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Earning a Doctorate: from Enrolment to Publication

What are the actual steps to earning a doctoral degree?

In order to pursue a doctorate, you'll need to find a professor who is prepared to take on an advisory role, as well as a topic that will sustain your continued interest over a period of years. Everything else is up to you. There is no prescribed or pre-approved timeframe. You can earn a degree quickly or over a longer period of time, be enrolled as a full-time or as a part-time student; you can take an active part in the GGK and its offerings, but this is by no means required. Those who are studying in addition to holding a job will, as a matter of course, need more time to complete their studies. As far as the content of your research is concerned, you will discuss your progress in regular but usually rather infrequent meetings with your PhD advisor. Typically after three to five years, you will hand in a manuscript and, ultimately, present your research by way of a lecture and subsequent question-and-answer session (disputation). Only upon publication of your manuscript (online or in print) may you finally call yourself a

"Dr. rer. soc." or "Dr. phil." in the faculty 03

and

"Dr. phil." in the faculties 04 and 05

 

The Formalities of Pursuing a PhD

  • Step 1:"Acceptance as a doctoral student" and enrolment/registration at JLU
    • "Acceptance as a doctoral student": In order to register as a doctoral student at JLU, you must first complete all forms required by the Examination Board (the admissions committee) for doctoral degrees and hand them in at the dean's office with Frau Schneider (for faculty 03) (registration form faculty 03) or the Academic Examinations Office with Frau Rittinger (for faculties 04 and 05) (http://www.uni-giessen.de/cms/fbz/paemter/gwiss/mitarbeiter/rittinger/Downloads). The Examination Board serves as the admissions committee that decides whether you will be accepted as a doctoral student at JLU; this is, however, essentially a formality.
    • Enrolment: While pursuing a doctorate, you must only be formally enrolled for two semesters when you are a doctoral candidate within the faculties 04 or 05. If you are a doctoral student in the faculty 03, you do not need to be enrolled at all. Be advised, however, that you cannot be a member of the GGK if you are not enrolled. To enrol, you will need:
  1. A written agreement of a professor's supervisory role,
  2. A working title for your doctoral project,
  3. Copies of all required diplomas,
  4. Proofs of language proficiency as put forth in the doctorate regulations (Promotionsordnung),
  5. Proof of health insurance,
  6. A passport photo,
  7. All applicable forms from the registrar's office (http://www.uni-giessen.de/cms/studium/bewerbung/promotion)
    AND
  8. Written confirmation from the Academic Examinations Office that they have received all forms.
  • Step 2: Read the regulations book (Promotionsordnung) for PhD students! Those who began their doctoral studies after June 2011, please note that doctorate regulations 7.40.04 Nr. 1 applies. Please make an appointment with Frau Schneider (faculty 03) or Frau Rittinger (faculties 04 and 05) to review the regulations that apply to you! (Have you fulfilled all language requirements? Will you have to make up missing Latin credits? etc.)
  • Step 3:Formal approval of the attaining of a doctorate
    • Application for formal approval of the attaining of a doctorate from Faculty 03: Two weeks before the next scheduled meeting of the doctoral Examination Board, hand in all forms as well as five copies of your dissertation to the Examination Office. This will initiate the degree-conferral process. You can also make suggestion for the composition of your Examination Committee.
    • Application for formal approval of the attaining of a doctorate from Faculty 04 or 05: Six months before the planned completion of your manuscript, you must submit an application for approval of the attaining of a doctorate to the Examination Office, together with all required forms (final title, the names of those on your examination committee preapproved by the dean's office, your curriculum vitae, a list of publications, and a written receipt of the payment of the fee). At this point, your fulfilment of the language requirements will be reviewed, if needed. Once you have received word back in the form of a written approval, hand in six copies of your dissertation – plus one additional digital version – to the Examination Office.
  • Step 4: As soon as your two faculty reviewers have submitted their reports to the Examination Office for review, your doctoral thesis will be made available within two weeks (during the semester) or four weeks (during the semester break) at the Examination Office for public review and you will get access to your supervisors' reports. You may now, at this stage, arrange a time and date for your defence in consultation with the Examination Committee.
  • Step 5: The disputation takes place before the Examination Committee. You can read up on how this committee is/can be composed in your regulations book (only university lecturers, junior professors, or professors are permitted to serve in this position; off-campus reviewers are permitted). Two of the five committee members must be affiliated with another faculty, not your own. The disputation itself is open to anyone on campus; however, it is left up to you to decide if you wish to hold your defence in the presence of the committee, only, or to allow guest attendees.
  • Step 6: After the defence, you have one year (faculty 03) or two years (faculties 04 or 05) to publish your work online or in print. During this time, you are still a member of the GGK.

Becoming a Member of the GGK:

It's not necessary to formally apply to become a member of the GGK. As soon as you are enrolled in a doctoral programme within Faculty 03-05 at JLU, you automatically become a member of the GGK. In order to take full advantage of the GGK's offerings, however, you should apply for user access; you can do this during PhD consultation hours or by writing to.

Financing:

The decision to pursue a doctorate often depends to a considerable degree on finding the means to financing it. There are many ways to finance a doctorate and what's right for you depends on your own personal needs and desires for academic intensity and for leading a life off-campus. There are those who choose to study part-time in addition to holding down a job, but if this isn't you, you'll have to procure an alternative source of funding. The three most common ways:

  1. A (part-time) position at the university.
  2. Membership in a post-graduate programme funded by the German Research Foundation (and distributed across the country)
    or
  3. A stipend from an institute or foundation.

Success in applying to one of these positions depends, for the most part, on your personal profile. We will gladly discuss these and other matters with you and, furthermore, suggest the best potential funding opportunities for you personally during PhD consultation hours.