In tandem with growing research activities at UAS7 member universities, the number of doctoral students conducting research at a university of applied sciences increases continuously across all disciplines. Most of these research projects are third party funded R&D or transfer projects, creating and shaping specifically opportunities and structures for cooperative doctoral programs.
TH Köln and FH Münster, both in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), enjoy the independent right to award doctorates via the „Doctoral college NRW," a state-level institution founded in 2020. Students may receive doctorates in the following areas: Construction and Culture, Computer Science and Data Science, Life Sciences and Health Technologies, Media and Interaction, Resources and Sustainability, Social and Health, IT Technology and Systems, and in Business and Economics. HS München, located in the State of Bavaria, has the right to award doctorates in selected areas, and is subject to a review process confirming their research strengths and undergraduate curricular research training. Berlin School of Economics and Law is undergoing similar state-level review processes to decide upon the future regulatory framework concerning doctorates for the state of Berlin. HS Bremen, HS Osnabrück and HAW Hamburg are awaiting the approval of proposed doctorate stipulations in their respective higher education laws as well.
UAS7 universities continue to grant doctoral degrees in cooperation with research universities. UAS7 has published a position paper on cooperative doctoral studies at universities of applied sciences, which defines cooperative quality standards for all UAS7 universities.