Phase 3: Living in Munich

Now that you've settled in, it is time to get to know your new home. Below, you will find some information on aspects regarding daily life and the various leisure activities Munich has to offer. There are many different means of transport to discover this beautiful city. We therefore recommend for you to go out and start exploring!

Campus life

  • LMU Munich is home to over 50,000 students spread across four campus locations. There are two general academic libraries, 13 subject libraries, eight canteens, and seven cafés around campus.
  • The LMUcard for students and employees serves as your library card. You can get it once you have received your LMU user identification.
  • The Mensa Card allows you to pay cash-free at the university canteens. It can also be used to pay at the photocopiers in the libraries.

LMU Munich consists of four different campus sites, which are spread across the city center and the outskirts of Munich.

The main campus of LMU Munich is located in the city center, where you can also find the historic main building. Most of the Social Sciences and Humanities are based here, as well as central services such as LMU Gateway, the International Office, and the Main Library.

All locations can be reached by public transportation (directions). If you are looking for a specific room in a particular building, the site map (DE) is quite helpful and even includes an interactive room finder (DE).

LMU University Library offers an extensive network of 15 libraries as well as access to other local and state libraries.

The LMU library system consists of the Main University Library (Zentralbibliothek), the Central Textbook Collection (Zentrale Lehrbuchsammlung), and thirteen Subject Libraries.

Most of the libraries’ inventory can be searched via the online catalogue OPAC. The rules for borrowing media differ from library to library, so make sure to find out in advance whether you can take a book home. You will also need an LMUcard (for LMU students and employees) or a library card (for everyone else) to borrow media.

More information on borrowing media

The Main Library and the Subject Libraries also provide free workspaces, where you can do your reading in quiet surroundings, work on your own laptop, or use the university’s desktop computers. You can also print, scan, and copy material on the available machines using your Mensa Card.

More information on studying at the library

If you need help navigating the LMU library system, the University Library also offers guided tours and trainings to help you dive into your research as quickly as possible.

NOTE: There are some restrictions on what you can bring along into the library. In general, food and drinks are prohibited, except for water. You should also carry your belongings in a clear plastic bag so that the contents are visible. Lockers are provided to stow everything you don’t need in the library. These rules are in place to protect the books from being stolen or damaged, so don’t take it personally!

There are eight student canteens (called Mensa) and seven cafés (StuBistros, StuCafés) located in the main university buildings on the different campuses.

The canteens offer lunch at a reasonable price for students and employees. You can choose from a selection of main courses, a salad bar, desserts, and beverages (not all canteens may have all options). The cafés not only sell hot drinks and sweets, but also small snacks such as sandwiches or pretzels.

The canteens and cafés are cash-free. You can pay with your LMUcard after you have loaded money on to it at one of the various charging stations in the canteens. If you don't have an LMUCard, you can also get a Mensa Card (official name: Legic Card) at one of the Student Union Infopoints.

LMU Munich offers different support services for various purposes, ranging from issues concerning your doctoral studies to personal counseling services. They can help you to overcome any challenges you might face and make the best out of your experience here.

  • Graduate Center: the central unit for issues related to doctoral studies. Offers individual counseling services as well as regular workshops and events.
  • Career Service: offers career advice and courses to develop soft skills as well as job listings.
  • Intercultural Counseling: offers advice on cultural differences and how to overcome them. Also organizes workshops and an informal “Stammtisch” meet-up.
  • Psychosocial and Psychotherapeutic Advice Service: offered by the Munich Student Union, this service allows you to talk to an experienced psychologist about your personal and study-related problems.
  • Studying with a Disability: offers assistance with questions about studying at LMU with a disability, chronic, or mental illness.
  • Studying while Parenting: helps you to succeed both as a parent and a student at LMU Munich.

NOTE: To use some of these services, you may need to be a registered student. For LMU employees, a range of services such as professional training or counseling are listed in the Serviceportal. Please note that not all services can be offered in English. If in doubt, just ask the particular support service for more information.

