General Doctoral Regulations at the University of Bielefeld
The English version merely serves as a guideline. Legally binding is the german text of the `Rahmenpromotionsordnung`. The German version shall in any event prevail.
In accordance with § 2, para. 4, and § 67, para. 3, of the Higher Education Law (= Hochschulgesetz - HG) of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) of 31st October 2006, (GV [= Gesetz- und Verordnungsblatt: law gazette]. NRW. p. 474), as last amended by the law of 8th October 2009 (GV. NRW. p. 517), the University of Bielefeld has issued the following general regulations for doctoral degrees:
This document is an unpublished consolidation.
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The University of Bielefeld offers doctorates in all subjects and main areas of research conducted at the University. The right to award doctorates is the responsibility of the faculties. With these general doctoral regulations, the University of Bielefeld recognizes the diversity of doctoral studies and the different traditions deriving from varying faculty cultures. Simultaneously, these general doctoral regulations set out the institutional responsibility of the University of Bielefeld for all doctorates by
- guaranteeing a high degree of transparency and quality of the doctoral procedures irrespective of the doctorate forms and thereby making an important contribution to quality assurance;
- ensuring the flexibility and compatibility of the procedures to reflect the quality and standards of the research profile of the University of Bielefeld which distinguishes itself not only by important research in the classical subjects and disciplines but also through cross-faculty research;
- supporting doctoral projects which involve more than one university and which are international in scope;
- also especially facilitating the introduction of structured doctoral programs in the main research areas across faculties at the University of Bielefeld.
These general doctoral regulations form the basis for the doctoral regulations of the faculties which assume their own responsibility pertaining to their disciplines, issuing further concretizing and complementing regulations.
These general doctoral regulations apply to all doctoral examination procedures conducted at the University of Bielefeld. They contain general provisions for the conduct of the doctoral examination procedure. The faculties issue doctoral regulations which regulate their respective subject-specific contents and requirements for the doctoral examination procedure. The doctoral regulations of the faculties must ensure the implementation of doctoral examination procedures which encompass cross-faculty research topics. Contradictory provisions of particular doctoral regulations of the faculties or in the respective study regulations for doctoral studies are invalid unless explicitly permitted by these general regulations.
- At the University of Bielefeld, the following doctoral degrees listed below are conferred:
a) Faculty of biology "Doktor der Naturwissenschaften" Dr. rer. nat. (doctor rerum naturalium), Dr. phil. nat.(doctor philosophiae naturalis) b) Faculty of chemistry "Doktor der Naturwissenschaften" Dr. rer. nat (doctor rerum naturalium) c) Faculty of educational science "Doktor der Philosophie" Dr. phil. (doctor philosophiae) d) Faculty of history, philosophy and theology "Doktor der Philosophie" Dr. phil. (doctor philosophiae) e) Faculty of health science "Doctor of public health" Dr. PH f) Faculty of linguistics and literary studies "Doktor der Philosophie" Dr. phil. (doctor philosophiae) g) Faculty of mathematics "Doktor der Mathematik" Dr. math.
"Doktor der Pädagogik" Dr. paed.
h) Faculty of physics "Doktor der Naturwissenschaften" Dr. rer. nat. (doctor rerum naturalium) i) Faculty of psychology and sports science "Doktor der Naturwissenschafte" Dr. rer. nat. (doctor rerum naturalium)
"Doktor der Philosophie" Dr. phil. (doctor philosophiae)
j) Faculty of law "Doktor der Rechtswissenschaft" Dr. jur. (doctor iuris) k) Faculty of social studies "Doktor der Philosophie" Dr. phil. (doctor philosophiae) l) Faculty of technology "Doktor der Naturwissenschaften" Dr. rer. nat (doctor rerum naturalium)
"Doktor der Ingenieurwissenschaften" Dr.-Ing.
m) Faculty of economic sciences "Doktor der Wirtschaftswissenschaften" Dr. rer. pol. (doctor rerum politicarum)
- According to § 18, the University of Bielefeld can also, through the above-mentioned faculties, confer the degree of an honorary doctor ("Doktor ehrenhalber", doctor honoris causa, Dr. h.c.) as recognition of exceptional accomplishments and achievements in their disciplines. The doctoral degrees to be conferred according to paragraph 1 then carry the additional specification "honoris causa" h.c.
