Doing a Doctorate in Cooperation with PK NRW

Would you like to do a doctorate at HSBI? We are delighted about your interest! As of 1 September 2023, in addition to the previous option of doing a doctorate at HSBI in cooperation with an Universität, you can also do a doctorate with PK NRW as a partner. Below, we will describe who can do a doctorate at PK NRW, how registration works, what you have to consider and where to find more information. Please make sure to read our FAQ on doctorates, which will answer many basic questions in advance.

What is PK NRW? 

PK NRW stands for Promotionskolleg NRW (Graduate School NRW). It’s a scientific institution of a network of 21 universities of applied sciences (Hochschulen für angewandte Wissenschaften, HAW) in North Rhine-Westphalia. HSBI is part of that network. PK NRW was founded in 2020. In addition to extensive interdisciplinary qualification offers, it also provides opportunities to go through structured doctoral programmes, as it received the right to award doctorates in November 2022. This means that PK NRW can confer doctoral degrees independently, while in the past, only Universitäten had the right to do so. As of 1 September 2023, it is possible to register for a cooperative doctorate between HSBI and PK NRW.

Who can do a doctorate at PK NRW?

NRW’s Higher Education Act regulates who may be accepted for a doctorate in Section 67. As a rule, you will thus have to provide proof of a master’s degree or a comparable degree. Further requirements and the doctorate process are stipulated in the Rahmenpromotionsordnung (RPO, general doctoral guidelines) and in the Promotionsordnung (APO, departmental doctoral guidelines) of the respective department in which you do your doctorate.

Do you have any questions on the individual departments’ admission requirements or guidelines? Please do not hesitate to use the consultation offers of PK NRW.


Two paths to a cooperative doctorate

As a university of applied sciences, HSBI does not have the right to award doctoral degrees in principle. Therefore, a doctorate must always be done in cooperation with an Universität or with PK NRW. In this model, the right to award the doctorate will always lie with PK NRW or the cooperating Universität.

Doctoral programme at PK NRW

PK NRW offers you the opportunity to do a doctorate within a structured doctoral programme. During the doctorate, you will be registered as a doctoral student at one of PK NRW’s member universities – for example, at HSBI. The member university should be the one that the doctoral supervisor works at. In addition, you will enrol in one of PK NRW’s doctoral programmes offered by the department that fits your profile. HSBI does not offer its own doctoral programmes; they are anchored at PK NRW exclusively.

Cooperation with a university

Haven’t found a doctoral programme that suits you? Then you also have the option to do a cooperative doctorate with an Universität. In this model, the cooperating university awards you with the doctoral degree, while your supervisor is a professor at a university of applied sciences, e.g. at HSBI. Please have a look at the information we have gathered on this form of cooperative doctorate.

You will also find helpful information on cooperative doctorates on PK NRW’s website.


How does registration for the doctoral programme at PK NRW work?

First, you should do some research on who could supervise your doctoral project. The professors who are members of PK NRW and their research foci are presented on the departments’ websites.

Feel free to directly contact the professor who may be suitable as a supervisor. For the first contact, we recommend you send an e-mail to the professor, asking for an appointment, presenting yourself briefly and outlining your doctoral project. If possible, attach a project proposal to your e-mail.

At the same time, do some research on the potential supervisor’s department, the doctoral programme(s) it offers and the requirements for admission as a doctoral candidate.

Once you have found a supervisor, complete the respective department’s confirmation of supervision together with them and let them sign it. Please find a binding confirmation of supervision template of the respective department to download on PK NRW’s website.

Please send the completed confirmation of supervision, as stated on the form, to PK NRW for an advance assessment. After the assessment, you can use it to register at the university.

Please make sure to talk to your doctoral supervisor about the other members of the supervising team. The (non-binding) templates for confirmation of the other supervising persons can be downloaded from the above-mentioned website, too.

Frequently asked questions on doctorates at PK NRW

Do you have any specific questions on doing a doctorate at PK NRW? PK NRW’s FAQ are continuously updated and will provide you with a helpful overview.

Registration at the university as a doctoral candidate

You have taken the first step towards your doctorate! Now registration at the university, e.g. at HSBI, is your next step. Apply for registration (matriculation) at the university at which you would like to do your doctorate (usually the university of your first doctoral supervisor). Provided that you fulfil the requirements for a doctorate, you will be registered there. Registration at the university will be conditional until you have been admitted at PK NRW.

Registration for a doctoral programme at HSBI 

1. Choosing the right doctoral programme

HSBI currently has 22 doctoral programmes to choose from. Please find an overview table in the download box on the left-hand side. Please choose the respective programme in the options menu on the application portal. As the application portal’s user interface is in German, please consult your doctoral supervisor and choose the right programme from the table together with them.

2. Online application

HSBI’s online application portal can be accessed at the following link:

First, you will have to register in the application portal. To do so, please enter your personal information. Subsequently, you will receive an e-mail with an activation code or link. Now you will be able to log into the portal, select the desired doctoral programme and follow the individual application steps. Please make sure to enter all details carefully and adhere to the provided information and help texts.

3. Online registration

The doctoral programmes are open-admission, thus you will not receive an admissions letter. Instead, as soon as your application is complete, you will be forwarded directly to online registration. This can be completed at once or later, entering more details and uploading the documents required for registration. You can find the deadline for registration in the portal and on your application for registration, which will be generated as a PDF file at the end of the online registration process. To find out which documents have to be uploaded to register, please view the “Checkliste zur Einschreibung - Promotionsstudiengänge” document in the download box on the Einschreibung website or the menu “Einschreibungsunterlagen hochladen” in the portal. Please note: If your documents are not in German or English, they have to be translated and certified.

4. Registration

Once we have all the required documents, you will be registered. This may take some time, therefore we kindly ask you to refrain from enquiring after the status of your registration. If your documents should be incorrect or incomplete, we will notify you directly in the application portal. Please make sure to regularly check the status of your application and the status of the documents you have uploaded.

5. Semester contribution and credentials

As part of the online registration process and subsequently in the document “Informationen zur Einschreibung”, you will be able to view the semester contribution you have to pay and the bank details and reference number for the bank transfer. After we have booked the transfer of your semester contribution in our system and after the registrar’s and examination office has received all required documents, you will receive a letter with the credentials that you need for using HSBI’s systems. It may take a few days for you to receive the letter.

Students who were already registered at HSBI in the past or still are usually keep their student ID no. and thus their credentials for HSBI’s online services. If you have forgotten your credentials, please contact the IT Service Desk.

Do you have any further questions on registration at HSBI?

If you need advice, please don’t hesitate to contact the administrative assistants responsible for you. Please find their contact details in the contact box on the left-hand side. However, we kindly ask you to refrain from enquiring after the status of your registration. If any changes occur, you will be informed through the application portal. 

Further information and contact

Would you like to have some more in-depth information? We have collected useful information around your doctorate. 

If you have any further questions, please send an e-mail to We will be glad to advise you!






General questions on doctorates at HSBI
Dr. rer. nat. Julia Pieper

Enrolment in doctoral programmes
Charlene Böhmer

Enrolment in doctoral programmes
Bärbel Okruss