Faculty of Computer Science and Mathematics
Doctoral study

Doctoral study

This page and subpages outline the doctoral study and examination procedure at the Faculty of Computer Science and Mathematics.


Please ensure you have fully understood the current doctoral degree regulations before you apply for admission to doctoral study. Your written application should be sent to the chairman of the Board of Examiners for Doctoral Awards. Professor Brigitte Forster-Heinlein currently holds this post.

While you do not have to provide a thesis topic at the time of application, you will need to nominate a doctoral supervisor in the form. The date on which you submit your application form does not have any bearing on the submission date of your thesis – no deadlines are set based on your date of application.


In the doctoral colloquium you will give a 45-minute presentation (with subsequent question and answer session) on your intended thesis topic. You should discuss the core areas of your thesis, the current stage of research, similarities with other papers and any relevant problems you may have encountered no later than six months prior to the submission date.

Thesis submission

As a doctoral student, you should discuss potential second reviewers with your supervisor at an early stage of your doctoral study. When submitting your thesis, you will also need to swear affidavits and submit a (detailed) list of all your prior publications.

In a next step, the two reviewers sign their reports. The doctoral thesis (and reports) is then circulated among all professorial staff of the faculty for approval. Once this has been completed, a date can be set for the viva voce; at least two weeks must be given for invitations to be sent. If at all possible, the viva should not be held during a semester break.

The viva voce (thesis defence)

The viva voce consists of a public 45-minute lecture with question round and a non-public oral examination, also of 45 minutes in length, by four professors and a keeper of the minutes. The two thesis reviewers will conduct the examination for approximately one-third of the time. The remaining two examiners share the remainder of the time. You should think early on about whom you wish to nominate as examiners and get in touch with the professors in question, always in agreement with the Chairman of the Board of Examiners for Doctoral Awards. (Usually, each of the four examiners will come from one of the pillars of the Faculty of Computer Science and Mathematics.)

The exact grading scheme and weightings of the partial assessments (two reviews and the viva) are laid out in the current doctoral degree regulations.

Publication and deposit of copies

Having successfully defended your thesis in the viva voce examination, you must, within one year of marking (cf. §22 of the doctoral degree regulations):


  • provide proof of publication of the thesis by a commercial publishing house for sale by booksellers, with a minimum number of 150 copies.

You may not use the doctoral title until you receive your doctoral certificate; this will be issued after you have submitted the required copies or published the thesis in book form.

Please note

that this information is subject to change. For binding answers to questions not dealt with in the doctoral degree regulations, contact the Chairman of the Board of Examiners for Doctoral Awards, Professor Brigitte Forster-Heinlein (phone 3135, room IM 231).