Research Phase

Doctoral candidates have to write a doctoral thesis which serves to demonstrate the candidate’s ability to master academic topics independently. The doctoral thesis is expected to be of a quality to merit publication in accordance with the standards in the field of research. The doctoral thesis may take the form of a monograph or a thesis by publication. During the research phase tasks are 

  • Further development and sharpening of the argumentation
  • Further research
  • Further development of theoretical and methodological tools
  • Networking within the research community
  • Publication of first results in peer-reviewed journals
  • Acquisition of additional skills to increase career opportunities 
  • Teaching experience in the BA program

According to the curriculum, doctoral candidates have to complete course work and other academic activities carrying 24 ECTS credit points. They have to enroll in at least two courses offered by the DSPL 41 (ID Seminars and or Colloquia) which carry 10 ECTS credit points. They might also gain ECTS credit points by participating in other courses and academic activities related to the doctoral thesis, e.g. for presenting at a international conference, for organizing a workshop, publish a paper, or for serving as mentor. 

In order to keep track of their progress in terms of writing the doctoral thesis and career development, doctoral candidates have to submit a progress report each year once they have passed the public presentation. 

Second Supervisor

The DSPL/Heads of Doctoral School strongly recommend to all doctoral candidates to get a second (i.e. additional) supervisor* in order to

  • gain supervisory time and support
  • obtain more feedback
  • benefit from additional/specific expertise
  • expand their academic network. 

Doctoral candidates who want to work with a second supervisor, should discuss this issue with their current supervisor. The following persons could serve as second/additional supervisor:

  • university professors, faculty and staff members with a "Habilitation" (venia legendi), associated professors, and assistant professors at the Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies or at another neighboring (disciplinewise) Faculty at the University of Vienna
  • researchers at another academic institution who are entitled to supervise dissertations (e.g. professors, readers, lecturers, faculty and staff members with a "Habiliation" (venia legendi).

Doctoral candidates can either contact a potential second/additional supervisor by themselves or they can ask their current supervisor to establish contact.

Once the chosen researcher has accepted to serve as second/additional supervisor, the doctoral candidate has to re-submit the form Registration of the doctoral thesis topic and announcement of the supervisor(s) SL/D11, keeping the information on the current supervisor and adding the new supervisor's information to formalize the process.

Please send the form to the Study Service Center. In case the new supervisor is not a member of the University of Vienna, please also add his:her CV. In this case, the Studienpräses assesses whether the potential supervisor meets the criteria laid out in the Study Law of the University of Vienna.  

*The Study Law of the University of Vienna does not differentiate between supervisor and second supervisor. Both supervisors have the same rights and obligations.

Doctoral Thesis

The doctoral thesis is the central element in all doctoral programs. The doctoral thesis proves the ability of the doctoral candidate to conduct independent scientific work on a high academic level. It shows his/her capability to comprehend and reflect the latest state of art in his/her field of research and extend this field through methodologically founded contributions.

Due to the differences in scientific customs of the various disciplines there are no strict guidelines concerning length and form of a doctoral thesis. In the humanities, the thesis is usually a monograph. In justified cases, it is however possible to submit a cumulative dissertation. In any case, it is important to follow scientific standards and to comply with the international standards of the discipline. The decision how the thesis will look like (language, form) should be discussed with the supervisor.

Course Work

Doctoral education at the University of Vienna also includes a training component in form of course work. Candidates must enroll at least in two ID seminars and/or colloquia of the DSPL 41. It is important that seminars and colloquia chosen support the research project and are relevant to the doctoral project in general. 

Course work relevant for doctoral candidates can be found in the online course directory (DSPL 41). Usually, only seminars from this program can be accredited. In justified cases, courses on the master level can be attended as well, but not courses on the bachelor level. 

New: Doctoral candidates can take courses at the Central European University! More information can be found here.

Doctoral candidates are expected to put together an individual training plan together with their supervisor and record their course work in their doctoral thesis agreement. Generally, doctoral candidates should first present their research project in the public presentation and only after the approval of the topic start the training component. Specific guidelines regarding the coursework are available on the website of the StudyServiceCenter. The training component must be completed and approved by the Director of the Doctoral Study Programme before the submission of the doctoral thesis.

Annual Progress Reports

Doctoral candidates have to submit a progress report every year once they have passed the public presentation. The annual progress reports serve two purposes:

First, they take stock of the progress made during each year of the doctoral studies. This may sound trivial, yet it helps both doctoral candidates and their supervisors to keep track of their doctoral projects and to avoid pitfalls such as unrealistic timetable, procrastination, etc.

Second, in the annual reports changes can be documented that become necessary or even desirable during the doctoral studies which could not have been anticipated when the dissertation agreement was signed. For instance, it might occur that the initially intended data collection becomes impossible because access to special archives or datasets was denied. Alternatively, it might be that new opportunities turn up, such as a new conference or workshop on the topic of the doctoral project. These changes to the dissertation agreement need to be documented in the annual reports. However, it is important to emphasize that ultimately it is up to the Director of the Doctoral Study Programme to accept these changes.

Form & Submission

The annual progress report must be submitted to the StudienServiceCenter (SSC). The SSC provides forms and more information regarding deadlines etc. Please note that for many funding schemes (e.g. dissertation completion fellowship) studying according to the university regulations is required. This includes the regular submission of annual progress reports.