Please read carefully not only the following summary of the PhD examination procedure but also the detailed presentation in Bielefeld University’s General regulation of doctoral studies and the Regulation of doctoral studies at the Faculty of History, Philosophy, and Theology.
Opening of the PhD examination procedure
The doctoral student applies to open the PhD examination procedure to the chair of the PhD Committee – namely, the Dean of the Faculty of History, Philosophy, and Theology. The application should include:
- The notification of acceptance as a doctoral student
- For doctoral students at the BGHS: the transcript of academic achievements during the doctoral study course
- If applicable, proof of completion of preparatory studies for the doctoral course or other requirements
- Curriculum vitae in table format
- If applicable, list of previous publications
- Five copies of the doctoral dissertation
- A declaration of authorship (bound into the dissertation); see the General regulation of doctoral studies and the Regulation of doctoral studies at the Faculty of History, Philosophy, and Theology
- For group work, see the Regulation of doctoral studies at the Faculty of History, Philosophy, and Theology
- Proposals for the appointment of expert examiners
- Declaration regarding any earlier PhD examination procedures
- Proof of fulfilment of admission requirements for doctoral studies
- Proof of knowledge of foreign languages
- Declaration by the doctoral student on authorization for hearers to attend the disputation
The PhD Committee of the Faculty of History, Philosophy, and Theology decides whether to open the PhD examination procedure and appoints an examination committee composed of the two expert examiners plus one further examiner for the oral examination. The expert examiners evaluate the dissertation within six weeks. If a dissertation is submitted at the end of the semester (lecture period), it must be evaluated before the beginning of the next semester (lecture period). The doctoral student must have access to the evaluations, and these have to be on display in the Faculty for two weeks if during the semester and four weeks if outside the semester. The doctoral student may give a written response to the evaluation within the display period.
Disputation and publication of the dissertation
If the dissertation is accepted, the PhD Committee sets a date for the oral examination. This has to be at least one week and no more than eight weeks after the end of the obligatory display period for the dissertation and its evaluation.
The disputation generally lasts 90 minutes. The doctoral student gives a roughly 15-minute presentation on the topic of the dissertation and addresses the arguments presented in the evaluations. After the discussion, the examiners decide in closed session on the grade for the disputation and the total grade for the doctorate. The head of the PhD Committee then informs the doctoral student on their assessment of the doctorate. Within one week, the Dean’s office hands out a temporary certification that the doctoral title will be granted.
The academic achievement justifying use of the title ‘Dr phil.’ is complete only with the publication of the dissertation. The Dean’s office will hand out the PhD certificate only after presentation of a publisher’s contract. The doctoral student is obliged to deliver three examples of the published dissertation to the faculty and three examples of the published dissertation to the University Library within two years of the disputation. You can find more detailed information in the Faculty’s Regulation of doctoral studies.