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Code of Practice for Doctoral Researchers at the University of Konstanz


Over the course of their studies, doctoral researchers make significant contributions to the University of Konstanz’s reputation and success in both research and teaching. They generate new research results, encourage innovation and enliven the university’s research processes with their intellectual curiosity, creativity and passion. In order to ensure that our doctoral researchers enjoy the best possible conditions for their academic and personal development, the university strives to provide a stimulating and supportive working environment.

Accordingly, this code of practice serves as both recommendation and guide. Supplementing the University of Konstanz's doctoral regulations, it sets out guidelines and standards for both doctoral researchers and their supervisors.

The purpose of doctoral research

The doctoral thesis constitutes an original and independently completed piece of academic work. While it is the individual doctoral researcher’s responsibility to conceive, manage and complete his/her research project, close supervision from a qualified supervisor is integral to doctoral research at the University of Konstanz. For our junior researchers, the doctorate constitutes an important qualification on the road to professional careers in all spheres of society.

The University of Konstanz considers the academic development of its doctoral researchers a central component of its mission.

Research environment and structures

The University of Konstanz stands for internationally visible, cutting-edge research. Thanks to the outstanding performance of its scientists and researchers, the university enjoys an excellent reputation both at home and abroad.

Doctoral research at the University of Konstanz is framed by our culture of achievement, transparency and trust that allows doctoral candidates to carry out pioneering research. For these and other reasons, the doctoral research carried out at our university is considered to be of the very highest quality. At the University of Konstanz, both the departments and the university as a whole are responsible for doctoral studies. This increases the university's institutional commitment to doctoral researchers, and, in turn, serves to integrate them effectively into our university structures.


The University of Konstanz offers a large number of structured, subject-specific doctoral programmes. Supervision is provided either by doctoral committees or by individual researchers. Once admission has been granted by the department, new doctoral researchers and their supervisors are expected to create a written doctoral supervision agreement which lays out their respective expectations, rights and obligations. If conflicts arise and doctoral researchers require assistance, they may contact the university’s ombudspersons for doctoral research.

Supervisors are responsible for creating conditions that are conducive to carrying out independent research and work as well as for providing regular feedback and support as the candidates progress.

Both supervisors and doctoral researchers strive to successfully complete the doctoral examination process within a reasonable amount of time that reflects the demands and customs of the respective field.

Our doctoral researchers can expect the university’s full support in searching for and securing appropriate funding for their doctoral studies. The supervisors will also work to promote the integration of the candidates into the international scientific community.

Safeguarding good scientific practice

In signing the doctoral supervision agreement, supervisors and doctoral researchers commit to abide by the University of Konstanz’s Guidelines to Ensure Good Scientific Practice. The supervisor commits to providing academic quality assurance throughout the research process.

Doctoral theses are evaluated on the basis of stringent academic standards, which are monitored by several reviewers. External reviewers may be appointed to evaluate cumulative theses or in cases where the thesis was written jointly with the candidate’s primary or secondary supervisor. If conflicts arise, doctoral researchers may call upon the ombudspersons for doctoral research.

Representation and participation

Doctoral researcher councils ensure that doctoral researchers at the University of Konstanz enjoy adequate representation and are given the opportunity to participate in our academic self-administration. These faculty-level councils facilitate self-organisation and promote the creation of university-wide networks among doctoral researchers. The University of Konstanz encourages all doctoral researchers to participate in its academic self-administration processes.

The Vice-rector for Research and Academic Staff Development provides additional support, safeguarding the interests of all doctoral researchers. 

Transferable qualifications and academic career development

The University of Konstanz is proud to offer a wide variety of continuing education opportunities. Our Academic Staff Development unit and integrated university didactics team offer numerous options and events for doctoral researchers to develop their competencies in research and teaching. Individual support is available from our Research Support team, the Communication, Information and Media Centre (KIM), Career Service, the Welcome Center and the Office for Equal Opportunity, Family Affairs and Diversity.

International mobility

At the University of Konstanz, we recognise the valuable contribution international exchange and cross-fertilisation make to science. For this reason, we promote our doctoral researchers’ international mobility. Stays abroad are popular among a large number of our doctoral researchers thanks to various options offered by the International Office as well as individual contacts between researchers. These stays abroad can help integrate junior researchers into scientific networks and advance their career prospects.

Equal opportunity and diversity

The University of Konstanz promotes equal opportunity for all genders as well as the compatibility of work and family life and pursues a zero tolerance policy in regard to any type of discrimination during the selection and admission process as well as during the supervision and evaluation of doctoral candidates. Doctoral researchers with disabilities are entitled to special arrangements to address their unique challenges.

The University of Konstanz strives to create a balanced gender ratio among its doctoral researchers.

Quality assurance and monitoring

Our doctoral researchers are admitted and registered early on in a standardised process. We have established a reporting system that provides information on the development of admission numbers as well as the progress the individual doctoral researchers make. Surveys of doctoral researchers and graduates conducted at regular intervals help create an even fuller picture of candidates’ funding, supervision and living conditions as well as their career progression.

Monitoring these parameters serves to continuously improve the University of Konstanz’s doctoral programmes.