Unlike in many other countries, doctoral studies (Promotion) in Germany are often individual research papers rather than structured programs. The first step on the way to a doctorate is to find a scientist experienced in your subject who is willing to act as your advisor on your doctoral research thesis. In order to do this, you must contact the scientist and/or institute in person and present your request and intentions to them directly.
The major prerequisite for doctoral studies is an above-average university degree or an equivalent achievement recognized by the Doctoral Thesis Committee (Promotionsausschuss).
Students usually pursue their doctoral studies in the same subject in which they completed their university-level degree. Students can also attain a doctorate in an other field relevant to their subject, but only if certain conditions are met and if the doctoral committee grants permission to do so.
A dissertation should usually take no longer than three years to complete. An oral examination is held immediately following the submission and positive evaluation of the doctoral thesis.