International Programmes 2022/2023

Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law

Universität Hamburg • Hamburg

PhD in Law
Teaching language
  • German
  • English

Lectures, seminars, and workshops are offered either in German or in English (depending on the topic, the lecturer, etc.).

Full-time / part-time
  • full-time
Programme duration
6 semesters
Winter semester
Application deadline

15 February 2023

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

The PhD programme of the Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law is ideal for graduates of law and other disciplines who are keen to pursue ambitious doctoral work in an outstanding, interdisciplinary research environment. Doctoral candidates from all over the world ensure intellectual and international diversity. By cooperating with other university faculties and departments, we foster broad professional and academic development and prepare our students for productive careers. The Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment. Our programme has also been conceived to support the balance between work and family.

The faculty has two key research areas:

1) International, European and transnational law
The faculty has been dealing with the international dimensions of law and legal science since its establishment in 1919. Today, our focus lays on research activities in the following individual areas:

  • international and European public law
  • international private law
  • comparative law
  • international criminal law
  • refugee law
  • digital law

2) Law in Context
Law in Context bundles research activities associated with the principles and interdisciplinary aspects of law. Particular examples include the following:

  • legal history
  • philosophy of law
  • legal theory
  • legal sociology
  • economic analysis of law
  • criminology

The Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law particularly welcomes interdisciplinary PhD topics from the two areas, but is generally open to all areas of legal science.

The choice of topic and the content orientation will have a bearing on the awarding of scholarships.

Course organisation

The PhD programme of the Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law consists of two essential elements: thesis preparation and participation in the Graduate School of Law's lecture programme. The latter is designed to accomplish the following:

  • support and guide students in their thesis work
  • teach students the necessary skills for successful legal scientific research
  • broaden students' views and knowledge of law through interdisciplinary courses

In addition to lectures, the Graduate School of Law also offers seminars, research workshops, a colloquium, and method courses. The following courses form the core of the programme and are repeatedly held every year:

  • A colloquium that offers students the possibility to present and discuss their research projects in front of their supervisors and fellow students is offered. It functions as a forum for academic exchange of ideas and views, helps students reflect on their work as well as gather input from their colleagues.
  • A course on "Legal Research and Writing for PhD Students" is designed to help students obtain the necessary skills and knowledge to write their theses. Students are supported in formulating their central research questions, structuring their work, and conceptualising their research projects. Furthermore, students are taught the guidelines for research integrity and good scientific practice as well as search techniques and methods-based research.
  • A lecture on "The Development of Legal Subdisciplines" sheds light on the historical foundations and development of the respective legal subdisciplines.

Over the past years, several other courses have been offered (on a one-off basis) on the following topics:

  • Private Legal Society and its Ideological Foundations
  • Natural Law - Positivism - Post-Positivism
  • Global Constitutionalism
  • Knowledge and Law
  • Institutional Economics in International Law
  • Legal Research in a Transnational Context
  • Conflicts of Jurisdiction in EU Fundamental Rights Protection
  • Workshop on Brexit
  • Contemporary Problems of International and Transitional Justice
  • Human Dignity, Protection of Personality in Digital Age
A Diploma supplement will be issued
International elements
  • International guest lecturers
  • Language training provided
  • Projects with partners in Germany and abroad
  • International comparisons and thematic reference to the international context
Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Semester contribution

There is a semester fee of approx. 335 EUR per semester. This fee includes a semester ticket covering public transport in the Hamburg metropolitan area.

Costs of living

We recommend that single students budget at least 800 EUR per month to meet personal expenses (accommodation, living, health insurance, books).

Funding opportunities within the university
Description of the above-mentioned funding opportunities within the university

The Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law awards doctoral scholarships to particularly qualified participants in structured doctoral programme. The scholarships are awarded for studies at the Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law for a maximum period of three years. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of the academic excellence of the applicants and are intended to enable them to write a dissertation and participate in the academic programme of the Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law.

