Entry Phase

In the entry phase, you strengthen and finalize your research proposal. You particularly work on 

  • Situating your project within the research landscape
  • Sharpening the innovative character of your project
  • Identifying and screening the available sources
  • Deciding on the theoretical approach and methods

Usually this is a time in which an intensive exchange between you and your supervisor takes place. The public presentation of your dissertation project at the Faculty at the latest one year after admission is the first milestone in the doctoral process. The presentation is the basis for approval of the topic and the precondition for the doctoral thesis agreement.

How much time you spend in the entry phase depends on the stage of development of your research project. Ideally, you already have had some thoughts on the topic of your choice choice and have been in contact with your supervisor before applying for admission.

Research Proposal

Every project has to be planned from the beginning on in order to be completed successfully – also and especially in scientific work. The entry and concept phase is meant to concretize the dissertation project and to write a research proposal. The length of the entry phase depends on the stage of development of your dissertation project. Ideally doctoral students have already a concrete idea at the admission what kind of research they wish to do in the next years and have already contacted a potential supervisor (or even have an acceptance from a supervisor).

The research proposal plays a major role when planning your research and doctoral thesis project. It is a thematically and methodologically concise description of your doctoral thesis project. Moreover the research proposal is an important planning instrument that helps you to structure your perennial dissertation project and to realize your doctoral thesis step by step. The clearer you define your research questions, approach and goals, the easier you will manage the realization.

Guidelines for a research proposal

It should not exceed ten pages (European A4 size with 15,000 to 20,000 characters) and should include the following information:

  • description of the topic of the doctoral thesis project including a clear research question
  • outline of the state of research
  • illustration of the chosen research methods
  • relevant literature
  • choice of supervisors
  • time and work schedule, possibly financial budget and overview of resources.

Important Information

The research proposal and a successful public presentation at the Faculty are required for the approval of the dissertation project and the conclusion of the doctoral thesis agreement.


The DSHCS offers each semester a FÖP Workshop to support in writing your proposal and preparing for the public presentation. Additionally, the Center for Doctoral Studies offers regular workshops on "Outline and Exposé writing".

Public Presentation of the Dissertation Project

According to the Statutes of the University, the topic of the doctoral thesis has to be approved by the Director of the Doctoral Study Programme within the first year. The approval is based on the research proposal and its public presentation. The public presentation serves a twofold purpose. Firstly, new doctoral candidates and their research topics are introduced to the faculty. Secondly, the presentation is supposed to offer all attendants a platform for exchange and feedback.

The public presentation is chaired by the Director of the Doctoral Study Programme and attended by members of the Doctoral Advisory Board of your Faculty. They will provide feedback to the research projects and evaluate whether the projects meets the scientific standards and if they can be realized successfully in a reasonable time frame.

The successful public presentation of the doctoral thesis project is the precondition for the approval of the topic. Your topic and the supervisor(s) usually get approved by the Director of the Doctoral Study Programme right after the presentation. If your topic is not approved you have the possibility to recall your application, adapt your research proposal and reapply for the approval of your topic.

Please note

According to the Statutes of the University, doctoral candidates have to pass the public presentation of their dissertation project within the first year.


Participate in a FÖP Workshop of the DSHCS and join a public presentations to !get a first impression of what will be expected from you. Additionally it is a great way to learn about current research projects at your Faculty.

Dates & Registration

To register for a public presentation contact the StudyServiceCenter. It is in charge of the organization and provides detailed information about the procedure, dates and forms. 

Doctoral Thesis Agreement

Doctoral candidate, supervisor/s and the University sign an agreement comprising the following points:

  • all participants' rights and obligations,
  • detailed description of the doctoral thesis project,
  • time schedule and specification of financial aspects,
  • extent of supervision (frequency of feedback meetings),
  • requirements that have to be fulfilled.

The doctoral thesis agreement is concluded after a positive public presentation at the Faculty. The progress of the doctoral thesis project is documented in annual progress reports.

Besides writing your doctoral thesis, you have to earn up to 24 ECTS points. Together with your supervisor/s you specify within the doctoral thesis agreement how these credits will be achieved. It is mandatory to enroll in at least two ID Seminars. Other ECTS points can be earned by joining more seminars, the organization of and participation in conferences, workshops and summer schools, the participation in student's initiatives and other activities. You are strongly encouraged to take part in transferable skills workshops and activities should be chosen to support your doctoral research and your professional career in the best possible way.

Forms & more information

are issued and processed by the StudienServiceCenter