There are numerous international, humanitarian, religious, and career-focused student groups for you to join if you are looking to meet new people. Most of them are open to both undergraduate and graduate German and international students. Some groups organize activities, trips, and workshops for socializing and discovering new places. So it’s up to you to find something that interests you. If you are unsure whether you can join a particular student group as a doctoral candidate, just contact them and ask!

Transportation

  • Munich Airport is located outside of the city. Suburban trains depart from the airport every 10 to 20 minutes. The travel time from the airport to Munich's Central Train Station, for example, is about 45 minutes.
  • Munich's Central Train Station (Hauptbahnhof) is located in the city center and offers connections to regional and long distance trains as well as the entire public transport network in Munich called the MVV.
  • The MVV network includes underground (U-Bahn) and suburban (S-Bahn) trains, buses and trams. They all use the same ticketing system. Ticket machines can be found at every station. Most tickets must be stamped before travel to be validated.
  • Munich is a very bike-friendly city and many people use this way of transport for getting around.
  • If you plan to drive a car in Germany, make sure that your driver’s license is valid here.

LMU Munich has several locations throughout the city, therefore it is important to know your destination before planning your arrival itinerary.

For transportation options either from the airport or the Central Train Station to each LMU Munich campus, please view the LMU Munich website.

By public transportation

Munich has a great public transport network that is run by the Munich Transport and Tariff Association (MVV). This network includes underground and suburban trains, buses and trams. To find the best connection for your journey, you can use the journey planner on the MVV's website.

By Bicycle

Many people living in Munich use their bicycles as a means of transport. Munich is very bike-friendly with bike paths throughout the whole city. The city of Munich has even set up a bike route planner (DE) to help you find the quickest way to get to your destination. For further information on biking in and around Munich, please refer to the city's website.

NOTE: For safety reasons, pedestrians should avoid walking on the bicycle paths. Most cyclists speed along these and sometimes forget that foreigners are not accustomed to these designated paths.

By E-Scooter

E-scooters are a quick and fun way to cover short distances, which is especially handy around campus. There are several providers in Munich; the public provider MVG, for example, offers e-scooters in cooperation with TIER. E-scooters can be borrowed and returned anywhere in the city, as there are no designated stations. You can borrow and pay for the e-scooter via the “MVG more” app (DE), which also shows you the location of the nearest one. Just be mindful of pedestrians and cyclists while cruising around the streets of Munich!

By car

If you need to get somewhere by car, car sharing may be a good option. LMU Munich has a cooperating partner, which offers discounts for LMU employees. Please contact us for more details.

Similar to any big city, traffic and parking can be a problem in Munich. During rush hour, the roads get very congested and it may be faster to reach your destination by public transportation. Also, parking can be difficult in the inner city. In most areas, you will find parking meters or assigned parking zones for residents only.

MVV offers various ticket options ranging from single fare and day tickets to monthly or yearly tickets. If you are a student, you are also eligible for a semester ticket. Which ticket you need depends on how often you plan to use public transportation.

If you are registered as a student, your student ID (LMUcard) contains a basic semester ticket, which is valid in the whole MVV area from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weekdays and the whole day on weekends. You may also purchase an “IsarCard Semester” ticket to cover the remaining hours. It can be purchased at MVV ticket offices and is valid for the whole semester.

If you are employed by LMU Munich, you are eligible for the “IsarCardJob” ticket, which is valid for 12 months at a discounted price. More information can be found in the LMU Serviceportal.

Culture & everyday life

  • Munich is the state capital of the Free State of Bavaria (Freistaat Bayern) with more than 1,5 million inhabitants
  • In general, Germans value punctuality - whether for a meeting, an apartment viewing or a private appointment.
  • On Sundays, shops are normally closed in Munich, apart from a few bakeries.
  • Medical care in Munich has a very high standard. The number for medical emergencies is 112.

