During the master's thesis, students learn to work independently on an extensive scientific project. As a rule, however, this does not touch or go beyond the front lines of research. This changes with the doctoral thesis, which is the essential part of the doctorate. Doctoral students achieve fundamentally new findings in their subject area. Often, the essential work that was later honored with a Nobel Prize was done during this phase. However, difficulties can also arise that were not foreseeable when the topic was formulated. As a result, the doctoral thesis requires a high degree of flexibility and problem-solving thinking. It is this professional maturity in particular that makes the doctorate attractive to industry. Conversely, a speedy doctorate enables a fast and far-reaching professional career. In addition, the doctorate is a prerequisite for a scientific career in higher education or at research institutes (e.g. the Max Planck Society).

The doctorate usually follows directly on from a course of study completed with a diploma or master's degree. In the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, these are usually mathematical-scientific degrees. The details of admission to the doctorate are regulated by the doctoral regulations.


Details of admission to doctoral studies are regulated by the doctoral regulations. In principle, however, a proper degree in the natural sciences (e.g. physics, mathematics or chemistry) with a standard period of study of ten semesters should have been completed at a scientific university. The master's degree is considered a successful completion.
Candidates with foreign degrees should submit their relevant documents (curriculum vitae, certificates and theses (e.g. Master Thesis) in German or English translation) to the PhD Committee so that it can decide on admission or on additional achievements to be made.

As a rule, the topic of the doctoral thesis is given. However, this is not mandatory! For example, own research conducted elsewhere can also be declared the topic of the doctoral thesis. The decision on this is up to the supervisor as well as the doctoral committee. As a rule, the research work, which is determined by the topic, lasts between two and four years.

The doctoral thesis or dissertation is the written record of the scientific results. According to experience, it comprises between one hundred and one hundred and fifty pages. The acceptance of the dissertation is decided on the basis of usually two expert opinions.

After submission and review of the doctoral thesis, an oral examination takes place. This usually consists of a presentation on the thesis and a questioning by the examination committee. Based on the evaluation of the doctoral thesis by the reviewers and the examination by the board, an overall grade is awarded. This concludes the doctoral degree.

Details can be found in the doctoral regulations.

doctoral regulations

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