- Women can carry the organisational titles, academic titles and university degrees which are mentioned in these regulations in the grammatical feminine gender form.
- The award of a doctorate is to evidence the ability to work independently on an academic field related to one of the disciplines or main areas of research offered by the faculties, exceeding the general goal of study as defined by § 58, para. 1 of the HG.
- The doctoral examination procedure consists of a piece of academically significant written work (thesis) and further academic assessment by examination.
- Those who have been accepted as a doctoral candidate by the faculties according to § 6 can remain enrolled as doctoral candidate at the University of Bielefeld until the completion of the doctoral examination procedure.
- The doctoral examination procedure can be progressed within doctoral studies provided for by one or more faculties or as part of another recognized program of structured doctoral studies (e.g. in graduate schools or post-graduate programs) or outside these doctoral studies or programs (known as doctoral studies independent of study courses). More details are provided by the respective doctoral regulations of the faculties, by the study regulations for doctoral studies or the respective programs for doctoral candidates.
- A doctoral examination board shall be in charge of organizing the doctoral examination procedure, in particular of deciding on the admission to the doctoral examination procedure and on accepting a doctoral candidate, of beginning the doctoral examination procedure, of selecting the assessors, of choosing the members of the examining board, of supervising the uninterrupted course of the doctoral examination procedure including the documentation of the number of doctoral candidates of the faculty as well as all tasks assigned by these regulations. Furthermore, the competence of the dean remains unchanged.
- The doctoral examination board is composed of two or three representatives of the professorial body, one authorized examiner from the academic staff body, one representative from the student body and one representative of other employees. The board elects a chairman and a vice chairman from among the members who are authorized examiners. The term of office for the student members is one year, the term of office for the other members is two years. Re-election is permitted. As to decisions relating to academic standards achieved in the examination, only those members of the doctoral examination board who have a doctoral degree are entitled to vote (§ 65, para. 1 HG).
- The board is quorate if a minimum of three members is present among whom there is the chairman or the vice chairman and a total of two members who are authorized examiners. Decisions are reached by a simple majority. The members of the professorial body have two votes respectively, the other members have one vote. The chairman has the casting vote if no simple majority is achieved.
- The doctoral regulations of the faculties may contain provisions differing from paragraphs 2 and 3.
- The doctoral examination board can authorize the chairman to conduct its business on its behalf. This does not apply in cases involving unfavourable decisions relating to objections.
- If a faculty has not established a doctoral examination board as provided in paragraph 1, the dean will be responsible for the tasks outlined in paragraph 1. The faculty conference is responsible for decisions involving objections and for decisions in accordance with § 10, para. 8, sent. 5.
- The doctoral examination board or the dean are authorities in accordance with administrative procedural law.
- Admission to the doctoral examination procedure requires having completed successfully
- relevant university studies in a standard period of study of at least eight semesters for which a degree other than "Bachelor" is conferred, or
- relevant university studies in a standard period of study of at least six semesters and appropriate subsequent studies in the doctoral subjects in preparation for the doctorate, or
- a relevant Masters degree course in accordance with § 61, para. 2, sent. 2 of the HG.
- The doctoral regulations of the faculties can define the admission requirements as follows:
- evidence of a subject-specific degree,
- evidence of degree qualification,
- evidence of further study as well as other achievements which indicate suitability for doctoral studies.
- If, according to the respective doctoral regulations of the faculties, additional accomplishments or studies in preparation for the doctorate are necessary for admission to the doctoral examination procedure and for the doctoral examination procedure itself, they shall be regarded as having been met if a relevant doctoral program or any other recognized program of structured doctoral studies has been completed successfully.
- Excellent candidates from Masters degree courses, whose progress was examined after one year in accordance with the regulations of the Masters examination regulations, have completed the studies in preparation for the doctorate through these accomplishments. More details are to be found in the doctoral regulations of the faculties.