  • While Munich is home to many Bavarian traditions, it is also quite a diverse city with 27 % of its citizens being nationals from 180 different countries.
  • Bavarians are generally quite open-hearted. Therefore, a complete stranger may approach you with the informal "Du" and a casual "Servus" (Hello). In a working environment and when dealing with authorities, the formal approach "Sie" is more appropriate.
  • Bavarian cuisine: Generally, the culinary offer in Bavarian restaurants consists of meat predominately and is rather hearty.
  • Beer garden tradition: Beer gardens are a popular meeting point for people of all ages. Traditional beer gardens allow you to bring your own food and solely buy drinks there
  • The traditional costumes called Dirndl (for women) and Lederhosen (for men) are not only worn at the festival called Oktoberfest. Generally, they can be worn on any day and for any special occasion such as weddings or going to church. Check the following website to get an overview of typical Bavarian traditions and customs.
  • Within Germany, Bavaria has the most public holidays.

Opening hours & quiet times

  • Generally, stores in Munich are open from Monday to Saturday according to their individual opening hours. On Sundays, stores usually stay closed and only a few bakeries open.
  • The German quiet times (Ruhezeiten) within an apartment building are normally from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. and from 10 p.m. - 7 a.m. on weekdays, on Sundays and on public holidays

Getting around

Please find detailed information on transportation options in and around Munich in our section on Transportation.

Medical Care & Emergency numbers

In order to facilitate your search for doctors in Munich, there are a few online portals that allow you to specify your search. The City of Munich has put together a list of hospitals and clinics (DE).

NOTE: It is recommended to make a doctor's appointment in advance in order to avoid long waiting times.

To find pharmacies (DE) near your home, the City of Munich has compiled a comprehensive list.

NOTE: The most important emergency numbers:
112 - Medical emergencies, fire department
110 - Police
116 117 - Medical on-call service
089 19240 - Poisoning hotline

Sports

Every employee and registered student of LMU Munich can participate in the wide range of classes offered by the University Sports Center Munich (Zentraler Hochschulsport München), which is generally a more economical alternative to a membership at one of the private sports clubs

Apart from that, there are various options of being involved in sports in Munich: there are numerous gyms and yoga studios, local sports clubs (Vereine), sports classes run by the Munich adult education center (Volkshochschule), public swimming pools (DE), and fun outdoor events such as Lederhosentraining in the English Garden.

NOTE: Before signing a contract for a gym or sports club, please be aware of the terms of the contract and what happens when you move away from Munich

Leisure

Munich is a very green city and has a lot to offer in regards to various leisure activities and recreational possibilities.

The City of Munich has put together an events calendar with all upcoming events.

Learning German

Whether or not your doctorate requires knowledge of German, learning some basic German or taking your language skills to the next level has many advantages.

  • It makes navigating everyday life easier, especially in encounters with locals who don’t speak English.
  • It can open doors to friendships with Germans, making you feel more at home here.
  • It helps you understand German culture and gives you an insight into the German way of life.
  • It can open up long-term opportunities in Germany, especially if you want to find employment here.
  • German language skills may also be useful when you return to your home country, especially if you intend to work in an international environment.

Even if you are completing your doctorate in German and your language level is already quite high, you may benefit from specialized classes in academic language and writing.

On behalf of LMU Munich, the language teaching center Deutschkurse bei der Universität München e.V. offers high-quality German classes at student-friendly prices. The classes are open to international students and visiting scholars from all over the world. The premises are centrally located and feature modern equipment.

German classes are offered at different course levels, from complete beginner to advanced learner. There are intensive courses during the day and in the evening, as well as special courses on grammar, conversation, and pronunciation. Doctoral candidates who are carrying out their research in German can choose from various semester courses focusing on German as a scientific language, academic writing, and presentation skills (German during your studies).

If you are interested in taking a German class, please visit the website of Deutschkurse bei der Universität München e.V. There, you can also find more information on the courses on offer, prices, and registration.

Completing your doctorate

  • To complete your doctorate, you need to submit your dissertation, attend an oral examination, and publish your dissertation successfully.
  • Your dissertation is usually graded by two independent reviewers, while the oral examination is evaluated by an examination panel.
  • Specific information on the doctoral process at your faculty can be found in the respective doctoral degree regulations.
  • A doctorate usually takes a minimum of three years, but most doctoral candidates need four to five years to earn their degree.

