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University graduates

Your dissertation with our PhD programme

University graduates

Your dissertation with our PhD programme

Volkswagen supports you in your doctorate with our three-year doctoral programme. Here you find all the information.

Our programme offers you the opportunity to scientifically develop company-relevant future topics and to obtain your PhD under the best conditions in cooperation with your university.

4 min read
PhD programme

Briefly noted

PhD programme

Briefly noted

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Target group: University graduates who want to do a PhD
We offer the programme in:
Wolfsburg, Hannover, Kassel, Braunschweig, Salzgitter and Emden
Business areas: We offer the PhD programme in all departments
Application period: All year round
Start: Possible at any time
Duration: Three years
Drei Doktoranden schauen gemeinsam auf ein Projekt
Your university and Volkswagen: A strong team

You complete your PhD in the conventional way at your university. Responsibility for ensuring compliance with the PhD regulations and for your acceptance as a doctoral candidate lies solely with your university. We at Volkswagen will support you in practice as a reliable partner within the framework of our three-year PhD programme. In this respect, Volkswagen is guided by the joint position of BDA, BDI, HRK (German Rectors’ Conference of 21 March 2018) and the Stifterverband on doctoral degrees offered in partnership between doctorate-conferring universities and companies.

We at Volkswagen will support you in practice as a reliable partner

The programme in detail

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Key points

Attractive remuneration
30 days’ paid holiday + 24/12 and 31/12 off
35-hour week
Mobile working possible
Learning opportunities for scientific work and interdisciplinary qualifications
Use of a separate PhD room with clean desk workstations
Opportunity to access a large number of e-journals and computer programs
Participation in the PhD college for scientific exchange with representatives of the apprenticeship and other doctoral candidates of the Volkswagen Group
Publication of the dissertation in the Volkswagen Group Academy publication series (optional)
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    If you want to apply for a position in our PhD programme, you will need to have completed a university degree with one of the following degrees before you start working with us:

    • Master’s degree
    • Magister degree
    • Diploma

    A PhD is unfortunately not possible with a Bachelor’s level degree.

    You do not need to have a doctoral supervisor in place to apply. However, it is recommended that you have had initial discussions concerning your fundamental doctoral project.

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    Identifying a topic

    Broadly speaking, the topic of your doctorate is already roughly determined by the job vacancy. We work with you and your doctoral supervisor to adjust and customise the topic.

    You must have a doctoral supervisor in place at the latest prior to starting your contract with us.


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    To help you complete your doctoral thesis successfully, a supervisor from your department at Volkswagen is on hand to provide assistance with specific issues related to the content of your thesis as well as any general questions. They will support you in setting up your network, arrange contacts in relevant adjacent departments, make your dissertation project known across departments, support you in the procurement of data and other resources and ensure that you are actively anchored in your department.

    The Volkswagen Group Academy supports you with interdisciplinary and specialist colloquia, free interdisciplinary seminars and seminars on academic research. Moreover, you have the opportunity to have your thesis published free of charge in the in-house publication series.

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    Duration & working hours

    You should aim to complete your doctoral thesis at your university within three years to at least the “preliminary draft” stage while still gaining work experience. Therefore, it is clearly regulated that out of the 35 hours of working time per week, 51% of that time is for the preparation of your academic research. You should discuss the exact split and your working hours with your department.

    Mobile working is also possible after consultation.

Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeitern von Volkswagen

Programme sequence

First year: Preparation and start

Your first year usually begins with the introductory interview and getting to know the department and the Society of Doctoral Researchers. In consultation with your supervisor at Volkswagen, you will work on your research project during this time.

Interdisciplinary seminars support you in this and prepare you for writing your dissertation. The “Introduction to the world of Volkswagen” seminar also gives you an exciting and valuable insight into the company.

To let you get to know as many different facets of Volkswagen as possible, you will also be deployed in production in the first year, so that you can then justifiably say that you have also built cars. :-)

Throughout the year, your supervisor at Volkswagen will conduct feedback meetings with you to review the current status of your research and resolve any issues early.