- University studies completed in foreign countries are to be recognized by the competent body according to § 4. Recognition requires the equivalence with university studies completed in Germany. When deciding on the equivalence of university studies completed in foreign countries, the equivalence agreements approved of by the Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (= Kultusministerkonferenz) and the Conference of University Presidents (= Hochschulrektorenkonferenz) or corresponding legal provisions are to be taken into account. If there are any doubts as to equivalence, the Central Office for Foreign Education (= Zentralstelle für Ausländisches Bildungswesen) shall be consulted.
- Those who intend to write a thesis and meet the admission requirements in accordance with § 5 have to apply for the acceptance as a doctoral candidate by the competent body - as provided for in § 4 - of the faculty where the doctoral examination procedure is proposed to take place.
- By accepting a doctoral candidate, the faculty expresses its general willingness to evaluate a thesis about the proposed subject as academic work and to supervise and support the doctoral candidate in the writing of the thesis. The doctoral regulations of the faculties can provide a deadline for acceptance.
- The following documents are to be enclosed with the application:
- evidence of meeting the admission requirements according to § 5,
- indication of the proposed subject of the thesis and of the supervisor as well as the declaration of the supervisor stating that he or she agrees to supervise the candidate,
- a CV detailing personal and professional development,
- a declaration about current or previous applications for the doctoral examination procedure, indicating the point of time, the subject and the faculty/university department where the candidate applied to commence the doctoral examination procedure.
- The competent body of the faculty - as defined by § 4 - usually takes a decision on the application within 2 months, for doctoral study courses at the respective beginning of the study course. Acceptance as a doctoral candidate shall be denied if admission requirements are not met, or:
- if the proposed subject is not within the specific direction of the faculty or if no supervisor can be identified who has the appropriate expertise to supervise the subject or if the supervision cannot be ensured for the duration of the doctoral examination procedure.
- if none of the responsible supervisors regards the proposed subject as meritable or considers the qualification of the applicant to be appropriate or
- if the provision of resources to conduct the proposed project is not assured.
- Being accepted as a doctoral candidate does not imply a legal claim to commence the doctoral examination procedure.
- The applicant is to be informed in writing of the decision on acceptance or rejection as a doctoral candidate. A rejection is to include the reasons for the rejection and information detailing legal remedies.
- Acceptance as a doctoral candidate can be revoked if grounds for a rejection of the acceptance as a doctoral candidate subsequently appear or if there is no prospect that the thesis can be successfully completed within an appropriate time period or if the supervision agreement (§ 7, para. 2) was legally cancelled.
- The following persons can, in general, act as supervisors: members of the professorial body, other persons qualified as professors or other members of the faculty who are authorized examiners as well as associate professors. In the case of interdisciplinary / cross-faculty research studies, members of other faculties shall also be assigned as supervisors. More details concerning this matter are to be found in the doctoral regulations of the faculties.
- The doctoral regulations of the faculties provide for the assignment of a prime supervisor. The regulations can also allow for cooperative forms of supervision and define the details of the supervisory relationship. They further provide for a supervisory agreement between the academic supervisors and the doctoral candidate which takes into account the subject-specific sample agreements or the guidelines for supervisory agreements issued by the German Research Foundation (DFG = Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft).
- The faculties shall ensure supervision for the duration of the doctoral examination procedure.
- The application for the beginning of the doctoral examination procedure is to be made in writing to the body, which is competent according to § 4, of the respective faculty. The following documents are to be enclosed with the application:
- formal notification of acceptance as a doctoral candidate according to § 6,
- if applicable, evidence of studies in preparation for the doctorate and/or further requirements,
- a CV detailing personal and professional development,
- if applicable, a list of academic publications and lectures,
- the number of copies of the thesis as stipulated in the doctoral regulations of the faculties,
- in the case of team work as provided in the doctoral regulations of the faculties: a report jointly written by the involved persons dealing with the collaboration regarding the thesis, indication of the individual authorship of the respective parts of the thesis, furthermore indication of names, academic titles, addresses of those involved in the teamwork as well as information on the question as to whether any persons and which persons have already applied for a doctoral examination procedure or completed such a procedure, using parts of the submitted work.
