PhD / Doctorate •

Updated: about 7 hours ago
Deadline: ; Scholarship projects are usually advertised at the end of each year, with a deadline on the 31 Dece…

In cooperation with

Close collaborations have been established with the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg, University of Technology Sydney (UTS) (Australia), Edith-Cowan University Perth (Australia), Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre (Norway), Liverpool John Moores University, University of Basel (Switzerland), and University of Groningen (The Netherlands). The UTS Sydney as well as the University of Groningen and Saarland University offer the possibility for a joint degree from both universities.

Teaching language
  • English

Our primary language in the PhD programme is English. In addition to the mandatory English language skills, it is recommended to attend a German language course before the start of the doctoral programme (or during its initial stage in Saarbrücken).

Programme duration
6 semesters
Only for doctoral programmes: any time
Application deadline

Scholarship projects are usually advertised at the end of each year, with a deadline on the 31 December. Students can always apply with self-funded PhD projects, as there are no deadlines for these applications.

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

The international doctoral programme "Science and Health in Football" is hosted by the Institute of Sports and Preventive Medicine at Saarland University and funded by the German Football Federation (DFB). Close collaborations are established with the University of Technology in Sydney (UTS, Australia), the Edith-Cowan University in Perth (ECU, Australia), the Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU, England), the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre (Norway), the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg (Luxembourg), the University of Basel (Switzerland), and the University of Groningen (The Netherlands). The programme aims at improving the scientific approach to football. In particular, the programme focuses on evaluating its potential health benefits and further developing training standards and performance diagnosis for elite football players.
The institute is a licensed FIFA (Fédération International de Football Association) Medical Centre of Excellence and a medical examination centre of the German Olympics Sports Federation (DOSB). Due to the long-term extensive cooperation with the German Football Federation (DFB) it offers profound expertise in football science and medical care for athletes and patients.
The programme covers the following disciplines: sport science, medicine, exercise physiology, and human biology. In addition to the work on the thesis, PhD students will be trained in research methods, knowledge transfer, and teaching, as well as practical work in patient health care and physical performance testing. Doctoral students are awarded a PhD degree from Saarland University and have the opportunity to be awarded a joint degree together with the University of Technology Sydney in Australia or the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

Course organisation

The acquisition of a minimum of 35 credit points (CPs) is required as part of the PhD programme. Doctoral candidates can achieve the CPs in the following qualification areas:
research-related training (graduate workshops, journal club, conference participations, review activities), training in transferable skills (language courses, teaching, transferable skills), and courses in cooperation with the Graduate Centre of the University (GraduSglobal) or the medical faculty.
Semester one: planning/preparing the project proposal, "Basic German" language course
Semester two: preparing and conducting PhD data collection, teaching, attending conference(s), coursework
Semester three: analysing PhD data (possibly publishing), teaching, coursework
Semester four: publishing PhD results

International elements
  • International guest lecturers
  • Courses are led with foreign partners
Teaching/work obligations or opportunities

PhD students are obliged to teach the course "Science and Health in Football" in the German summer semester. The course includes one lecture and one seminar.

Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Semester contribution

293 EUR

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

Up to two PhD scholarships (1,200 EUR/month, for three years) are usually advertised once per year.

Academic admission requirements

In order to be considered as an applicant for the programme, candidates must have completed (or be in the process of completing) a Master's degree or equivalent degree including a thesis in a field related to medicine, sports science, exercise physiology, human biology or neighbouring fields. In rare cases, applications from excellent candidates with only a Bachelor's degree may also be considered for the programme.

The following pieces of information and documents are required

(1) Curriculum vitae

(2) Description of academic performance and research experience:

  • Transcripts of records
  • Certificates of your degrees (BSc, MSc, Diploma, Magister, Staatsexamen, etc.) Please submit translated certificates if the originals are not written in English or German
  • Summary of research experience (e.g. description of activities or positions in research, list of published papers, conference attendance and presentations)
  • An abstract of your graduation thesis in English 

For the first application round, scanned PDF files of certificates are accepted. In the further application process, submission of legally certified transcripts are mandatory due to university regulations.

(3) Two letters of recommendation from two independent academics and/or practitioners within the field of sport science/sport medicine

(4) Letter of motivation 

(5) A brief research proposal for the currently offered PhD project is preferable, but not required (mandatory for applications with self- or otherwise funded PhD projects).

Language requirements

For applicants who are non-native English speakers, it is necessary to demonstrate English knowledge by achieving adequate results in an internationally recognised test (TOEFL or IELTS test). Submitting the detailed results of such tests is strongly recommended for non-native speakers. If previous studies were in English or if the applicant has already published in English, we might accept this as a demonstration of language proficiency.

Application deadline

Scholarship projects are usually advertised at the end of each year, with a deadline on the 31 December. Students can always apply with self-funded PhD projects, as there are no deadlines for these applications.

Submit application to

Dr Sabrina Forster /
Dr Florian Beaudouin
Coordinators international PhD programme Science and Health in Football

Complete applications have to be submitted to the e-mail address as a single PDF file:


In contrast to other countries, students enrolled at German universities do not receive accommodation. However, the institute offers to arrange short-term accommodation for the first one or two months of the programme. International students have the opportunity to either rent a room in a student residence or find private accommodation (single apartment or shared flats). Student accommodation provides either fully furnished rooms with shared bathrooms and kitchens or single/shared apartments with a bathroom and a small kitchen. Please note that the university only provides a limited amount of student residences, and these residences are usually very popular. Therefore, applications for a room/apartment have to be completed and send back to the university by 15 July to be considered for the following winter semester.

Structured research and supervision
Research training / discussion
Support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Welcome event
  • Accompanying programme
  • Cultural and linguistic preparation
  • Visa matters
Supervisor-student ratio

Saarland University
University location
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