/young-scientist-support/application/#ausgeschriebene-stellen.
What is meant by "Schedule for the doctoral project / Timeline"
You have to prepare a timetable for you research idea, i.e. when are you planning to do what/ how are you planning to use the three years of funding? Please show a rough work schedule of the 3 years of your doctoral thesis on 1–2 pages. You can decide on your own whether you use a graphic or a timeline, there is no formal concept. We use this schedule to gauge whether your research proposal is feasible to complete in three years.
For an advertised position we will use the timeline to see whether you have already familiarized with the chosen topic.
How can I apply?
We can only accept applications made via our application portal:
Please check the Hector Fellow’s profiles if he/she is available for supervising doctoral projects:
Hector Fellow Portraits.
Can I upload protected pdf files?
Please ensure that we as well as your chosen Hector Fellow can read and review your documents.
What kind of ways are there to apply?
The main idea of the Hector Fellow Academy doctoral projects is that the applicants develop their own research idea and name a Hector Fellow as their supervisor, whose field of research fits the one of their proposal. Furthermore, you also have the possibility to apply for an advertised doctoral position of a Hector Fellow.
How do I apply with my own research idea?
For a self-developed idea, you need to firstly choose whether a Hector Fellow is doing research in the area you are interested in. In a second step, you either already have an interesting idea or you have a look what an interesting and novel research avenue to follow through with your own project can be. It is also important to relate to the Hector Fellow´s research expertise.
How do I apply for an advertised position?
Please check if there are any advertised positions of the Hector Fellows online at the moment: Advertised Doctoral Positions (hector-fellow-academy.de).
In case of applying for an advertised position we recommend that you contact the respective Hector Fellow about the requirement for the position in advance.
Can I submit my application but upload some of my documents after the application deadline?
No, sadly due to the numbers of requests it is not possible to update your application after submission. We will evaluate your application based on the documents you provided until the deadline. Due to fairness reasons, we cannot accept any documents after the deadline.
Do I have to pay application fees?
The Hector Fellow Academy does not charge any application fees.
Where can I check my application status?
Wir werden Sie bis Ende Mai darüber informieren, ob Sie die zweite Runde erreicht haben.
Bitte rufen oder schreiben Sie uns in der Zwischenzeit nicht an, um sich nach dem Status Ihrer Bewerbung zu erkundigen. Bitte überprüfen Sie Ihren SPAM-Ordner, falls Sie nichts von uns gehört haben.
What is the evaluation process like?
When the application process is finished, the HFA Office will review every application in regard to the qualification, the project proposal and if the topic fits to the chosen Hector Fellow’s research field. After the first screening and if your application is promising, the Hector Fellow Academy will forward it to the Hector Fellow you chose as potential supervisor. The Hector Fellow will interview promising candidates and eventually preselect a candidate to suggest to the Hector Fellow Academy. All preselected applicants have to present themselves and their topic proposal to Hector Fellows. This will be a part of the annual Hector Fellow Academy symposium, which usually takes place in a German city at the beginning of July. The candidates will be informed in August if their application was successful.
Being Doctoral Researcher at HFA
Doctoral researchers are fully funded according to TV‑L 13; how much net do I take home with that?
Your net income depends on several factors what makes it hard to predict it. It also depends on the subject you do your doctorate in (i.e. in biology you will receive 67% of a full position/ in engineering 100%). For a 100% position, you will earn about 2200 and 2500 Euro net. In sum, we cannot predict your income but you might use this calculator to see how much you will make: https://www.hector-fellow-academy.de/en/young-scientist-support/training/.
What are the benefits of being a doctoral researcher at HFA?
Doctoral students of the Hector Fellow Academy are employed as research assistants for a period of three years. The salary corresponds to the internal regulations at the university of the respective Hector Fellow. Doctoral students receive a funded position along with extensive research funding, membership in our network, collaboration with the Hector Fellows, training in management topics, and other training activities and networking events. To learn more about the funding and benefits, please visit our website: https://www.hector-fellow-academy.de/en/young-scientist-support/training/.
Can I apply for a visa to Germany, if I get accepted?
Yes, you can apply for a visa with your admission letter. Please check with your local German embassy about requirements and/or necessary documentation.
Do doctoral researchers have to attend classes?
Students attend modules and classes depending on the host university. You will take part in additional courses (i.e. management training, presentation training) offered by the Hector Fellow Academy.
Which institute will issue the doctoral certificate?
Certificates will be issued by the university of the supervising Hector Fellow.