- a declaration stating
- that the doctoral candidate is familiar with the valid doctoral regulations of the faculty,
- that the doctoral candidate has written the thesis all by himself/herself (declaration of authorship), no parts of the text have been copied from a third party or the candidate's own academic work without due attribution and assistance and sources used by the doctoral candidate have been duly referenced and attributed in his or her work,
- that no third party has received non-monetary benefits, directly or indirectly, for services of an intermediary nature, or for any work which is associated with the contents of the submitted thesis.
- that the doctoral candidate has not yet submitted the thesis for examination for a public or other academic examination, and
- whether the doctoral candidate has submitted the same paper, a paper with basically similar contents or another paper as a thesis to another university and, if applicable, with which results.
- The application can be withdrawn. Withdrawal is excluded if a review has already been submitted to the competent body.
- The decision on the beginning of the doctoral examination procedure is taken by the competent body according to § 4. Differing from § 4, para.1, the doctoral regulations of the faculties can transfer the decision on the beginning of the doctoral examination procedure to the faculty conference. The doctoral candidate will receive a written notification concerning the beginning.
- The doctoral examination is assessed by an examining board which is determined by the competent body according to § 4 when deciding on the beginning of the doctoral examination procedure. The members of the faculty conferring the doctorate must hold the majority in the examining board.
- The examining board will usually consist of assessors and at least one further examiner for the oral examination. The doctoral regulations of the faculties define the number of assessors to be appointed. The doctoral regulations of the faculties shall also define who can qualify as an assessor in general and the conditions under which, if applicable, further reviews are needed or external assessors are to be involved. These external assessors are also members of the examining board. The supervisor shall be appointed assessor; he or she shall not chair the examining board. The head of the examining board is a member of the professorial body and is appointed by the competent body according to § 4. With interdisciplinary or cross-faculty doctoral projects, it is to be ensured that the composition of the examining board is interdisciplinary or cross-faculty and that the assessors are appointed accordingly.
- The examining board meets in non-public sessions. Its decisions are to be documented in a protocol.
- The professors' rights to participate in a doctoral examination procedure are not affected by receiving emeritus status nor by retirement. If a supervisor or an assessor moves to another university, he or she is entitled - if agreed by the doctoral candidate and the faculty ? to continue with the supervision of doctoral studies already underway. The doctoral regulations of the faculties provide more details concerning this matter and further participatory rights.
- The thesis serves as evidence of the doctoral candidate's ability to achieve results through his or her independent academic work which help advance the discipline from which the thesis derives.
- The faculties can allow for cumulative theses (applicable only for certain disciplines), by which the doctoral candidate offers evidence in accordance with paragraph 1. The theses must be based on a common set of academic questioning. A detailed description is to be prefixed which includes a critical assessment of the research topics and the most important results of the publications in the context of the subject-related academic literature as well as an appraisal of one's own individual contribution and the contributions by the other authors to the respective publications. More details are to be found in the doctoral regulations of the faculties.
- As a general rule, the thesis is to be written in either German or English. The doctoral regulations of the faculties can allow for further languages. More details concerning the thesis are provided for by the doctoral regulations of the faculties.
- The thesis must contain a title page, a table of contents, a summary and a bibliography. Parts of the academic works completed within the framework of the thesis can be published in advance with the supervisors' approval.
- Each assessor is to submit a review outlining his/her reasoning in writing to the competent body according to § 4, usually two months after his or her assignment as an assessor. The doctoral regulations of the faculties can provide more detailed provisions.
- The assessors examine in detail and independently from each other whether the submitted thesis can be accepted toward the doctorate, whether it has to be rejected or returned for revision. They assess the academic accomplishment of an acceptable thesis in their written reviews and assign the grades as follows:
- Exceptional academic achievement (= Überragende Arbeit, summa cum laude)
- Very good academic achievement ( = Sehr gute Arbeit, magna cum laude)
- Good academic achievement (= Gute Arbeit, cum laude)
- Adequate academic achievement (= Genügende Arbeit, rite).
