The doctoral programme in Social Sciences

The doctoral programme in Social Sciences entails training through research. The duration of the doctoral training programme is three years and includes the writing of an original research work in form of a dissertation and a training component.


Entry phase

The degree programme begins with an entry period which ends with the conclusion of the doctoral thesis agreement. The aim of this entry period is the development of an individual research proposal and the preparation for the public presentation at the Faculty.­

The application for approval of the intended doctoral project in the form of a written research proposal has to be submitted within the first year of studies to the competent body responsible for study matters, and has to include objectives and methods, a time schedule and list of resources needed, as well as a confirmation of supervision. (Please see also the additional rules and regulations set out by the ViDSS). The doctoral candidate has to present his/her intended doctoral project in a public presentation at the Faculty.

In the doctoral thesis agreement, the doctoral candidate and the supervisor(s) specify the intended doctoral project, requirements that have to be fulfilled and details about the writing and supervision of the doctoral thesis. Mandatory annual progress reports document the results and requirements fulfilled in the previous year and specify the next steps for the upcoming year.

Research phase

Doctoral candidates have to write a doctoral thesis, which serves to demonstrate the candidate’s ability to master academic topics independently. The doctoral thesis is expected to be of a quality to merit publication, at least in parts, in accordance with the standards in the field of research. The doctoral thesis may take the form of a monograph or a thesis by publication.

Examination credits: During the doctoral programme in Social Sciences, doctoral candidates have to complete achievements comprising 30 ECTS credits. At least 20 ECTS credits must be obtained through courses, of which at least 15 ECTS credits must be obtained through courses with continuous assessment. All activities relating to the doctoral thesis (attending academic workshops, holding presentations at international conferences, subject-related aspects in the organisation of academic events, academic practical courses, teaching, participation in research projects, etc.) which are linked to the doctoral thesis may be considered achievements relevant to the Curriculum (recognitions). Before the conclusion of the doctoral thesis agreement, doctoral candidates may complete courses with continuous assessment comprising 10 ECTS credits. This does not include the “SE Forschungswerkstatt” (research workshop seminar).

Final phase

The completed doctoral thesis has to be submitted to the Studienpräses for assessment. According to the University’s Statutes, the Studienpräses will forward the thesis to at least two suitable assessors qualified in the respective subject.

Provided that all achievements have been met and the doctoral thesis has been positively assessed, the doctoral candidate has to pass a final oral examination (public defence) in front of an examination committee.

When all examinations have been passed and the doctoral thesis and public defence are positively assessed, the doctoral programme is completed.