Three years after graduating from medical school, can a medical doctor have a PhD? In Germany, the answer is “in general” yes. In case a medical doctor is interested in doing a PhD, mainly in basic sciences, then he can directly enter into a PhD program in Germany. I was told that this is the “general rule.” Our certificates, MBBS (Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Surgery), are considered equal to master in Germany. In other words, you do not need to have done a master in order to enter into a PhD program. A German friend of mine told me this information, and I confirmed it in a famous Facebook page about higher studies in Germany (recommended by DAAD officials in Jordan). I asked my question in “German” here. To be 100% sure, they told me to check with individual universities to find if my MD degree from outside Germany is equivalent to master. However, they confirmed that the general rule is that it is equal. I was interested in a program in a University in Berlin called “Humboldt University of Berlin (wikipedia page).” Therefore, I mailed a department in it. For the year 2013/2014, according to the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings (Powered by Thompson Reuter), this university is number 94 in the world:
Source: A page for the Humboldt University at the Times World Ranking Website.
For comparison, no Arab university is in the same year among the top 350 Universities in the World http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2013-14/world-ranking/region/asia, http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2013-14/world-ranking/region/africa ). The highest being King Abdulazziz university in Saudi Arabia ranking “351-400”.
I sent the following email to a department in this university asking if I can enter directly into a PhD program. They replied that my academic background (which is equal to that of all graduates of Mutah Medical School, and that of all graduates of medical schools in Jordan) makes me qualified to “apply for [their] PhD program.”
Dear Sir or Madam,
I hope that my email will find you doing well. I graduated last June from medical school here in Jordan, Middle East. I have a MBBS (Bacehelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) [Mutah University Graduates has MBBS. Source: The faculty’s page at Mutah Unviersity Website]. A German friend of me told me that in Germany, those with MBBS could directly do PhD. I asked this question in the Facebook group Research in Germany. They answered with yes… I am interested in a program of yours. May I ask if I may apply for it now that I do not have a master degree and only have an MBBS?
Dear Jameel K. Hijazeen,
Thank you for your e-mail and your interest in our program. It is correct that a MBBS is equal to a German Master’s degree. With your academic background you are qualified to apply for our PhD program.
If you have any further questions, you are welcome to send me another e-mail or give me a call.
• As I easily noticed, the language of teaching in most programs is in English (Amazing, huh?). As a proof of your English knowledge, universities require certain TOEFL or IELTS scores. In one university, they wrote that it is enough if you can provide them with a certificate from a professor who says that you know a good level of English (I cannot remember the precise characteristics of such a professor).
• The requirements for each program are different. The competition is very high in some programs. In particular, one program asked that you pass an exam on Biology and Chemistry. Many details are present in the websites of each program. You can mail them, and from my experience, they reply quickly.
• The tuition fees are very little as universities are supported by the German goverment. In one PhD program, which consists of six semesters, the tuition fees of each semester are 280 euro, which covers free transportation ticket for the entire semester. Concerning living costs, in Berlin, for example, they estimate living costs to be around 1,000 Euro per month. I read and heard about estimated living costs ranging from 700-1200 euro per month. In one study conducted by HSBC bank, it was concluded that among 13 of the world top countries, it is chepeast for overseas students to study in Germany!!! The list of countries is shown in the figure below:
Living costs in 13 of the top world countries: Australia is the most expensive and Germany is the cheapest! Source: Website of HSBC bank.
• You can get sponsorship from different organizations. I know of two. One is called the KAAD. However, the most famous is called the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – German Academic Exchange Service). They offer thousands of scholarships every year. They have a central branch of them in Jordan: http://www.daad-jordan.org/en , https://www.facebook.com/daad.jordan ). They hold a free information lecture إستشارة طلابية each month. The lecture is very informative and the explanation is great. It is present by a Dr. Abdelnasser Hindawi. He is very nice, cooperative, and welcomes any questions on the email of DAAD Amman email@example.com. He replies quickly and with full details. The nearest lecture is today, Tuesday, 22.04.2014, at 05:00 PM in Goethe Institute, Amman, https://www.facebook.com/daad.jordan/posts/10153964741815068?stream_ref=10 You can follow the DAAD Jordan’s facebook page for future lectures. The last 6-8 lectures Ads that I saw stated that the lecture would take place on a Tuesday). The last time I checked, the health-related scholarships they have were two master programs in Public Health. The master programs can be finished in one year. They require however a practical experience of at least two years, among other things. The tuition fees of one program, as I remember, are about 14,000 Euro. They are all covered by the DAAD. For full details of these two programs, and all other scholarships to Jordanians, see this PDF by the DAAD Jordan: http://www.scribd.com/doc/147312520/Overview-DAAD-Funding-Jordan
Doing a PhD does not mean that you will continue your life in teaching. This will be very important in your CVs. I know some people who took masters in order to increase their chances of being accepted for residency in the USA. However, some scholarship program will tie candidates with researching about a topic that will help his/her country and with showing “genuine” interest of returning back to his/her country. For example, Yousef Jameel Scholarships:
Humboldt-University is offering five doctoral scholarships with support of the Yousef Jameel Scholarship Fund. Students of Arabic countries, Malaysia and Indonesia are eligible for the scholarships. The scholarships are awarded for a period of three years and commence on October 1. The stipend awarded is in the amount of 1350 Euros per month, plus materials expenses. To be eligible for this scholarship, English and German skills are required. Women and disabled students are encouraged to apply. Applications should be submitted till 15th July 2014.
Yousef Jameel Scholarships at Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany. Source: Link.
Yousef Jameel Scholarships at Humboldt University: Application requirement. Source: PDF file from the university’s website. Click here to download it.
• More scholarships and funding opportunities other than the DAAD and KAAD: Link.
• The DAAD website shows 61 medicine-related PhD programs. I think that this is a large number to choose programs to choose from.
• The below PhD positions were posted yesterday by the facebook page “Research in Germany“. They are all in Humboldt-University in Germany:
Source: A post in the website of the facebook page, Research in Germany.
Deutschland: Land der Ideen – Germany: The Land of Ideas. Source: Webseite der Technische Universität München.
*** Note: I based little information above on my own short experience. I tried my best to put references where possible. Please feel free to make any corrections for the benefit of me and future visitors to this page ***