- When the reviews have been submitted, the thesis is made available together with the assessors? reviews to the faculty in the dean?s office. The competent body according to § 4 informs the doctoral candidate, the members of the professorial body and the members of the faculty holding a doctoral degree of the availability of the thesis together with the reviews in the dean?s office. For a period, depending on the doctoral regulations of the faculties, of at least two weeks and a maximum of three weeks, the faculty members of the University of Bielefeld who are authorized examiners and who provide the assessors, as well as the members of the examining board are entitled to inspect the thesis and reviews and to object, in writing, to the acceptance, to the rejection or the evaluation of the thesis. The grounds for objection are to be given. The doctoral regulations of the faculties can stipulate that the doctoral candidate is given the opportunity to inspect the reviews and to make a statement before they are made available. The statement is to be displayed with the other documents.
- If the assessors are in agreement to accept the thesis, it is thereby accepted unless an objection was raised. If the assessors are in agreement to reject the thesis, it is thereby rejected unless an objection was raised. If the reviews differ from each other regarding their recommendation of acceptance or rejection or revision of the thesis or if an objection to the acceptance or rejection was made in accordance with paragraph 7 and within the time period during which the documents are displayed, the competent body according to § 4 immediately assigns an additional assessor. The additional assessor is to submit his/her review within two months of his/her assignment. Taking into account the recommendation given by the additional assessor, the competent body according to § 4 decides as to whether the thesis is accepted or rejected. The doctoral regulations of the faculties may contain differing provisions.
- After the thesis has been formally accepted, the oral examination takes place. The doctoral regulations of the faculties regulate form and contents, duration, failure and repetition of the oral examination itself. The oral examination can either take the form of a thesis defence or the form of a colloquium.
- The oral examination is to take place eight weeks after acceptance of the thesis at the latest and is to be announced in good time. A longer time period is permitted only with the agreement of the doctoral candidate.
- The thesis defence primarily serves to present the most important results of the thesis in a lecture given by the doctoral candidate and in a subsequent academic discussion with the members of the examining board, during which the doctoral candidate has the opportunity to defend the results of his or her thesis. More details are to be found in the doctoral regulations of the faculties.
- An oral examination can also take the form of a colloquium in the discipline of the doctoral studies, which allows the doctoral candidate to evidence, face to face with the members of the examining board, his/her thorough independent engagement with major subjects of the discipline and his/her knowledge of the latest research. More details are to be found in the doctoral regulations of the faculties.
- Minutes are to be taken on the essential aspects and results of the oral examination.
- The oral examination is open to the whole university unless the doctoral candidate has objected. The public is excluded from the assessment discussions and announcement of the examination result.
- The examining board decides in a non-public session following the oral examination as to whether the oral examination has been successful and evaluates the oral examination in accordance with § 10, para. 6. If assessments differ, a decision is taken by voting. The chairman has the casting vote if no simple majority is achieved. The doctoral regulations of the faculties may contain differing provisions.
- On application, all failed oral examinations can once be repeated within 12 months, but not earlier than after 2 months. In case of a repeated failure, the attempt to obtain the doctoral degree is finally considered to have failed. The doctoral candidate receives corresponding notification from the competent body ? as provided for in § 4 - of the faculty.
- After successful defence of the thesis the examining board decides on the overall grade. The overall grade is based on the following evaluation scale:
- Exceptional academic achievement (= Überragende Arbeit, summa cum laude)
- Very good academic achievement ( = Sehr gute Arbeit, magna cum laude)
- Good academic achievement (= Gute Arbeit, cum laude)
- Adequate academic achievement (= Genügende Arbeit, rite).
- The overall grade is based on the grades of the thesis and the assessment by oral examination. In doing so, greater weight is placed on the thesis than on the oral examination; the doctoral regulations of the faculties can provide an explicit weighting.
- The doctoral regulations of the faculties can dispense with an overall grade, they can provide further regulations for assigning the overall grade ?summa cum laude? and half-grades.
