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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 a doctoral student (PhD student)
For admission as a doctoral student, you need to register at the Dean's office and in Docfile.
Please proceed as follows:
- the form "Application for admission as a doctoral student" must be completly filled and signed by you, your supervisor(s), and the graduate school of the department.
- prepare scanned copies (PDF files) of:
- University entrance qualification / High school leaving certificate
- Certificates and diplomas of the degrees (Bachelor and Master)
- certificate of study progress (if possible)
- curriculum vitae (recommended)
A confirmation of the graduate school about the membership and establishment of a Thesis Advisory Committee. (This confirmation may be submitted later; it is required for admission, but not for conditional admission)
- 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 a supervision agreement with a second supervisor (only if you will not become a member of the department's graduate school)
- Register in Docfile and upload all PDF files, including the form "Application for admission as a doctoral student".
- Send the completed and signed form "Application for admission as a doctoral student" by email or by post to the doctoral office. If you send it by email please specify the department in the subject.
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.
With the admission of the Faculty you have to enroll as a doctoral student at the University of Cologne (Students Office/International Office).
While working on the Doctoral Thesis Project
While working on their doctoral project, doctoral students take advantage of further training opportunities at the University of Cologne.
As members of the graduate school of the respective department and the ZFL, doctoral students are regularly invited to attend general and subject-specific professional education courses. Among others, the graduate schools 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 / International Office of the University of Cologne. They must provide the requested evidence and, if applicable, the required academic achievements within the set deadline. They will then be admitted as a doctoral student by the Faculty, and only then enroll as regular doctoral students at the University of Cologne.
Doctoral students regularly update their data in Docfile. They are obliged to notify the doctoral office of any significant changes, for example, in supervision or membership of the graduate school, as well as of any interruption or cancellation of the doctoral project.
Doctoral Thesis and defense
For the doctorate you submit your doctoral thesis (dissertation) and then defend it in the disputation. After acceptance of the dissertation and passing the disputation, you will receive the doctoral certificate.
Publications and manuscripts with a significant own contribution can be included in the dissertation. The form and content of the dissertation should be discussed at an early stage with the supervising committee (for members of the graduate school) or with the first and second supervisors (for non-members of the graduate school). In the case of doctoral theses in the field of physics, the approval of the supervision committee / the first and second supervisors is required for the inclusion of publications, manuscripts and other published content. See § 7 of the doctoral regulations of 12.3.2020.
You need to apply for admission to the doctoral examination. Please apply early, at the latest two weeks before submission of the dissertation to the doctoral office:
- Update and complete your information in Docfile and deposit any missing documents (university entrance qualification, Bachelor's and Master's certificates and diplomas, any cooperation agreement)
- Use the form "Application for admission to doctoral examinations". It must be completed in full and signed by you, your supervisor and the graduate school of the department. Upload File the form and other documents specified in the form (CV, proof of enrolment, etc.) as PDF files in Docfile.
- Send the form "Application for admission to doctoral examinations" by e-mail or by post to the Doctoral Office.
The doctoral office will inform you about the admission to the doctorate.
Submission of the dissertation: Deposit the dissertation and additionally the signed declaration for admission to the doctoral examinations as PDF files in Docfile. The further declaration that must be included in the thesis has to be signed as well. Send the PDF-file of the dissertation by email to the doctoral office and in cc to the reviewers. Send the signed declaration for admission to the doctoral examinations by email to the doctoral office, only. During the COVID-19 pandemic there is no need to submit bound copies.
The disputation will only take place after receipt of the reviewers reports and after acceptance (or provisional acceptance) of the dissertation. Please coordinate the date of the disputation with the examination board in advance. Use the "Form for scheduling the thesis defense / Terminbogen" and send it to the Doctoral office well in advance. During the COVID-19 pandemic, disputation (thesis defense meetings) are held as a video conference. It is not allowed to record the video conference. Guest can be admitted. A classical thesis defense meeting can only be held if a video conference is not possible and if all participants agree. The chair of the thesis defense committee decides whether the defense if held in form of a meeting; if so, the chair informs the doctoral degree office, she/he is responsible for compliance with the rules of hygiene, and the public has to be excluded.
After acceptance of the dissertation and passing the disputation you will receive the doctoral certificate.
If the dissertation has been provisionally accepted, you will receive a notification of necessary changes in the presentation and style of the dissertation. You will receive the doctoral certificate as soon as you have incorporated these changes (i.e. the dissertation is ready for printing), which is proven by the revision form.
Please note that the confirmation or certificate can be handed out at the earliest 2 weeks after the disputation.
Publication of the Doctoral Thesis and Doctoral Degree
The publication of the dissertation must take place within one year after the disputation. For this purpose, the consent to publication by the supervisor is required. Please also note the information of the University and City Library (USB) regarding publication in KUPS. Upon reasoned request, the publication deadline can be extended.
The doctoral diploma will be handed over after publication of the dissertation. It will be handed over personally. It is possible to authorize another person to receive the certificate. With the delivery of the diploma you are entitled to hold the PhD degree (German: Dr. rer. nat.).
If there is an important reason that prevents the publication of the dissertation, you can apply for permission to temporarily hold the doctoral degree (§13 paragraph 3 of the doctoral regulations of 12.3.2020). If the doctoral committee agrees, you will receive a diploma valid for a limited period of 2 years with the permission to temporarily hold the doctoral degree. You are obliged to publish the dissertation before the expiry date of the temporary permission.
Dissertations are accepted by the University Library exclusively by mail.