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Step by Step manual for doctoral studies

All important information about how you make it through your doctoral studies step by step.

Step 1: Finding a First and Second Supervisor

Finding a supervisor

First Supervisor:

If you want to pursue a doctorate at our faculty, the first and most important step is to find a supervisor. Only professors, honorary professors, emeritus professors, APL professors and PD professors of our faculty can be supervisors; An overview of the different institutes and professors of the faculty can be found on the website of the faculty.

If you have identified a potential supervisor, please contact him/her via e-mail and attach your curriculum vitae, as well as a description of your doctoral project. The time needed from first contact until you receive the formal declaration of the professor to be your supervisor may take between a few weeks and half a year.

Second Supervisor:

Once you have found your first supervisor, you should discuss with him/her the options for finding the second supervisor. Having a second supervisor is a prerequisite for admission as a doctoral student. Once you found a potential second supervisor, please contact him/her in the same fashion as outlined above regarding the first supervisor.

Important note: The second supervisor cannot be appointed as reviewer of the dissertation.

 

 

Step 2: Application and Admission as a Doctoral Candidate

Application for admission

Once you have found your supervisor and are ready to start with your dissertation, you should apply to the doctoral committee of the faculty (Promotionsausschuss) for admission as a doctoral candidate.

One of the required documents listed in the application form is the Doctoral Supervision Agreement in which the doctoral candidate and his or her supervisors agree to a number of terms in order to guarantee transparency with regard to the content and timeframe of the supervision relationship.

Please hand in the application form together with the required documents at the faculty's examination office. Submitting the application as doctoral student at an early stage guarantees you that the formal prerequisites of your doctoral studies can be checked right at the beginning.

When applying for admission you have to decide upon the title you wish to be awarded. You may choose between:

  • Dr. rer. nat.
  • Dr. phil

The doctoral committee will normally decide within 3 months about your application. You will be informed in writing (letter of acceptance) as to whether you have been accepted as a doctoral student of the faculty.

 

 

Step 3: Matriculation/Registration at Freiburg University

Matriculation

It is up to you to decide whether you want to matriculate at Freiburg University as a student or whether you only want to register.

Matriculation:

If you matriculate, you will be granted the status of a regular student, which offers the following advantages:

  • Access to the university's IT services;
  • Access to the courses offered at the International Graduate Academy;
  • Entitlement to purchase a semester ticket for local public transport;
  • Access to student housing;
  • Access to the university cafeterias.

Costs: 155 € per semester.

Prerequisite: Acceptance as doctoral student at the faculty.

Procedure: In order to matriculate, you need to apply for admission. International students submit their application form at the office for International Admissions and Services; German students submit their application form at the Studierendensekretariat. Doctoral students can matriculate throughout the year, there are no special deadlines.

Registration:

The registration confirms your status as doctoral student of the faculty. This guarantees you:

  • Access to the university's IT services;
  • Access to the courses offered at the International Graduate Academy.

Costs: none.

Prerequisite: Acceptance as doctoral student at the faculty.

Procedure: Information regarding the registration procedure can be found on the website of the International Graduate Academy.

Please note: All doctoral students who are not matriculated, must register as doctoral students at Freiburg University.

 

 

Step 4: Individual Dissertation or Structured Ph.D. Program?

Structured PhD

While preparing for your doctoral studies, you can start thinking about the way in which you want to pursue your doctorate. There are two possibilities:

The traditional way

Together with your supervisors, you work on your doctorate. You do not have to follow any extra obligations except those of the Ph.D. regulations. You pursue your doctoral degree "individually".

Graduate school

You take part in a structured graduate program. Again, the dissertation is the main focus; however, courses and the exchange within a group of graduate students complete your doctoral studies. The Graduate School “Environment, Society and Global Change” offers this possibility.

Please discuss both options with your supervisors.

 

 

Step 5: During the Doctorate

During the PhD

For doctoral students who have been accepted by the doctoral committee of the faculty before April 1, 2016:

During their doctoral studies, all students need to fulfill the requirements of the Ph.D. regulations. This includes the documentation of the doctoral studies' progress in the first year:

  • show your work plan and research concept to your supervisors 3 to 9 months after you have started with your doctorate. After the evaluation, your supervisors have to fill in the document guideline 1 and submit it to the examination office of the faculty.
  • present your progress within the first year in a colloquium of your institute where both of your supervisors are present. Afterwards, please ask the supervisors to fill in the guideline 2. This document also has to be submitted to the examination office.


For doctoral students who have been accepted by the doctoral committee of the faculty after April 1, 2016:

During their doctoral studies, all students need to fulfill the requirements of the Ph.D. regulations. After the acceptance as doctoral student you will conclude a PhD agreement with your supervisors. This agreement will set the details regarding the PhD process and the duties of the doctoral student and the supervisors. It is recommended to check the agreement after two years (see § 6 Abs.9)

Applicable for all doctoral students:

If you are a member of a graduate school or another structured PhD program you have to fulfill, in addition to the requirements of the Ph.D. regulations, their requirements.

Already at the beginning of your doctoral studies, you should decide whether you would like to write your dissertation in a cumulative or monographic format.

 

 

Step 6: Submitting the Doctoral Thesis

Submitting the Dissertation

Once you have finished your dissertation, you can apply for its submission at the examination office. This includes the submission of 6 bound copies of your dissertation and 1 digital version (CD/DVD) as well as other documents which are listed in the form application for submission of the doctoral thesis. Please see the download section for the dates of the doctoral campaigns which take place several times a year.

 

Step 7: Thesis Defense

Thesis Defence

After the evaluation of the dissertation, the Ph.D. candidate agrees on a date for the oral examination (defense) with the examination committee. The dates for the defenses are regulated by the faculty and can be found in the Downloads section under "Schedules".

The defense consists of a 30 min presentation about the dissertation and a subsequent discussion about content and methodology of the dissertation and related research areas. The defense is held in German or English and is open to all members of the university.

 

Step 8: Publication

Publishing

The dissertation has to be published within one year after the defense. Your manuscript has to be approved before by your first supervisor in order to publish it. A dissertation is considered as published, if it fulfills the requirements according to § 14 of the Ph.D. regulation. Only after the dissertation has been published can the doctorate certificate be issued and the doctoral title used.