Formal requirements and steps to complete your doctorate

Requirements for doctoral research

To be admitted to doctoral studies, you will need to have successfully completed:

  • a master's programme at a German university,
  • a study programme at a university, a Pädagogische Hochschule (teacher training college) or art academy lasting at least four years or
  • a graduate study programme at a university or Pädagogische Hochschule (teacher training institution).

Degrees earned during studies at a state, or state-accredited, institution of higher education in another country can be recognized if the acquired competencies do not differ significantly from those of the study programmes or degrees for which they serve as a substitute. The Doctoral Committee decides whether the degree can be recognized. In some subjects you can begin your doctoral research before you have graduated (Fast Track). Additionally, highly qualified graduates from “Diplom” study programmes at universities of applied sciences and Berufsakademien (cooperative state universities) can pursue a doctorate, after completing a special aptitude testing process.

Please consult the doctoral regulations for subject-specific provisions.

Advice and information on doctoral research at the University of Konstanz

Formal steps to complete a doctoral degree

During your doctoral studies you will carry out research that builds or expands upon your previously completed study programme. The aim is to make an independent contribution to research (dissertation) and to enhance your scientific reasoning abilities. Doctoral research essentially consists of the independent completion of a dissertation and an oral examination. The oral examination is carried out either as a thesis defence (academic disputation of the dissertation) or as a doctoral viva ("Rigorosum", an extended examination of the theses and/or speciality topics) or in a mixed form. The permissible type of examination is specified in the subject-specific provisions. The doctorate is awarded once you have successfully completed the doctoral examination and the doctoral thesis has been published. The legal framework for doctoral research at the University of Konstanz is provided by our doctoral regulations. The criteria deciding who will be accepted for doctoral research at the University of Konstanz as well as how the doctoral research process is regulated are determined in the corresponding version of the doctoral regulations.

1. Acceptance

In order to be accepted, individuals who meet the admission requirements for doctoral researchers will also need both a research topic and a letter from a prospective supervisor confirming their intent to provide supervision. The applicant and his or her supervisor will document the intended topic, the type of supervision and the supervision conditions in a doctoral supervision agreement. Here you will find more information about supervision and a template for a doctoral supervision agreement.

Once the doctoral supervision agreement is signed, you can request admission as a doctoral researcher at the relevant department at the University of Konstanz. The application forms are available on the Central Examination Office website.

2. Enrolment

Doctoral researchers are required by law to be enrolled at the university (§ 38 para. 5 sentence 1 Landeshochschulgesetz – state law on higher education).

You can, however, be released from this requirement upon application if:

  • your main employment is at the University of Konstanz (you work 50% or more of the average weekly hours and have a contract lasting at least six months) and
  • you are not enrolled in a doctoral study programme.

You will remain enrolled until the doctoral examination procedure has been concluded.

Contact the Division of Student Affairs and Teaching to enrol. You can find all legal bases and necessary forms here. For additional information about the application process, German applicants can contact Peter Bisinger (room D 416, phone: +49 7531 88-2486), international applicants, please contact Ruth Bürger-Fiedler (room D 439, phone: +49 7531 88-4017). 

3. Starting the examination process

After you have completed your doctoral thesis, you submit an Application for Commencement of the Doctoral Examination Procedure to the university’s Central Examination Office. Please see Edelgard Matzner (room C 401, phone +49 7531 88-3114) for application forms. All the relevant legal information and forms are available from the Central Examination Office