Final phase

The completed doctoral thesis has to be submitted to the Studienpräses for assessment. According to the University’s statutes, the Studienpräses will forward the thesis to at least two suitable assessors qualified in the respective subject.

Provided that all achievements have been met and the doctoral thesis has been positively assessed, the doctoral candidate has to pass a final oral examination (public defense) in front of an examination committee.

When all examinations have been passed and the doctoral thesis and public defense are positively assessed, the doctoral program is completed.

Submission and assessment of the doctoral thesis

To complete your dissertation project you have to submit your thesis to the StudyServiceCenter. This has to be done in paper and electronically. Formal requirements have to be respected. Please take a look at this information sheet.

The thesis is presented to two reviewers. Together with his/her supervisor the doctoral candidate can suggest three experts as reviewers. Please hand in a CV and a publication list of all suggested external reviewers. The appointment of the reviewers however will be done by the Studienpräses. Please note that only in special cases the supervisor can be appointed as reviewer. If this occurs, then the second reviewer has to be external.

The University strongly recommends to propose external reviewers and refunds travel costs. Detailed information can be found on the information sheet of the Studienpräses.  

The reviewers have a maximum of 4 months after the official submission of the thesis to review the thesis and write their report. Only if both reviewers submit a positive report, the doctoral candidate can register for the public defense. If a reviewer assesses the thesis negatively then the thesis is handed to a third  reviewer. If he/she also assesses the thesis negatively then the overall result is negative and the thesis has to be revised before it can be handed in again.

Public defense

With the positive assessment of the doctoral thesis and when all demands of the Curriculum have been met a registration for the public defense is possible. This has to be done at the StudyServiceCenter.

The public defense consists of a presentation of the central findings followed by a general discussion about the research subject with the examination commission. We therefore recommend to visit public defenses at your Faculty prior to your own defense.

The Director of the Doctoral Study Programme sets up the examination committee. As a rule, all reviewers  and supervisors are appointed as examiners. At the end of the presentation each member of the committee awards a grade for the whole examination (1-5). If a majority decision can be achieved, meaning that the majority of the members of the committee award the same grade, then this decision states the grade (e.g. 1,1,2 -> majority decision is 1 = “very good”). If all members award a different grade, then the mean average is awarded (e.g. 1,3,5 -> mean average 1+3+5=9 divided by 3= 3). The grade of the defense is a numeric grade.

After the positively assessed public defense the academic title according to the Curriculum is awarded (PhD or Dr.). The doctoral candidate has the possibility to celebrate his/her completion of the doctoral study with a conferring ceremony. For more information please follow this link.