Person sitting in a wheelchair

Doctoral candidates with disabilities

Information on participation benefits and contact persons​ at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Person sitting in a wheelchair

Doctoral candidates and postdocs with disabilities or chronic illness face special challenges in their qualification. The Friedrich Schiller University Jena supports you by providing information, counselling and by finding contact persons.

Financing of disability related additional needs

People with disabilities or chronic illnesses who wish to pursue a doctorate are confronted with special challenges. This concerns, on the one hand, the financing of the additional needs caused by disability, but also the duration of the doctorate and the standards of the selection procedures. A basic overview of the situation of people with disabilities seeking a doctorate is provided in this articlepdf, 197 kb · de and in this brochurepdf, 180 kb · de from the University of Dortmund (both in German).

In 2016, the legal basis was changed by the BundesteilhabegesetzExternal link (Federal Participation Law), which since then has explicitly introduced "benefits for participation in education" (§75). In the Questions and Answers on the lawExternal link, this is formulated as follows: "Assistance with further higher education may also include assistance during a doctoral programme if it is necessary to achieve the desired career goal" (original in German, translated by Graduate Academy).

In principle, support for people with disabilities differs according to the form of doctorate:

  1. In the case of a doctorate within the framework of an employment contract that is subject to social insurance contributions, it is possible to claim benefits for participation in working life, e.g. workplace adjustments or assistantships. The financing of these disability-related additional needs is provided by the employer. It is important that the doctorate as a qualification goal is part of the employment contract.
  2. In the case of a doctorate within the framework of a scholarship, disability-related additional requirements are not usually financed by the scholarship provider. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) is the only exception to this rule and covers the costs if no other support is available. However, the funding period can be extended by one year for all scholarships awarded by organisations for the promotion of talented young people if the applicant has a disability (see German guidelinesExternal link). You can find more general information on scholarships for doctorates and on how to apply for these here. In addition, the ApplicAid initiativeExternal link offers support to doctoral researchers from non-academic backgrounds in applying for a scholarship.
  3. In the case of a doctorate without an employment contract or a scholarship, disability-related additional requirements for a doctorate are only financed "in justified individual cases". The social insurance carrier, in this case the Sozialamt (Social Security Office), then decide on the financing of these additional requirements.

Within the framework of the Federal Participation Law, a free advisory service on rehabilitation and participation services was also created: the "Supplementary Independent Participation Advisory Service". This is offered by the regional association "Interessenvertretung Selbstbestimmt Leben in Thüringen". You can find further information hereExternal link (in German).

Individual doctorate counselling

Doing a doctorate with disability can present some unexpected difficulties, for example in terms of scheduling or funding. The Graduate Academy will be happy to advise you on the individual planning of your doctorate. Please contact Dr. Gunda Huskobla to arrange a consultation appointment.

Accessibility at Graduate Academy

The Welcome and Service Desk for Doctoral Candidates and Postdocs is not wheelchair-accessible and not barrier-free. That's why we also offer you consultation meetings outside the office. Feel encouraged to contact us for an appointment.

The Graduate Academy makes every effort to ensure that all doctoral candidates can take part in its qualification programme. Unfortunately, not all venues at Jena University are accessible to people with disabilities. If you would like to take part in the qualification programme and have special needs due to health conditions (e.g. hearing, visual and other physical impairments), please write an e-mail to This allows us to ensure that the lecturers can take your needs into account and that the relevant room is accessible to you.

Rooms with barrier-free access at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena

Unfortunately, not all rooms of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena are barrier-free. A list of the barrier-free accessible rooms can be found herepdf, 126 kb · de (in German, as of November 2020).

If you want to attend an event in a room that is not accessible without barriers, there is the possibility to book a stair lift for the access to the event. Please contact the room administration (


The PROMI - Doctorate InclusiveExternal link project has established a virtual regulars' table for people interested in doctorates and doctoral researchers with disabilities, chronic physical or mental illnesses. The regulars' table offers a space for exchange about working in academia, the challenges of doctoral research, funding opportunities, life at the university, job prospects and other questions and topics that concern you. The regulars' table takes place every two months, Mondays at 7 pm via Zoom. The language of the regulars' table is German. For more information and the exact dates, please send an email to

More information
Contact persons

The contact person for doctoral candidates with a disability varies according to the circumstance whether the doctoral candidate is enrolled or employed as a research assistant:

For enrolled doctoral candidates:
Michael Götz
Dez. 1 "Akademische und Studentische Angelegenheiten"
Tel.: 03641 9-411111

For university staff members:
Dr. Ruth Eßer
Schwerbehindertenvertretung der Universität Jena de
Tel.: 03641 9-400910

For doctoral candidates in Jena who are neither employed nor enrolled
Marcus Barth
Diversity ombudsman of Jena City
Tel.: 03641 494303

You can also address all questions and concerns to the Inclusion Officer de or the Diversity Office of Jena University.