FAQ - Häufig gestelle Fragen
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FAQ - Häufig gestelle Fragen
This is a compilation of the most common questions and problems regarding the doctoral procedure. If you don’t find your problem addressed here, it is necessary to read up on the full doctoral degree regulations (Promotionsordnung). This and further helpful documents are available for download here.
For the special case of a joint degree with Groningen please please click here.
the written thesis you submit at the end
your oral thesis defence at the end
this is an important term that relates to who qualifies as supervisor,assessor or examiner. Unfortunately, there is no adequate English translation. Normally these are professors but there are exceptions.
The doctorate committee is elected by the faculty. It handles all formal aspects of your graduation. You apply to the doctorate committee for admission as a doctoral student and, in the end, for opening the graduation procedure. Current members are listed here.
This is the person who advises you in all scientific aspects of your work and is always one
of the assessors of your dissertation.
Normally these are university professors (who can be retired) but other members of our
faculty may also qualify. If there is any doubt about whether your supervisor(s) qualify,
we will clarify this early on when you apply for admission as a doctoral student.
The supervisory committee is a group of people who advise and support you during all
phases of your thesis work. Except for your primary supervisor, they are not necessarily
involved in your final examinations.
When applying for admission as a doctoral student, you must produce a thesis agreement
(Betreuungsvereinbarung), where you specify at least one more supervisor in addition to
your primary supervisor. Commonly, this second supervisor will later also be a assessor of
your dissertation but you do not need to decide this at the time of admission.
If you are part of a graduate programme, your supervisory committee is usually more
extensive and may also contain non-professors (check the rules of your programme;
OLTECH will also advise you).
A thesis assessor provides a written review of your dissertation and awards a grade for it.
Your primary supervisor is always one of the assessors. Assessors are usually
Hochschullehrer*innen but do not have to be. If in doubt, it is best to clarify the
qualification of an assessor before handing in your dissertation.
This is mandatory and we strongly recommend to not procrastinate it, in order to identify potential problems early on. You should apply for admission as a doctoral student within 6-12 months of starting your work, and at the very latest one year before you plan to hand in your thesis. Use the most current form provided at our download site. OLTECH will also help you with getting together all the necessary papers. If you hold a Master degree that does NOT obviously match your desired thesis topic, please include a full transcript of records that lists the courses you actually passed. The doctorate committee may require you to take additional, qualifying courses in that case.
After admission, you are strongly encouraged to enrol as a graduate student. The student status has many advantages for you, plus the graduate school OLTECH depends on it for support, both financial and otherwise. If you enjoy their support and course programme, this is your way of giving something back.
You specify your desired degree when applying for admission. As a rule of thumb, Dr.rer.nat and PhD are awarded for basic research, while a Dr. Ing. involves engineering topics. The choice between a Dr.rer.nat and PhD mainly depends on your international outlook; Dr.rer.nat. is a specifically German degree, the PhD is its equivalent in anglosaxon countries. If unsure, discuss this with your supervisor(s).
Not a principle problem. But note that the majority of examiners in your examinationcommittee (Prüfungskommission) must hold the same degree that you seek. We strongly recommend choosing as second supervisor someone with the appropriate degree. If unsure (e.g., in cases of foreign examiners), please clarify with the doctorate committee.
A publication-based dissertation contains at least two papers that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Note that we require that you are first author on both, as evidence for this being your own work. Cases of shared first-authorships have been rare so far. As of now, the doctorate committee has no general rule for this but decides on the basis of the required declarations of each authors’ contributions whether the required level of independence is met.
Formally, you need to indicate your decision when you hand in your thesis and apply for
opening the doctoral degree procedure. In practise, this decision is often made quite late.
A common case is that people aim for a publication-based dissertation but run out of time
in the end to complete the journal reviewing process.
The decision whether to hand in a publication-based or a monographic dissertation is mainly between you and your primary supervisor. It will not appear on your final certificate. The most important formal consequence concerns your choice of assessors: For a publication-based dissertation, at least one of your assessors must be free of any conflicts of interest (e.g., they cannot be co-authors on your papers). For a monographic dissertation, we request at least one external (non-UOL) assessor. Also note some differences in the required style of your dissertation: please refer to the “Guidelines” document on our download site.
The formal decision is made by the doctorate committee but we usually follow the suggestions you make when handing in your thesis. The minimum are two assessors grading the dissertation and one additional examiner for the oral defence. The maximum is 4 assessors grading the dissertation and 5 examiners of the oral defence. There are a number of requirements that need to be satisfied (see more FAQs below), and this usually determines how many you need for your individual procedure.
The current members can be found here. Note that deputy members are also eligible. If you do not already have one of these people among your assessors, you have to nominate one just for the oral defence.
Usually not. It is a matter between you and your supervisor(s) how you organize the supervision and successful completion of your degree in that case. Commonly, if the move happens towards the end of your thesis work, the doctoral degree procedure is completed at UOL and an exception is granted for your primary supervisor to remain in that role.
At least two of the assessors that graded the dissertation must also be members of your examination committee for the oral defence. Usually, an external assessor is therefore also an examiner in your oral defence. If the examiner travels from within Europe, the faculty offers to reimburse according to the usual UOL rules. Travel from further abroad cannot be covered. External assessors also have the option to join the oral defence online. The defence can even be held entirely online. This is a decision between you and your examiners. NOTE that this requires YOU to organize and handle the necessary technical equipment for a hybrid or online conference, according to UOL policy (e.g., not a “Zoom” meeting). You also need to document the written consent to a hybrid or online format of all examiners (e.g. via email) and forward this to the doctorate office beforehand.