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Examination procedures for obtaining a doctoral degree

Examination procedures follow the regulations of Faculty I (only obtainable in German):

Overview over the examination procedures

Here is an overview over the central elements of the procedures according to the regulations of Faculty I. Please refer to the Doctoral Regulations of Faculty I: Faculty of Arts and Humanities (readable version) for details.

  • Persons who are starting to work on a doctoral dissertation should apply for admission as a doctoral candidate. In particular, an early application for admission is strongly recommended for persons holding a university degree from abroad or holding only a B.A. degree. When the doctoral commission decides on the admission to doctoral studies, it checks whether university degrees are recognized and whether the candidate has to fulfil additional coursework or language requirements.

  • The doctoral examination consists of the doctoral thesis and an oral exam.

  • The thesis ("Dissertation") is an innovative and independent contribution of the candidate to academic research. It can be written in German or English; in exceptional cases, it can also be written in another language. You can find a sample for the cover page here.

  • The oral exam ("Disputation") lasts 90 minutes. It consists of a defense of the doctoral thesis and of an exam on two additional subjects. The candidate has to propose subjects for the exam and to submit the claims that he/she wants to defend with respect to these subjects. The oral exam is open to other members of the university unless the candidate declares that no other members are allowed.

  • When the thesis has been completed, the candidate has to submit a request to the Chair of the Commission for doctoral studies for being awarded the doctoral degree. Together with this request, the candidate must submit the following documents:

    • letter of acceptance as a doctoral candidate
    • a curriculum vitae
    • five hard copies and an electronic version of the thesis
    • a declaration "an Eides statt" (in lieu of an oath) that the candidate has written the thesis independently and has indicated all sources and materials that he/she has used
    • a declaration whether the candidate has already, at this or another university, applied for being awarded a doctoral degree, and (if applicable) what the outcome of this application was; and a declaration whether the thesis has previously been submitted with the purpose of obtaining a doctoral degree
    • a declaration of the candidate about any condemnations and pending lawsuits in penal or disciplinary law
    • if applicable, a declaration that no other members of the university are allowed to attend the oral exam
    • a proposal for the two examiners of the thesis and for two additional examiners for the oral exam
    • if applicable, proof about required additional courses and about knowledge of foreign languages, if the proof has not already been given while applying for the acceptance as a doctoral candidate.
  • The commission that decides on the grades of the thesis and the oral exam consists of four persons: the two persons who propose a grade for the thesis and two additional persons. Either all or at least three (depending on the regulations that apply) members have to be professors, junior professors or private lecturers. Separate grades are given for the thesis and the oral exam; for the total grade, the grade of the thesis has double weight. The grading system is as follows: summa cum laude (0), magna cum laude (1), cum laude (2), rite (3), non rite (failed) (5).

  • The thesis has to be published within the two years following the examination. The candidate has to submit three copies of the book and prove that at least 150 copies have been printed. Alternatively, the thesis can also be published electronically on the webserver of the university library (see here for more information).

The coordinator of doctoral students will gladly help you with any questions related to the examination procedures.

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