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Submitting the Dissertation

A certain number of copies of the dissertation will need to be submitted to the department’s graduation office. Depending on the department’s regulations, this can be a collection of articles previously published in peer-reviewed academic journals. As far as language requirements are concerned, these will be mandated in the regulations of the respective departments.

Dissertation Review

After you submit the dissertation, it will be given to the readers for review. They have a deadline to grade the dissertation independently. The corrected dissertation is then made available for viewing in the department’s graduation office for a set period of time, where it will be judged by other professors and postdocs in the department. If your dissertation passes this period without comments, the department committee can then decide on the grade.

Oral Examination

After your dissertation is given a positive assessment, an appointment for the oral examination can be made. Either you will defend your dissertation (“Disputation”), or be tested on your dissertation as well as on topics from related disciplines (“Rigorosum”), depending on the department ’s regulations. This also concerns the language in which the exam is conducted. You will be tested by a group usually consisting of the two readers of your dissertation and other professors or postdoctoral department members. They will decide on the overall grade of your doctorate at the end of the exam, which will be noted on a preliminary certificate.


  • With distinction (summa cum laude)
  • Very good (magna cum laude)
  • Good (cum laude)
  • Satisfactory (rite)
  • Failed

Publishing the Dissertation

You will need to publish your dissertation in order to earn your doctorate. Regulations pertaining to publication form are outlined in the department’s doctorate regulations.

Guidelines for the submission of copies of the doctoral theses can be found on the websites of university library.

Conferment of Title

After publication, you will receive an official certificate and be able to use the title “Doctor.” Many departments will have a ceremony known as the “Promovendenfeier” once or twice a year, an official event to ceremonially confer the titles.