- After the decision of the examining board, the dean issues a preliminary certificate concerning the passing of the examination for the doctoral candidate. This certificate includes the title and the evaluation of the thesis, the assessment of the oral examination as well as the overall grade.
- In issuing the doctoral certificate, the dean confers the doctorate. This doctoral certificate includes, along with the nature of the degree conferred, the title of the thesis, the evaluations of the thesis and the oral examination as well as the overall grade. The date of the oral examination is given as the date of the doctorate.
- The doctoral certificate is only issued if the publication of the thesis is assured according to § 14 or if the publication agreement with a publisher is submitted.
The doctoral candidate is obliged to ensure access to his/her thesis for the academic public in an appropriate way through reproduction and propagation. This obligation is considered to be part of the academic achievement. More details are to be found in the doctoral regulations of the faculties.
- After having heard the doctoral candidate, the competent body according to § 4 can declare void the achievements during the doctoral examination procedure if it is established before the conferral of the doctorate that the doctoral candidate has committed academic fraud in the course of his/her studies or examinations or that essential requirements of the doctoral examination procedure have been misrepresented.
- The doctoral degree can be withdrawn if
- it is found out subsequently that it was obtained through academic fraud in the course of the doctoral studies or examinations or through fraudulent misrepresentation of essential requirements for the doctoral examination procedure;
- the person holding the doctoral degree has been convicted of a deliberate criminal act misusing his/her doctoral degree when preparing or committing this criminal act.
- If requirements for admission to the doctoral examination procedure were not met without the doctoral candidate's clear intention to deceive and if this fact emerges only after issuing the certificate, this impediment is lifted by virtue of having passed the doctoral examination.
- The faculty conference decides on the withdrawal when the dean has given the right of hearing to the person concerned.
The doctoral candidate is entitled to inspect the documents relating to the doctoral examination after completion of the doctoral examination procedure.
- The candidate can object to unfavourable notifications which are issued on the basis of these regulations in writing within one month at the competent body according to § 4. The competent body according to § 4 para. 5, 6 decides on the objection, if need be, after hearing the examining board.
- The objection and the protest procedure are to be based on the provisions stipulated in the Rules of the Administrative Courts (= Verwaltungsgerichtsordnung).
- The University of Bielefeld can ? through the faculties mentioned in § 1, para. 1 ? award the degree of an honorary doctor in accordance with § 1, para. 2, as recognition of exceptional academic achievements or other exceptional merits in their disciplines.
- The doctoral regulations of the faculties can provide provisions for the formal application for an honorary doctorate and for the appraisal of the achievements of the person to be honoured.
- Taking into account the submitted statements, the faculty conference decides on the application for conferral of the honorary doctorate submitted by at least two faculty members with a doctoral degree; the decision has to be taken with three quarters of votes of those members who have a doctoral degree and voting power.
- The dean confers the honorary doctorate by issuing a certificate signed by the dean, which recognizes the academic achievements of the honoured person. The doctoral regulations of the faculties may contain differing provisions.
- The conduct of collective doctoral examination procedures with another university entitled to confer doctorates is based on a bilateral agreement between the University of Bielefeld and the university concerned.
- Agreements on collective doctoral examination procedures between the University of Bielefeld and other universities entitled to confer doctorates can differ from §§ 1 ? 17.
- More details are to be found in the doctoral regulations of the faculties.
- These regulations come into effect on the day after their publication in the official gazette of the University of Bielefeld (= Verkündungsblatt, Amtliche Bekanntmachungen).
- The faculties are obliged to adapt their doctoral regulations to the provisions stipulated in the general doctoral regulations within a year at the latest after coming into force. The regulations apply immediately thereafter.
- Doctoral candidates who have applied for admission or acceptance as a doctoral candidate before the adaptation in accordance with paragraph 2 continue the doctoral examination procedure according to the previously applying regulations.
Issued subsequent to the resolutions taken by the Senate of the University of Bielefeld on 2nd June 2010
Bielefeld, 15th June 2010