Once you have been accepted as a doctoral candidate by the doctoral committee (Promotionsausschuss), you are ready to dive into your research and start working on your dissertation. Completing this original and independent research project will probably be the biggest challenge on your path to completing your doctorate.

Even though you are expected to work on your project independently, having a strong support network will help you to make the most of your doctorate. However, if you are pursuing an individual doctorate, you may feel quite isolated from the academic community, and your supervisor may not be able to meet with you as frequently as you would like.

Exchanging your ideas with other researchers and getting feedback on your work are important to excel in your studies. Especially if you plan to pursue an academic career, attending conferences and building a network are essential. On the other hand, if you would like to work outside academia later, you may need to gain additional professional skills.

LMU Munich offers useful resources to help you on your way:

  • Graduate Center: offers workshops and lectures on a diverse range of topics, such as good academic practice, responsible research, self-management strategies, and writing techniques. It also provides information on career paths inside and outside academia, as well as on gaining key qualifications and building networks.
  • Writing Center: supports students and doctoral candidates with their academic writing, offering consultations, workshops, and writing groups.
  • Career Service: offers classes and training programs to better prepare you for your future career. Ranging from IT and business classes to social skills workshops.

Once you have completed your dissertation, there are a few formalities to take care of. The details may vary from faculty to faculty and are specified in the respective doctoral degree regulations.

But in general, the first step is to officially request admission to the doctoral examination. Your faculty’s examination office usually has set deadlines by which you can be admitted. You will need to hand in a certain number of copies of your dissertation as well as further documents indicated in the doctoral degree regulations.

After you have submitted your dissertation, the doctoral committee will pass it on to at least two reviewers for evaluation, one of whom is usually your supervisor. You can usually suggest the second reviewer, but the committee makes the final appointment. Both reviewers will write an evaluation and propose a grade independently from each other.

After your dissertation has been reviewed and graded, it will be displayed at the examination office for inspection by qualified faculty members. After the specified time period has passed, you will be notified if your dissertation has been accepted.

If your dissertation is accepted, the next step is the oral examination. This can be either a Disputation or a Rigorosum.

  • Disputation: an oral defense of your dissertation, which usually includes a presentation on your main theses and a subsequent discussion. Traditionally, this is open to the public.
  • Rigorosum: an oral examination on the research areas of your dissertation as well as your knowledge of the academic discipline.

Check the doctoral regulations to find out which format will apply to you. The oral examination will be undertaken by an examination panel, which is elected by the doctoral committee. The result of the examination will be announced at the end.

You will pass the doctoral examination if your dissertation is accepted and you pass the oral examination. Your final grade consists of the grades of your dissertation and your oral examination grade, with the former being weighted more heavily.

If you have come this far, you have almost made it. Before you can officially carry your new title, however, you still need to publish your dissertation.

In Germany, you are obligated to publish your dissertation within a specific time frame after your examination. The publication is an essential part of the doctoral procedure. It is not enough to hand in printed copies at your department; you need to make your research accessible to the public.

If you want to publish your dissertation as a book, you can do so through self-publishing or via a publishing house. While an academic publisher offers more powerful marketing tools and a better reputation, the publication process is costlier and may take several months. When choosing a publisher, you should carefully compare prices, evaluate all pros and cons, and make sure that you understand all contract terms.

To help you cover the costs of publication, you can apply for subsidies.

Apart from publishing your dissertation as a book, it is also possible to publish your dissertation online. If your doctoral regulations accept online publishing, you can publish your dissertation on the digital LMU repository Elektronische Hochschulzeitschriften der LMU München.

Each faculty’s publication specifications can be found in the respective doctoral degree regulations. The university library has also compiled guidelines on publishing your dissertation within and outside of LMU Munich.

Once you have successfully published your dissertation, you are ready to receive your doctoral degree certificate. Upon receiving the certificate, your doctorate is officially completed. The certificate also gives you the right to bear the title “Dr.” in your name. Congratulations on this great accomplishment!

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