Registration at the University of Bonn

The University of Bonn awards the PhD (Dr. rer.nat.) according to its standard rules, after acceptance of the Ph.D. thesis and a successful defence. The MPIfR is a research institution can do their thesis research, but the University defines and controls all official academic requirements.

There are no tuition fees – neither for the IMPRS nor for the University of Bonn. The only fee is a registration fee (so-called “Sozialbeitrag”, social contribution) to the University of Bonn which is currently 272,00 Euros per semester.

1. Registration

Although registration for two terms only is necessary for PhD thesis work at the University of Bonn, we recommend registration for the complete period – to take advantage of the benefits the Student ID offers (public transport free of charge, reductions on tickets for theatres, museums etc.).

For the registration of foreign IMPRS students there exists an agreement with the Clearing Office on a simplified procedure. Admission to studies at the University of Bonn will be granted based on details provided by the IMPRS Office ahead of the official registration period. If you want to you can be enrolled as a doctoral student for as long as it takes you to finish. In case the PhD confirmation (“Promotionsbestätigung”) has not yet been obtained, registration is made for one term (“Orientierungssemester”) first and will be extended as soon as the PhD confirmation is presented.

For the registration the following documents are needed:

  • Originals of certificates
  • Proof of health insurance. If you are privately health insured, you need to go to a public health insurance company with a certificate from your private one and obtain a form, which is called “Befreiungsbescheinigung von der gesetzlichen Krankenversicherung”. You need to bring this form for the enrolment
  • Passport

You will get a transfer form for payment of the registration fee (so-called social contribution, “Sozialbeitrag”). You should make the transfer as quickly as possible. This fee is mandatory and has to be paid each semester, i.e. twice a year.

Upon registration, you will receive a preliminary certificate proving that you are regularly enrolled at the University of Bonn. You can use this as a ticket for public transport from the first day of the semester (1st October or 1st April, respectively) until you receive the Student ID. The number (so-called “Matrikelnummer”) you will be given upon registration is valid throughout your studies at the University of Bonn. It should always be quoted in official letters to the University.

Student ID

Two to four weeks after registration and after payment of the social contribution has been received, the registration certificates and the student ID card will be sent to your home address. 


Once enrolled at the University of Bonn, you will have to re-register (“Rückmeldung”) for each of the following semesters. There is a registration deadline by which you need to transfer the registration fee (“Sozialbeitrag”) — 31 August for the winter term and 28 February for the summer term. You will then receive your semester documents automatically. Please take into account that the transfer could take up to 10 days! If the deadline is missed a fine of 25 € has to be paid.

Change of Address

The Studentensekretariat has to be informed of every change of your personal data (i.e. change of name, address, nationality) immediately, quoting your registration number (Matrikelnummer).

Address:          Studentensekretariat der Universität Bonn

                        Poppelsdorfer Allee 49

                        53115 Bonn

                        Fax: 0228-73-7421  or  0228-73-1740

2. Admission to PhD studies

To be admitted to start a Ph.D. in astronomy at the University of Bonn a German Diploma in Physics or a qualification equivalent to it, i.e. a Master of Science degree (including a Master’s thesis) is required.

The application for admission to doctoral studies (“Antrag auf Zulassung zum Promotionsstudium”) is submitted to the Ph.D. board of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences – via the Section Physics/Astronomy, which will decide individually whether you fulfil the formal requirements to start doctoral research. You need to have two advisors, who evaluate your thesis. One of them is usually the head of your research group. Please note that the second referee can be a professor appointed for lifetime from another university if the first referee is a professor for lifetime at the University of Bonn. This does not apply to professors of honour.

In addition to the application form the following documents are required:

  • a letter to the Dean of the Faculty applying for academic recognition of your previous achievements as well as to obtain the permission to write your Ph.D. thesis in English and take the exam in English 
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Original and copy of your certificates
  • Certified copies of academic records
  • Copy of the Master’s Thesis (if written in English; otherwise an abstract in English)
  • Copy of your residence permit
  • TOEFL (or equivalent)

These documents are presented to the Secretariat of the Physics/Astronomy Section of the Faculty (Endenicher Allee, Rm 1.033, with working hours of Mo-Fr 11:00-13:00). After the Section’s Head has checked your documents and signed approval, the application is forwarded to the Dean’s office.

If approval is given you will receive a certificate that the degree you obtained at your home University is considered equivalent to that of the University of Bonn. It also states that there are no objections to registration for doctoral studies in Astronomy and that you intend to write your thesis and take the exam in English, so that German language knowledge and certificate is not necessary. In addition, you will receive a “Promotionsbestätigung”, a confirmation that you meet all admission requirements for carrying out a dissertation at the University of Bonn. This form needs to be presented to the Studentensekretariat mentioned under 1. The Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences signs both papers.




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