Second year: Consolidation and implementation

Your second year with us is dedicated to the preparation of your dissertation. To best combine theory and practice, you will also work on projects in your supervising department. At the same time, interdisciplinary seminars should help you to approach and implement your dissertation in the best possible way.

On PRO.MOTION day, our annual PhD event, you can present your dissertation project with a poster to numerous managers and board members for the first time.

Regular feedback meetings with your supervisor at Volkswagen are also an integral part of the second year, as are the annual employee appraisal.

Third year: Completion

In the third and final year of the PhD programme, you will complete your research up to the “preliminary draft”. This means that all the results of your research have been completed and formulated to the greatest possible extent. In this year, you will also be supported by interdisciplinary seminars. In addition, you can also present your work with a poster and a presentation at the PhD day PRO.MOTION. You will then also present your research to your department.

Transition to employment after completion?

Together instead of alone

The Volkswagen Doktorandenkolleg (Society of Doctoral Researchers)

If you participate in our PhD programme, you are automatically part of the Society of Doctoral Researchers, a Group-wide network of all doctoral students who, like you, are working on their PhD. Here you will always find someone to exchange ideas on technical and interdisciplinary topics, to get tips or valuable advice and instructions.

The Society of Doctoral Researchers also organises numerous events, such as the PhD day, excursions abroad and the legendary dragon boat race, which takes place between the Group brands. You can also actively participate in the various working groups of the Society of Doctoral Researchers, for example:

  • Organising events
  • Taking photos and videos
  • Creating podcasts
  • Curating Intranet presence
  • Representing PhD candidates to the company

The benefit to you is that you can expand your professional skills, get to know new people and build up your personal network in no time. And it’s fun too.

Benefits: That’s what we offer you

If you participate in the Volkswagen PhD programme, you can concentrate entirely on completing your dissertation. In addition to excellent support, you can also look forward to a number of benefits, including regular remuneration and holidays.

Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeitern von Volkswagen

Remuneration & holidays

Good remuneration for good performance. We think this is only fair. As a PhD student, you will receive a monthly basic salary, which will be increased after 12 or 24 months.

So that you have sufficient time for recovery, you will receive:

  • 30 days holiday
  • 2 additional days off (24 and 31 December)

But that’s not all. To make you feel as comfortable as possible as a PhD student, we offer a number of other benefits*. For example:

*May depend on site, tasks performed and/or contractual relationship

Your benefits


New to town?

Housing offers from Volkswagen Immobilien (currently only in Wolfsburg).

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Shared flats

If you would like to live in a shared flat (WG) during your time in our PhD programme, Volkswagen Immobilien has something for you (currently only in Wolfsburg). You can easily rent a low-priced room for periods of time that reflect your needs. You can learn more on the website of Volkswagen Immobilien.

Zwei Personen sitzen auf einer Couch

Furnished temporary living

If you would prefer to live within your own four walls, to better focus on your dissertation, then the following offer from Volkswagen Immobilien might interest you: a fully furnished temporary flat with a short notice period. You can find out more about this offer here:

Nächtlicher Blick vom Wolfsburger Hauptbahnhof zum Volkswagen Werk

Travel and commuting

If you are not staying at one of our locations, then take a look at our site on travel and commuting.

The inside story

Who could be better qualified to provide a clear and credible report about our doctoral programme than a doctoral candidate at Volkswagen? Take a look here at an interesting report.


Doctoral candidate in Research and Development

Sounds good?

Doctoral / PhD programme

Apply here

Doctoral / PhD programme

Apply here

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If you would like to apply, you will find all current offers and information about applying here.
Application possible all year round
Start according to vacancy or by arrangement

Application process


Take the next step

We attend numerous career events. Perhaps we will meet at one? 

Still have questions? We have listed and answered the most frequently asked questions here. 

Do you have a question or a technical problem with your application? We help you!

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