Doctoral students at German universities typically have already chosen their dissertation topics at the time they enrol in the programme, and are expected to begin their research right away, usually without any preliminary coursework or comprehensive examinations. This approach is thus particularly suitable for students with a firm idea of their areas of interest, who want to get started on their chosen topic as quickly as possible.

As a rule, doctoral dissertations need to be submitted in German, but permission to compose them in another language commonly used in scholarship (such as English or French) is granted as a matter of course. Thus the pursuit of a doctoral degree at the University of Leipzig is a real and attractive option for international students.

There are basically two major tracks for pursuing a doctoral degree in the German system. One possibility is acceptance into a structured doctoral programme (e.g., a “Graduiertenkolleg”); such programmes are basically coordinated research projects that provide full funding for dissertation research that fits the theme and objective of the overall project. Slots in such programmes are advertised and assigned in a competitive process. Information about such programmes can be obtained on the homepage of the Research Academy Leipzig.

The other possibility is the traditional path of study under an individual doctoral adviser. At present, only Prof. Philip Clart is qualified to supervise doctoral students in Chinese Studies at the University of Leipzig.

General requirements for admission to the doctoral programmes in Chinese Studies include:
* a Master’s degree (or equivalent) from an accredited institution of higher learning;
* certified proficiency in the Chinese language (including classical Chinese for those who wish to work on premodern China);
* formal acceptance by a Chinese Studies professor in the East Asian Institute of the University of Leipzig.

For more details on admission requirements see here.