Acceptance as a doctoral candidate

If you fulfil the admission requirements for a doctoral programme, you can apply in writing to the relevant faculty for acceptance as a doctoral candidate, stating your planned dissertation topic. Your application for acceptance should be accompanied by a written confirmation from your supervisor that he/she is willing to supervise your dissertation.

Supervision agreement

It is advisable, and required by some faculties, that doctoral candidates sign a supervision agreement setting out the basic requirements of supervisor and candidate. The supervision agreement will specify the number and assignment of specialist advisers. There are usually two supervisors, one of whom acts as the main supervisor while the other serves as an additional point of contact. A supervision agreement also contains details of other aspects of supervision, such as the documentation of interim results and the frequency of contact, which may differ according to the academic discipline.

Application for acceptance as a doctoral candidate

The application for acceptance as a doctoral candidate must usually be accompanied by other documents, such as a CV, evidence of your degree, an explanation as to whether you have previously embarked on or indeed completed doctoral studies, an official certificate of good conduct and a supervisor's confirmation. More details can be found in the relevant doctoral regulations. The application should generally be submitted before commencing work on your dissertation. The doctoral committee is normally responsible for deciding whether to accept an applicant as a doctoral candidate.

If you are considering writing your dissertation in a language other than German or in collaboration with other doctoral candidates, it is advisable to obtain the consent of your supervisor beforehand. The final decision is made by the responsible doctoral committee.

By accepting a person as a doctoral candidate, the faculty is documenting its basic willingness to evaluate a dissertation on the intended topic as a piece of academic work and to supervise and support the candidate in the preparation of the work.

Acceptance as a doctoral candidate is not the same as permission to sit for the doctoral examination.

Doctoral committee – formal responsibility


Doctoral panel – practical responsibility