Pursuing a doctorate at IPU Berlin

Information on obtaining a doctoral degree at and with the IPU Berlin

For questions about the doctoral programs at IPU Berlin please contact us via Email.


Promoting up and coming scholars is one of the most important goals of the IPU Berlin. This includes the close supervision of doctoral programs dealing with a broad spectrum of psychoanalytic and psychoanalysis-related topics.

Our central areas of research are Psychotherapy Research (and its foundations), Transformative Research (analysis of cultural and social transformation processes), and Conceptual Research with a focus on the psychoanalytic subject and epistemology (further information on the research profile of the IPU can be found here). We encourage interdisciplinarity by connecting research to neighboring disciplines such as sociology, cultural studies, religious studies, philosophy, medicine and the neurosciences.

The IPU Doctoral Program Psychoanalysis in Discourse as well as the joint Graduate School with the Hans Kilian and Lotte Köhler Center (KKC) of the Ruhr University Bochum "Trauma and Collective Violence: Articulation, Negotiation and Recognition" (since January 2023) are available to support doctoral students. All supervised doctorates will be completed at other universities since the IPU currently does not yet have the right to independently award doctoral degrees.

View more details about Doctoral Programs

Interested in a doctorate? Find out more here:

The IPU offers supervision of individual doctorates that come with a graduate IPU Doctoral Program, as well as supervision of subject-focused Doctoral Programs. Currently, the IPU does not have an independent right to award doctoral degrees. Therefore, obtaining a doctorate is only possible in cooperation with a university that has the right to award the doctorate. For this purpose, the IPU has already established partners but candidates may also make arrangements independetly. In any case, the regulations of the university that awards the degree apply.

If you are planning on obtaining your doctorate on a topic of your own choice, please take note of the different research foci of our professors. This can be done through our homepage and our publications. If you find that your topic of choice is a good match, you are free to contact the professor(s) directly.

If and under which conditions supervision is possible is decided by each professor respectively. There are also job postings for research assistants. Here, you can obtain your doctorate in the context of a research project. The postings can be found on our homepage or on common career portals.

Through the IPU’s Doctoral Program Psychoanalysis in Discourse (see below), we organize events for doctoral candidates and cooperating institutions to facilitate exchange and further education. Events are based on the IPU’s research foci but also on Research Methods and Overarching Key Skills.

In the joint Graduate School with the Hans Kilian and Lotte Köhler Center (KKC) of the Ruhr University Bochum Trauma and Collective Violence: Articulation, Negotiation and Recognition, the focus is on the dialogue between psychoanalysis and cultural psychology as well as other (interdisciplinary) social and cultural science approaches.

There are no costs for a doctorate at the IPU as well as for the participation in the Doctoral Program Psychoanalysis in Discourse. There may be costs associated with registering at the University that will award the degree.

It is possible to get funding through the participation in a research project (third-party funding, in-house employment) but the IPU also frequently offers doctoral scholarships. You can find out more about the calls for application on our website and in our monthly Newsletter. Of course, it is also possible to apply for scholarships via the usual foundations (more information on this can be found here).

The supervision status is regulated through a supervision agreement between the doctoral candidate, the IPU supervisor and the supervisor of the university that awards the degree. The formal affiliation with the IPU is regulated through an employment contract with the IPU, a scholarship contract or a contract as a research fellow. With this formal affiliation, all resources of the IPU (library, facilities, IT, etc.) may be used.

The successful completion of a degree in a subject relevant to the doctoral degree is the prerequisite for admission. Since the IPU currently does not have an independent right to award doctoral degrees, the admission requirements of the university that will award the degree apply.

This is possible in principle, but must be reviewed by the doctoral supervision committee for each individual case. Please contact the doctoral supervision committee early on for clarification.

Feel free to contact the doctoral supervision committee of the IPU via email.


Information for Doctoral Candidates

Candidates must apply for the formal admission into a doctorate program at the degree-awarding university. Registration for the doctoral program at the IPU is done via CampusNet.

Do you already have an IPU Berlin CampusNet account (for example because of a position as a research assistant)? In this case, please contact admissions(at)ipu-berlin.de to register for the doctoral program with your pre-existing account. Once the Studies and Teaching Office activates your request, you will find the menu item “Application” in your CampusNet web portal. Please use this for registration.

You will need the following documents for registration:

  • Application for registration for a doctoral program at IPU Berlin
  • Declaration of the supervising IPU professor
  • Supervision agreement with IPU professor and professor of the degree-awarding university. Please use the template of the degree-awarding university, if available. Otherwise, you can find the IPU template here.
  • Notification of admission to the doctoral program at the degree-awarding university (may be submitted later). The application for admission to the doctoral program in accordance with the regulations of the degree-awarding university is submitted together with the supervising professor at the degree-awarding university. Where possible, please clarify this with your supervising IPU professor at the beginning of the doctorate and submit the application for admission to the university that awarding the degree.

The doctoral supervision committee will check the documents and confirm the registration at IPU via email

As part of the doctoral program "Psychoanalysis in Discourse", we offer doctoral candidates from the IPU and cooperating institutions events that serve to promote exchange and further training for doctoral candidates. In addition to doctoral colloquia along the IPU's main research areas, the focus here is on events in the areas of "research methods" and "overarching key qualifications". The doctoral program does not consist of a compulsory curriculum but aims to support doctoral students individually where they and their supervisors see a need. Documentation of participation via ECTS points is possible.

Module 1: Doctoral colloquia and research-related exchange
The aim of the doctoral colloquia is to provide a forum for exchange on specific doctoral projects as well as on overarching topics in the respective research focus areas:

Doctoral colloquium on the research focus of psychotherapy research and its foundations
Contact persons: Prof. Dr. Christian Sell and Prof. Dr. Tilmann Habermas (Registration via email)
Dates: 13.05.24 | 10.06.24 | 24.06.24 | each 18:00-19:30

Doctoral colloquium on the research focus Analysis of cultural and social transformation processes
together with the colloquium of the IPU-KKC ResearchTraining Group
Contact persons: Prof. Dr. Benigna Gerisch and Prof. Dr. Thomas Kühn and Prof. Dr. Phil C. Langer (Registration via email)
Dates: 08.05.24 | 22.05.24 | 05.06.24 | 19.06.24 | 03.07.24 | each 10:15-11:45

Doctoral colloquium on the research focus of concept research with a focus on psychoanalytic subject and epistemology
Contact person: Prof. Dr. Christine Kirchhoff
Dates: on request

Module 2: Research methods
Events in the summer semester 2024
Workshop: „Mixed Methods Analysen“: Strategies, examples & own applications
Contact person: Prof. Dr. Christian Sell
Dates: on request

Module 3: Cross-disciplinary key qualifications
Events in the summer semester 2024
Workshop: „Methods and insight“
Contact person: Prof. Christine Kirchhoff
Dates: 04.06.24, 12:15-15:45

If you are interested in participating, please get in touch with the relevant contact person.

Doctoral students at IPU may apply for the following funding options:

  • Fellowships from the Foundation to Promote University Psychoanalysis
  • Open Science Publications
  • Travel expenses for staff members (by application to the Chancellor of the IPU
  • Email distribution list for doctoral candidates (join via email)
  • PhD Student Representation
  • Regulars’ table
  • PhD Day (“PhDay”)

The Academic Senate of the IPU Berlin has appointed a Doctoral Supervision Committee to supervise doctoral procedures at the IPU. It consists of at least three full-time university professors and one academic staff member with a doctorate. The Doctoral Supervision Committee coordinates the doctoral program and is available via e-mail for questions concerning the doctoral procedure at the IPU.