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FAQ Doctoral Studies

Please note that changes may occur due to the current situation. You will find these constantly updated on the page
Doctoral Studies

This page answers questions about the different stages of a doctoral procedure for the Dr.med., Dr.med.dent., Dr.sc.hum. degree. Here you will find information on: 

Overview of FAQ topics

Acceptance as doctoral candidate

You have the M1 certificate, a supervisor with Habilitation, and a PhD project.

Application for acceptance as a doctoral candidate must be completely filled out and submitted to the Office of Doctoral Affairs / sent to the Office of Doctoral Affairs, including documents: Copy of M1 certificate and supervision agreement. For external doctoral procedures (additional): Form for external applicants

After acceptance as a doctoral candidate, your doctoral project is official. The acceptance only takes place once the ethics committee has approved the application. Your completed application will be forwarded to the ethics committee by the Office of Doctoral Affairs. Once you have been accepted, you are a member of the university's Graduate Academy.

Via unsolicited application to a habilitated member of the faculty (with informative documents including letter of motivation, CV and certificates, preferably in a pdf file), at the doctoral exchange (see announcements on the homepage) or via the homepage

Immediately at the start of the research work. You can find detailed information on this  here

Independent check of the documents for being complete - incomplete applications will not be processed and will be returned via mail, knowledge of the respective valid doctoral regulations.

The most important contact person in the entire doctoral procedure is the supervisor with Habilitation. You enter into the contract on the supervisory relationship with your supervisor. Another member of the research group often acts as an additional supervisor.

The ethics committee must approve any scientific work in biomedical and clinical research (see also the information sheet on the doctoral procedure in the download area).

Since 30.03.2018, you have to enrol at the Student Secretariat of the University of Tübingen after being accepted as a doctoral candidate by the faculty, see § 38 paragraph 5, sentence 1, first half-sentence of the State University Act. You can find concrete information on the pages of the Student Secretariat.

According to § 3 (1) of the doctoral regulations, the following is stipulated: "The applicant should have studied at least two semesters at the Medical Faculty of the University of Tübingen or have worked in the area of the Tübingen Medical Faculty for at least one year. The doctoral committee may allow exceptions in justified cases upon application by the applicant before the start of the doctoral procedure."

If your supervisor is not a full-time employee at MFT, please submit a proposal for an additional supervisor to form a supervisory team with the main supervisor.

Please enclose a letter of consent from your main supervisor with the application.

The following requirement will apply if you should be accepted as a doctoral student: During the doctoral period, and at least every 6 months, supervision meetings with the supervisory team must take place and be documented (preferably in the doctoral logbook of the faculty). A total of at least three discussions must be documented when applying for admission to the doctoral program, from the beginning of the doctoral period, at the conclusion of data recording and before submission of the dissertation thesis.

Admission to the doctoral procedure

Admission to the doctoral procedure

Requirements: independently prepared and written dissertation, consent of the doctoral supervisor to submit the dissertation, attendance of a course on Good Scientific Practice.

To-do: Submission of an application for admission to the doctoral procedure with the currently requested documents (see application for admission). For instructions on plagiarism check, see below.

Comment: After completion of the dissertation thesis, the actual doctoral procedure (the examination procedure) is opened with the admission. Please note that only complete applications will be processed.

A total of three copies must be prepared. Please hand in two copies in a sturdy folder/binder to the Office of Doctoral Affairs. You can give a third copy directly to your responsible supervisor (doctoral supervisor).

No, you can also send the complete admission documents by post or instruct someone to hand them in. Please note that incomplete documents will be returned to you unprocessed.

In order to have your dissertation checked for text copies ("plagiarism check" - obligatory since 12.05.2016), you must send an electronic version of the dissertation to the Office of Doctoral Affairs by e-mail. The plagiarism check will only be carried out after all necessary admission documents have been submitted. On the application for admission, you certify that this version corresponds to the writing submitted in the sturdy folder/binder. You also certify that you are aware that the use of external sources that have not been identified count as an attempt to deceive.

We check your dissertation (personal data will be removed by us beforehand) for text and data matches using the plagiarism finder "PlagScan". In the pdf report that we receive, all paragraphs which match with other sources will be marked; these sources are also indicated. You and your supervisor will receive the report by email with a request to check it for harmlessness (i.e.: are all transfers correctly marked?). You both sign a declaration of clearance and submit it by post or in person during office hours in the Office of Doctoral Affairs. Only then will your dissertation go into the appraisal process.

If the report contains indications of incorrect citations, please submit an informal letter to the Office of Doctoral Affairs in agreement with your supervisor and request a revision of the paper. We then require two copies (loose sheets) or, in the case of minor revisions, the pages to be exchanged. A new plagiarism check is then no longer needed.

Yes, the dissertation can be written in German as well as in English. In the case of an English thesis, a German abstract must also be included and signed by your supervisor.

A sturdy clip folder or binder is available in office supply stores under this term (see "Klemmbinder" on the internet at Wikipedia).

The following format is recommended: DIN A4, printed on one side, line spacing: 1.5 lines, bibliography one line, font size: Arial or Times New Roman 12, legends may be printed on one line and in smaller font, the distance to all page margins should be 3 cm.

Please note that the final printed version will be reduced to DIN A 5. It is therefore advisable to first choose a correspondingly large font (12 pt) and not to design the illustrations too small, so that the pages remain legible without restriction after reduction to DIN A5 and the page design can thus remain. Apart from the print format, the deposit copies that you submit to the university library at the end of the doctoral procedure must correspond to the version of the dissertation submitted for appraisal. Therefore, when designing figures and tables, please note that the number of coloured pages can significantly increase the printing costs.

Yes, guidance can be found in the "Best practice" sheet.

In exceptional cases, independently written publications or manuscripts accepted for publication may also be included in the dissertation thesis.

Before submission, you must submit an application to the doctoral committee. This contains:

- a cover letter (signed by supervisor and doctoral candidate)

- a signed Curriculum vitae with details of degrees

- List of publications (published or accepted for publication (otherwise: submit classic dissertation))

- the publications as pdf

- a declaration of the authors' shares in each publication (declaration of own contribution)

Further important information can be found in the information sheet "Best practice". For example, if your proposal is accepted, you must submit a summary introduction and discussion. The co-authors of your publications must also give their consent.



Requirements: Admission documents complete

To-do: There is nothing you can do during the review phase (of usually 4-6 months) but wait for the Office of Doctoral Affairs to inform you of the result (or preliminary result in the form of a reviewer's recommendations for reworking). Questions about the status of an ongoing review process will not be answered.

Comments: The appraisal process is usually carried out by the main supervisor and a second reviewer appointed by the faculty. The main supervisor has the option of proposing an independent second reviewer. Proposals are not accepted from the doctoral candidate. For information on rewrite recommendations, see below.

The appraisal process usually takes 4-6 months.

The Office of Doctoral Affairs cannot give you any information about an ongoing procedure, yet we recommend an active exchange with your supervisor.

Before the appraisal

  • Declaration on own contribution is not informative enough to assess which parts of the dissertation thesis were written by the doctoral candidate on his/her own responsibility (see suggested wording on the homepage)
  • Dissertation thesis does not meet the minimum standards of the faculty (scope, format, etc.)
  • Sources are not sufficiently indicated (often occurs when the data of the dissertation have been published in a report - in this case, all illustrations and texts must be cited in the dissertation).


During the review process

  • Unclear designation of figures/tables
  • Incorrect statistics
  • Citation errors (for information see the information sheet)
  • Missing important literature on the topic
  • Scope of approx. 50 pages not fulfilled
  • When will the next event on Good Scientific Practice take place?


Comment: If revisions are necessary, you will be informed by the PhD Office. The review process will not be resumed until the revised paper is available.

Oral Examination (also see information sheet on disputation)

Oral Examination (also see information sheet on disputation)

Requirements: End of the appraisal process (submission of the reviews, end of the submission period).

To-do: You will receive an e-mail from the Office of Doctoral Affairs informing you that the appraisal of your dissertation has ended. You contact your doctoral supervisor and discuss how to organise the disputation. Points to consider are: How to contact the second examiner (usually the second examiner), date and place of the disputation, public announcement.

Comments: after the disputation has been passed, the Office of Doctoral Affairs receives the examination protocol from the main supervisor.

All doctoral students must hold an oral doctoral examination. The state examination can no longer be recognised for this purpose. This is due to the amendments to the State Higher Education Act of April 2014, according to which all doctoral procedures include an oral examination in which the dissertation is part of the subject of the examination. Doctoral candidates who registered their doctoral thesis before 30.07.2014 and submitted their application for admission to the doctoral procedure and all requested documents in full by 29.07.2016 can choose between a viva voce or a disputation as the form of examination.

The disputation is the public defence of the dissertation thesis In the case of the written performance "summa cum laude" and in the doctoral procedure for the Doctor of Human Sciences (Dr.sc.hum.), three examiners are appointed for the disputation and the performance is graded. In all other cases, two examiners are present, and it is graded "passed" or "failed"

The viva is an oral examination in two subjects, one of which is the doctoral subject, the other subject you can choose from a list of subjects available in the Office of Doctoral Affairs. In addition, you will be examined on your dissertation. This examination is not public, participants are the two examiners of the subjects appointed by the dean and the examinee. It is graded as "passed" or "failed". The examination is passed if it is passed in both subjects. If the examination is passed, the overall grade of the doctorate corresponds to that of the written performance.

After the deadline, you will receive an email from the Office of Doctoral Affairs informing you of the end of the assessment of your thesis and asking you to organise the disputation within the next 6 weeks. You should then immediately contact your supervisor to organise the examination. Even beforehand, you could ask your supervisor to let you know as soon as he or she learns that your thesis is on display.

The doctoral candidate organizes the disputation (date and place) himself/herself. It is recommended to determine a suitable setting (e.g. an institute seminar) together with the supervisor of the dissertation. The disputation must take place in Tübingen.

The doctoral candidate mainly in consultation with the supervisor and second examiner.

Usually, supervisors and second examiners are asked to take the examination. In case of scheduling problems or similar, please contact your supervisor or the doctoral office so that another examiner can be appointed.

As soon as the date, place and examiner have been chosen, please inform the Office of Doctoral Affairs by e-mail 2-3 weeks before the examination date. From there, the examiners are officially appointed, and an invitation is sent to all participants. The examiner who works full-time at the faculty is appointed as the exam chair.

Your supervisor will know who your second supervisor is at the latest when your thesis is published (“Auslage”). You can also find out after the deadline by sending an email to the Office of Doctoral Affairs.

You can view the appraisals of your dissertation thesis by arrangement with the Office of Doctoral Affairs. They can only be viewed in the Office of Doctoral Affairs. Unfortunately, we cannot send you the appraisals. You are welcome to take notes during the review process - copying is not possible.

Interested parties may appear at the examination, as many as the given framework (i.e. the room) allows. The disputation must be announced, e.g. via a notice in the institute. Only the examiners have the right to ask questions during the examination. However, you will be not publicly informed of the result of the examination.

First, you present your dissertation, for example as a PowerPoint presentation. This presentation should not last longer than 30 minutes. Afterwards, the examiners will ask you questions about the dissertation, again for no more than 30 minutes. Then the examiners will withdraw for discussion. Afterwards, you will be informed of the result, with the audience excluded.

We recommend that you consult with your supervisor in advance about the main points he or she expects. Basically, you should present the essential contents and results. In any case, it is recommended that you inspect the appraisals. You can do this by making an appointment by e-mail at the Office of Doctoral Affairs.

Only if your written doctoral performance was assessed as "summa cum laude" or you are in the process of obtaining a PhD in the humanities (Dr.sc.hum.), will your disputation be graded and included in the overall evaluation. In all other cases, the examination is graded "passed" or "failed". Only if the examination has been passed can your doctoral procedure be completed.

If you fail the oral examination, you can repeat it once after 12 months at the latest. If it is not passed a second time, the doctoral procedure is deemed to have ended unsuccessfully.



Requirements: M3 examination passed (proof in the form of a certified certificate), you will receive print release by the Office of Doctoral Affairs.

To-do: Usually, you publish your dissertation thesis online according to the rules of the applicable doctoral regulations.

The publication takes place through the delivery of an electronic version, which must completely correspond to the submitted dissertation thesis and whose data format and data carrier must comply with the specifications of the University Library of the University of Tübingen. Information on the exact procedure and advice can be found on the pages of the University Library. With the print release you will receive a form on which your supervisor must confirm his/her consent to electronic publication. You will hand in to the University Library in the course of publication.

If the supervisor does not agree to electronic publication, we expect them to submit a justified request (in letter form) for publication by means of printed copies.

Print format DIN A 5, printed on both sides, title page additionally on the cover, soft cover, paper 80g.

If the paper was submitted for appraisal in colour print, it must also be printed in colour in the final version, as otherwise the readability of the illustrations in particular is no longer guaranteed as in the reviewed version.

The publication of the curriculum vitae is voluntary. If you have the curriculum vitae printed, please state the date of the 2nd or 3rd state examination or the dental examination to the day (DD/MM/YYYY).

Yes. For further changes you need the consent of the doctoral supervisor. In such cases, you must first contact the Office of Doctoral Affairs.

The obligatory copies are handed in at the dissertation office in the main building of the University Library, Wilhelmstraße 32, 72074 Tübingen (for opening hours see the homepage of the University Library). The Dean's Office does not require obligatory copies; however, it is common to send one printed copy each to the first and second reporter.

The copies of the dissertation submitted for appraisal will be disposed in a data-protected manner by the Office of Doctoral Affairs.

Receiving the certificate

Receiving the certificate

Submission of obligatory copies and publication via the university library - the Office of Doctoral Affairs receives appropriate information from the university library.

The certificate will be issued as soon as we have been informed by the university library that the publication has taken place. The issue usually takes 2 - 4 weeks.

Please come and collect the certificate from the Office of Doctoral Affairs during office hours (or otherwise by prior arrangement by e-mail). You can also ask someone with a power of attorney to receive the certificate. In exceptional cases, you can ask us to send the certificate by e-mail.

An original certificate can no longer be issued. A replacement certificate can be issued upon presentation of a copy of the certificate and a sworn statement that the certificate has been lost. If the original certificate is recovered, the replacement certificate must be returned to the Dean's Office.

Unfortunately, not.



  • a plagiarism check of the dissertation writing for admission to the doctorate is compulsory
  • attendance of a course on Good Scientific Practice is compulsory
  • The grading procedure for dissertations has been changed.
  • The time limit for submitting dissertations has been shortened to 2 weeks.

As soon as you are accepted as a doctoral student of the faculty, you are automatically a member of the Graduate Academy of the faculty. You can find information and current announcements on the websites and on ILIAS.

The faculty is currently setting up a "Doktorandenkonvent", which is intended to serve the exchange and co-determination of doctoral students. If you have any questions about this, please contact Ms Montero from the Office of Doctoral Affairs.

Yes! A laboratory book (also called a "research diary") must be kept for every doctoral procedure. This applies to all dissertation projects! Recommendations for keeping a lab book can be found on the homepage in the download section.

A doctorate that has already been registered can continue to be supervised and appraised by the supervisor with Habilitation, even if the supervisor moves to another position. If further supervision is no longer possible or no longer sensible, this can also be transferred to another colleague in the same subject. A change of supervisor is requested in an informal letter to the dean. The doctoral candidate, the previous supervisor and the future supervisor must declare their consent by signature. A change of supervisor is only possible before the application for admission to the doctoral procedure.

Generally, yes, if your supervisor agrees. Proceed as for the first extension (see above).

If there is only a change in the wording, but no change in the content, you can make the change without notice.

If something changes in terms of content without the need for a new ethics vote, please inform us as follows:

"I hereby wish to notify you of the change in my doctoral title. I confirm in agreement with my supervisor with Habilitation that no new ethics vote is necessary.

You and your supervisor must sign this declaration.

If a new ethics vote is necessary, you must deregister the work and register it again.

Should you wish to change the official supervisor, you must apply for this change at the Office of Doctoral Affairs

Please use the following wording:

"I hereby apply for the transfer of supervision of my doctoral thesis with the title [topic] from Ms/Mr [name of former supervisor with Habilitation] to Mrs/Mr [name of new supervisor with Habilitation] ".

The application must be signed by yourself, your former s supervisor with Habilitation and the new supervisor with Habilitation. A new supervision agreement is also required.

You will be informed about current dates by e-mail (please ensure that we always have a valid e-mail address from you!). Announcements are also made via our homepage

If you may have achieved results worthy of protection as part of your doctoral thesis, please contact Dr. Ines Dünkel, who will advise you on inventions and patents, research transfer and technology transfer, as early as possible but imperatively before any publication (poster, lecture, paper).

A pure proofreading service that focuses exclusively on grammar, punctuation and spelling can be used. The use of a service should be disclosed in the self-contribution along with a description of which service it was and that it was paid for (e.g. Proof reading for language errors in spelling, grammar and word choice was performed by American Journal Experts using the commercial standard editing option). In addition, the following must be observed:

  • A certificate from the Editing Service must be requested and submitted with the promotion documents. The version from the Editorial Service and the final version will be sent to the reviewers, who will be asked to assess or confirm the harmlessness.
  • The corrected version (in tracking mode) should be archived by the doctoral candidate.
  • The use of a commercial "editing service" that corrects scientific content is against Good Scientific Practice.

Doctoral students who have been accepted by the faculty and have a central user account can apply for temporary remote access. This application must be made by the supervisor with Habilitation via a form and sent to the Office of Doctoral Affairs.

Doctoral students who are not enrolled at the University of Tübingen and are neither employed at the university nor state employees at the UKT can apply for a doctoral student account at the ZDV. You can find the form here (German only)

Doctoral students who are not enrolled at the University of Tübingen and are not employed at the University of Tübingen and are also not state employees at the UKT can apply for a doctoral student account, which is intended precisely for this group of people. The form can be found at 


In addition, there is a current confirmation of the doctoral student status from the doctoral office.

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