The structured PhD programme of the Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law welcomes applications of graduates from both legal studies and other disciplines who are keen to produce ambitious doctoral work in an excellent research environment.
Applications can be submitted either via the application form or post to:
Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy
Graduate School of Law
Fakultät für Rechtswissenschaft
Please be aware that incomplete applications will not be considered in the selection procedure.
The programme is open for entry in November only. Applications for the class of 2024/25 will be accepted between
November 15, 2023,
February 15, 2024.
We do not consider applications for scholarships on a rolling base. However, we strongly recommend to prepare the necessary documents as soon as possible because we cannot accept applications or additional documents after the end of the deadline.
After reviewing all applications, the strongest applicants will be invited for personal interviews (approx. in March or early April).
- Successful applications must have proven their ability to produce excellent academic performance, generally demonstrated by an outstanding degree (cf. § 3 PromO AMBSL) in law or a non-legal research-orientated master's degree (in particular in business administration, political science, or sociology)
- Students whose first language is neither English nor German are required to prove their language proficiency by providing relevant certificates (for details see: Application documents on the right side of this page).
- The applicant must present a a suitable doctoral topic which corresponds to the research areas of the Graduate School
- application form (click here to download) (doc)
- tabular curriculum vitae
- index of all publications to date (optional)
- research proposal (up to four pages)
- personal statement about why you are applying to the Albrecht Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Graduate School
- two recommendations from professors attesting to suitability for doctoral work
- language certificates (German or English): Non-native speakers who write their dissertation in German or English must prove their language skills by submitting relevant certificates. German: TestDaF or DSH; English: certficate proving C1 Level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This requires test scores of at least 100 in the TOEFL ibT / 7 in the IELTS / 945 in TOEIC. The TOEFL DI Code is 2258.
Applications can either be send via the application form or post to:
Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy
Graduate School of Law
Fakultät für Rechtswissenschaft
Frequently asked questions
Frequently Asked Question
1. Do I need to contact any professor/ supervisor before applying for the doctoral programme in the graduate school of law? In this case, do I need a formal research project before this first contact? Which standard specifications would I need for my project? Or could I contact a supervisor and just discuss about the subject by email?
- You can either apply with or without having contacted a supervisor prior to the submission of your application. Those candidates, who have not been in touch with a potential supervisor, will be set up with one of our faculty members after a successful admission. But if you should consider discussing your topic with one of them prior to your application, you are, of course, very welcome to do so too. In such cases, you can contact them directly (although it might take some time at the moment because we are right in the middle of the semester and professors are therefore quite busy). You can find the profiles of our professors at https://www.jura.uni-hamburg.de/en/die-fakultaet/professorinnen-professoren.html.
2. Which language is required for this programme? English, German or both?
- Our programme is bilingual - which means that our lectures are offered in either English or German. As a consequence, we expect our students to be proficient in one of the languages at the start of the programme and to learn the other one in the course of it. Learning German would, therefore, be necessary for you if you intend to join the programme (but only after an admission). Furthermore, you can choose freely whether you want to write your dissertation in English or German.
3. And which language level do I need to have for the application?
- Non-native speakers who write their dissertation in German or English must prove their language skills by submitting relevant certificates. German: TestDaF or DSH; English: certficate proving C1 Level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This requires test scores of at least 100 in the TOEFL ibT / 7 in the IELTS / 945 in TOEIC. The TOEFL DI Code is 2258.
4. Since I will conclude my master programme only in the end of February, and considering the application deadline is on February 15, would it be possible to send only my master degree certificate after this date?
- Yes. But then we would need detailed information on your bachelor degree, a transcript of records of the so far received grades in your master, and a confirmation of your university that you will finish your degree before the beginning of our programme.
5. The next IELTS test I will be able to do will happen only in end of Fabruary, so I don't think I can receive the certificate before February 15. Is there something I can do about it?
- Since we try to guarantee that the applications are quickly reviewed after the end of the deadline and decisions are timely made, we are a bit cautious to grant exceptions in this regard (and do so only if there is no other opportunity).We would, therefore, be thankful if you could also explore other options – such as doing a TOEFL (or some other internationally accepted) test. This would help us too.
- If there are no other options, we can only offer to take you into consideration for a conditional admission which would then entail the requirement to submit a suitable proof of your English language profiency before the beginning of the programme.
6. My potential academic referees (both of them) do not speak English/German. Can I attach/send their references along with a notarized English translation (or written in two languages - English/Russian - and stamped with a University's official seal) ?
- We accept the recommendations in another language with an official English translation. So in your case, both options would be acceptable.
7. Is the programme open for off campus study?
- Due to the nature of the programme, our students are required to reside in Hamburg for its entire duration. Exceptions may be granted for limited periods of time, but during the lecture periods our students must attend classes; as the latter form an integral part of our structured programme.
8. The validity of my IELTS got expired last month. Can I submit the same or will I be in case offered a CONDITIONAL OFFER LETTER so that subsequent to my application I can submit my IELTS score.
- If your test has only expired last month, we can still accept it in the application procedure. This should not be any problem.
9. The application form is only in German: can't I get an English version of the application form?
- You can switch the entire page into English; there is a button on the right top. At the English version of our homepage, the application form is available in English.
10. The information provided on the website seems, as if applications from graduates with (only) sufficiently good English/ German skills are welcome, too. Is this correct?
- Yes, in general that is correct. At the time of the application, applicants should be able to speak German or English. Nevertheless the programme is a bilingual one and the lectures are held both in German and in English. Therefore we expect our students to learn the other language during the programme. In this regard we are offering a language course (DaF level A1) according to provide extra practice.
11. Am I allowed to do my Master Thesis on the exact same topic as a possible future PhD Thesis and incorporate my Master Thesis within my future PhD research?
- A PhD-thesis can further develop the topic of a master thesis but - given the much broader scheme of research - be not exactly the same. It does no harm, on the contrary, it makes a lot of sense to select a master thesis topic in a research field in which you could see yourself later on pursuing a PhD-project.
12. Acceptance of translations?
- We can accept translations, which are issued either by your university or by a sworn translator.
13. I missed the CfA deadline. Can I still apply?
- There are two ways to apply/participate in our programme:
1. You could wait for our next call, which will be issued approximately in November of the following year. Through it we will award places (and scholarships) for fall of the year after the call for application was released.
2. You could try to apply without a scholarship.
14. My problem is that my Referees do not give me the Letters of recommendation, they can only send it directly to the University and the University has to send them an email, requesting for the said Letters. So, can I least the names and contact information of my referees to enable you to contact them directly for the Letter of Recommendation?
- Your referees are most welcome to submit their letters of recommendation directly to this very email-address ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
- or by mail to
15. Can I apply for master?
- Unfortunately, this institution - the Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law - does not offer any master programmes. We only have a structured PhD course. Information on the latter can be found at https://www.jura.uni-hamburg.de/en/forschung/ambsl.html. For other master programmes offered by the University of Hamburg, please have a look at its main website.