Please check our website:

Academic admission requirements

An outstanding degree in law or a non-legal research-orientated Master's degree is required (in particular in business administration, political science, or sociology). A complete application comprises all required documents, such as

  • the completed online application form
  • tabular curriculum vitae (optional: index of all publications)
  • research proposal (up to four pages)
  • personal statement about why you are applying to the Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School
  • two recommendation letters from professors attesting your suitability for doctoral work
  • diploma and transcript of records

Please also check our website:

Language requirements

Language certificates (German or English): Non-native speakers who write their dissertations in German or English must prove their language skills by submitting relevant certificates.
German: TestDaF or DSH
English: certificate 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.

Application deadline

15 February 2023

Submit application to

The application can be submitted via the online application form:

Possibility of finding part-time employment

Students who enrol in a full-time programme will generally have only a limited time for part-time jobs. As a rule, students who hold a student residence permit may work for up to 120 full days or 240 half days per year. Further information on work regulations for international students at Universität Hamburg is available at the Department of International Affairs ( and at the Counselling Centre for Study Financing (


Accommodation is available through the "Studierendenwerk" (student services) or on the private market. The "Studierendenwerk" provides rooms in halls of residence, most of which are single rooms with shared kitchens and showers/WCs. We strongly advise students and researchers to arrange accommodation prior to arriving in Hamburg, as demand for affordable accommodation is sometimes larger than supply.
For more information on how to find accommodation and how to plan your first steps in Hamburg, please see:

Structured research and supervision
Research training / discussion
Support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Welcome event
Support programmes for international students

The Department of International Affairs offers comprehensive international student support. In addition to professional advising and counselling during all stages of the course of study, there is close cooperation with other advisory and counselling services at Universität Hamburg. International students will thus receive the necessary support and advice at any point during their studies.

Universität Hamburg’s Welcome Service supports international researchers, including doctoral researchers, who wish to stay for at least one month at Universität Hamburg. The Welcome Service provides information, advice, and help with several administrative issues such as: entering Germany, health insurance, the housing search, dealing with authorities, and even looking for a suitable kindergarten.

Supervisor-student ratio
According to the promotion regulation of the Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law each PhD student has two supervisors.

Universität Hamburg

As northern Germany's largest research and educational institution, Universität Hamburg combines diverse study opportunities with excellent research. It provides a broad disciplinary spectrum with numerous interdisciplinary opportunities and pursues cooperation with an extensive network of excellent regional, national, and international institutions. Universität Hamburg is devoted to long-term scholarship and science and promotes sustainability research in all of its schools.
Universität Hamburg offers more than 170 degree programmes in the following eight schools: School of Law; School of Economics and Social Sciences; School of Medicine; School of Education; School of Humanities; School of Mathematics, Informatics and Natural Sciences; School of Psychology and Human Movement; and School of Business.
Furthermore, several museums and collections belong to Universität Hamburg, such as the Zoological Museum, the Herbarium Hamburgense, the Geological-Paleontological Museum, the Botanical Gardens, and the Hamburg Planetarium.
Universität Hamburg was founded in 1919 by local private citizens. Important founding figures include senator Werner von Melle and businessman Edmund Siemers. Nobel prize winners such as Otto Stern, Wolfgang Pauli, and Isidor Rabi have been active at the university, and many other well-known scholars taught here, such as Ernst Cassirer, Erwin Panofsky, Aby Warburg, William Stern, Agathe Lasch, Magdalene Schoch, Emil Artin, Ralf Dahrendorf, and Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, to name but a few.

University location

With 1.8 million citizens, Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany and is also one of Germany's 16 federal states. Due to its location on the Elbe River linked to the North Sea, it has had a long tradition as the cultural and commercial centre of northern Germany. Commercially, the Free and Hanseatic City is known as the media capital of Germany. It is a leader in the shipping and transportation industries. Culturally, the city is home to, among other things, the leading ballet company in Germany, an opera house, numerous musicals, and annual film festivals. As far as action and fun are concerned, Hamburg is the place to be. The Reeperbahn, known not only to sailors worldwide as the "Mile of Sin", has numerous bars, cafés, and clubs as well as many other interesting sites not to be seen elsewhere. The "Kiez", as the natives call it, even gave the Beatles their start in the early 1960s. Fortunately, Hamburg's many parks and green areas provide the opportunity to relax and recover from the city's active side. Moreover, the city's innumerable canals invite you to spend some time sailing, rowing or kayaking. For more information on the city, please see: