The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences awards the doctoral degree Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Sciences (Ph.D., in German: Doktor der Naturwissenschaften, doctor rerum naturalium, Dr. rer. nat.) based on a written and published doctoral thesis (dissertation) and an oral examination (disputation / thesis defense).
The doctorate can be achieved in a graduate program or in the form of an individual doctorate. All doctoral candidates are recommended to become members of the Graduate School of the respective department or the Graduate school for Teacher Education.
In order to do a doctorate at the University of Cologne in the mathematical and natural science subjects, you must first register the doctoral project with the faculty. Only then can you enroll as a doctoral student.
For questions concerning the doctorate, please contact the doctoral office of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. It is part of the Dean's Office and works closely with the graduate schools of the departments of the Faculty, the Graduate School for Teacher Education and the Albertus Magnus Graduate Center (AMC).
Registration and Admission as Doctoral Student (PhD)
Registration and Admission as a Doctoral Student (PhD student)
For admission as a doctoral student, you need to register at the doctoral office of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Please proceed as follows:
- Register in Docfile
- Download the form "Application for admission as a doctoral student“. Fill the form completely and sign it. The form must also be signed by your supervisor(s), and the graduate school of the respective department (or the Graduiertenschule für LehrerInnenbildung).
- In Docfile please upload PDF files of:
- Application for admission as a doctoral student (completely filled and with all signatures)
- University entrance qualification / High school leaving certificate (as a single PDF-file)
- Certificates, diplomas and transcripts of all study degrees (e.g. Bachelor and Master, Diploma etc.). Please deposit a separate PDF file for each degree, i.e. one PDF file with the certificate, transcript and transcript of the master's degree, another PDF file for the bachelor's degree, etc.
- Certificate of study progress (if possible)
- Curriculum Vitae (including the date of the University entrance qualification/High school leaving certificate, recommended)
- If applicable: a cooperation agreement (in the case of cooperation with other universities, universities of applied sciences, industry, foreign research institutions, etc.) )if applicable: a supervision agreement with your supervisor and second supervisor (only needed, if you will not become a member of the department's graduate school)
- After you have deposited all documents and completed the Docfile registration assistant, please inform the doctoral office by email that you are applying for admission as a doctoral student. Please indicateyour department in the subject line
If the admission requirements are fulfilled according the § 4 of the doctoral regulation, you will receive an admission (or a conditional admission) as a doctoral student of the Faculty. If applicable, you will be asked to provide the originals or certified copies of certificates and diplomas.
While Working on your Doctoral Thesis Project
While working on their doctoral project, doctoral students take advantage of further training opportunities at the University of Cologne.
Members of the graduate school of the respective department and the graduate school for teacher’s education, respectively, can ask for advice and are regularly invited to attend general and subject-specific professional education courses. The graduate schools also offer their members a subject-specific course on good scientific practice.
Doctoral students who are not members of a graduate school must provide proof of participation in a course on good scientific practice as well.
Doctoral students who have been granted conditional admission by the Faculty first enroll as pre-doctoral students at the Students Office (or International Office) of the University of Cologne. They must provide the requested evidence and, if applicable, the required academic achievements within the set deadline. Provided that the proofs are submitted on time, you will then receive an admission as a doctoral student by the Faculty, and only then enroll as regular doctoral students at the University of Cologne.
Doctoral candidates must regularly update their data in Docfile. They are obliged to notify the doctoral office immediately of any significant changes, for example in supervision or membership of the graduate school, as well as any interruption or withdrawal from the doctoral project.
Doctoral Examinations - Dissertation and Disputation
For the doctorate you submit your dissertation and defend it in the disputation. After the dissertation has been accepted and the disputation has been passed, you will receive the doctoral certificate. You will receive the doctoral diploma with which you will be awarded the doctoral degree only after the publication of the dissertation (see notes on publication of the dissertation and diploma).
You can write the dissertation as a monograph or as a cumulative dissertation. According to the doctoral regulations of 12.3.2020, you can include publications and manuscripts with a substantial part of your own in both the monograph and the cumulative dissertation, whereby the dissertation is designated as cumulative as of three articles already published or accepted for publication (see § 7 of the doctoral regulations of 12.3.2020).
Please discuss the form and the content of the dissertation with the Thesis Advisory Committee (members of a graduate school) or with the first and second supervisors (without membership in a graduate school) at an early stage. For doctoral theses in the field of physics, the approval of the Thesis Advisory Committee or the first and second supervisors is required for the inclusion of publications, manuscripts, and published content (e.g., figures). According to the doctoral regulations of 2006, the dissertation is usually written as a monograph, in which no publications may be included.
Prepare the application for admission to the doctoral examinations early. The documents must be submitted in full to the doctoral office at least 2 weeks before the submission of the dissertation.Update and complete their information in Docfile and add any missing documents:
- University entrance qualification (a PDF file).
- Bachelor's degree certificate, transcript and transcript (combined in one PDF file)
- Master's degree certificate, transcript and transcript (summarized in one PDF file)
- if applicable, cooperation agreements (in case of doctorates in cooperation with universities of applied sciences, other universities, external research institutions or industry).
- Supervision agreement (if applicable) (if you are not a member of a graduate school)
In addition, deposit the following documents in docfile:
- current curriculum vitae with photo
- Course of study certificate (KLIPS-download) as proof of enrollment in the doctoral program
- Graduate school members: Certificate of the Department’s graduate school BCGS, CGSC, GSfBS, GS Mathematics/Informatics, GSGS or GFLB about the membership and about the participation in compulsory and elective courses. A respective confirmation by the GradSchool coordinator in the form “application for admission to the doctoral examinations is sufficient. [Certificates from other graduate schools are to be filed in the department's graduate school documents section].
- Non-graduate school members (for admission as of March 2020): proof of participation in a course on good scientific practice.
- from April 2021, proof of consultation on the content and form of the dissertation with the Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) or supervisors.
- Desposit the Application for Admission to Doctoral Examinations in Docfile. It must be completed in full and signed by you, the supervisor(s), and the department's Graduate School or Graduate School of Teacher Education.
- In addition, deposit the signed Declaration for Admission to the Doctoral Examinations
Send an email to the Doctoral Office, please include “Admission to examinations, Department" in the subject line; state that you have uploaded all documents in Docfile.
Submission of the dissertation:
- Deposit the dissertation as a PDF file in Docfile.
- Note that the declaration, which has to be included in the dissertation (in German), has to be signed.
- Send the dissertation by email to the reviewers and in CC to the doctoral office. If the PDF file of the dissertation is too large to email, deposit the dissertation on a data server (e.g., Sciebo, Sync) and email the link to the reviewers and to the Doctoral Office. Printed and bound copies do not need to be submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The disputation (thesis defense) will take place after the dissertation has been positively evaluated.
- Coordinate the disputation date with the examination committee well in advance.
- Deposit the "Thesis defense scheduling form" in Docfile and inform the doctoral office by email with "Disputation Date, Department" in the subject line.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, disputations are generally held as a videoconference. It is not allowed to record the videoconference. The chairperson will decide if guests will be allowed in the videoconference. Disputations may only be held in presence, if the general Corona regulations of the University of Cologne allow this. In accordance with the University’s regulations, the chairperson decides whether the disputation can take place as a presence examination with the consent of all participants. The form of the disputation (video conference or presence examination) is indicated to the doctoral office with the disputation protocol.
After positive assessment of the dissertation and passing the disputation, you will receive the doctoral certificate, which is usually issued within 6 to 10 weeks after the disputation. It can only be sent within Germany by registered mail to you personally or to an authorized representative. After the certificate has been issued, you may request to inspect the evaluation reports of the dissertation.
Publication of the Dissertation and Doctoral Degree
The doctoral degree is awarded upon proof of publication of the dissertation. The dissertation must be published within one year after the disputation. Upon justified request, the deadline for publication may be extended (up to four times) for one additional year at a time. However, the dissertation must be published no later than 5 years after the disputation.
For publication, please also refer to the information provided by the University and City Library regarding publication in KUPS.
To publish the dissertation, deposit the following documents in Docfile:
- “Druckfreigabe" (= "Consent for Publication" of the supervisor and, if applicable, the first reviewer).
- PDF file of the published dissertation
Note that the dissertation will be accepted by mail only.
After that send an email to the PhD office with the subject "Publication" and mention the department (e.g. "Physics")
Authorization to Temporarily Bear the Doctoral Degree (Only Doctoral Regulations of 12.3.2020)
If there is an important reason that prevents the publication of the dissertation according to §13 paragraph 3 of the doctoral regulations of 12.3.2020, you can apply to be authorized to temporarily bear the doctoral degree. For the application please deposit the following documents as PDF files in Docfile:
- Application as an informal letter with justification, which must be co-signed by the supervisor.
- email to the doctoral office with the subject "provisional title" and name the department (e.g. "Physics")
- Then send an email to the doctoral office with the subject "provisional title" and name the department (e.g. "Physics")
If the doctoral committee agrees, you will receive a temporary authorization to bear the doctoral degree for a period of 2 years. This authorization is usually issued within 4 to 8 weeks after submission of the application. You are obliged to publish the dissertation before the expiry of the validity of the temporary authorization to bear the degree. Upon justified request, the deadline can be extended (up to three times) by one additional year each time. The dissertation must be published no later than 5 years after the disputation.
Handing Over Certificates, Diplomas and the Temporary Authorization to Bear the Degree
The doctoral diploma, the authorization to temporarily bear the doctoral degree as well as the doctoral certificate will be sent by registered mail within Germany addressed to you personally or to an authorized person.