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Bielefeld Graduate School
in History and Sociology
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Doctoral Examination Process

After the completion of both the doctoral programme and your dissertation begins the doctoral examination process proper in which your dissertation is evaluated and defended.
The details of the process are regulated in the respective doctoral regulations and the General Regulations of Doctoral Studies of the University of Bielefeld.
Please note that special rules apply to group or team work as well as to "kumulative Promotionen" (Doctoral degrees on the strength of published articles) and bi-national collaborations. These are elaborated in the respective doctoral regulations as well as in additional contracts.

Initiating the Doctoral Examination Process

You need to apply for the start of the doctoral examination process to the relevant Faculty, whose doctoral regulations specify which documents have to be produced and eventually submitted to the relevant Dean's Office. Templates for all relevant forms are available from the BGHS. You can hand in your documents to the relevant Dean's Office.
You need to apply for the "Academic Transcript of the Doctoral Programme" not later than four weeks before you plan to initiate the doctoral examination process. This transcript serves the purpose of documenting the successful completion of your doctoral studies (classes etc.).

A german checklist of the required documents for Sociology is available here.

Assessment

After the relevant Doctoral Studies Board (Promotionsausschuss) has vetted the documents submitted, a Doctoral Examination Board (Prüfungskommission or Prüfungsausschuss) is appointed, consisting of the examiners (as a rule these are the two supervisors) and at least one more (History) or two more members (Sociology), one of whom is a professor and will chair the work of the Board.
The examiners are to submit a written report on the dissertation within six weeks (History) or two months (Sociology), respectively. This period is extended outside semester time. Once the reports have been handed in, they are made available to the respective doctoral researcher and Examination Board.
Reports and dissertations are on public display between two to six weeks (depending on the respective Regulations of Doctoral Studies and whether the relevant point of time is within or outside semester time).

Defence

After the period of public display of the respective dissertations, the Examination Board decides on their acceptance and sends out invitations for the Defence. The office of the chair of the Examination Board (Sociology) or the Dean's Office (History) arrange the date of the Defence.

Defences in Sociology last as a rule c. 60 minutes, and begin with a brief meeting of the Examination Board (without doctoral researchers). In History, Defences can go on for up to 90 minutes and begin with a 15-minute presentation of the theses.
After the discussion, the Examination Board agree on a mark behind closed doors both for the Defence and the overall mark for the respective doctoral researchers's achievement, both of which are then made public.
The Dean's Office issues a certificate stating that the Defence has been passed. Provided an application is lodged with the BGHS Office in good time, there is a chance of a pro rata refund of the travel costs of an examiner from abroad.

Publication

It is only after the publication of the dissertation that the successful doctoral researcher is allowed to bear the title "Dr. phil.". For more details, see the current relevant Regulations of Doctoral Studies.
After the publication of the dissertation the doctoral certificate is handed out, which marks the official end of the student's doctoral studies.

Doctoral researchers in History: in case of questions please turn to the (Academic Secretariat of the School of Historical Research).

Doctoral researchers in Sociology: in case of questions please turn to the Prüfungsamt der Fakultät für Soziologie (Examinations Office of the Faculty of Sociology) and the competent contact person for the area of "Freie und strukturierte Promotion" (non-taught and taught doctoral studies).

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