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Doctoral studies


1 As required by § 21 (1), the new regulation of doctoral studies from 2024 applies to all doctoral students who apply for opening after 17 January 2024.


Doctoral program in Mathematics (Promotionsstudiengang)

The Faculty of Mathematics offers a doctoral program in Mathematics (Promotionsstudiengang). In order to complete the program, doctoral students are required to gain 30 credit points in the following four categories:

  • Subject-specific qualification
  • Interdisciplinary qualification
  • Transferable skills
  • Presentation

A detailed description can be found on the website of the BGTS.

Doctoral students can choose from a number of lectures and seminars at Bielefeld University (see ekVV). Moreover, they can gain credit points for teaching tutorials, giving talks, for the participation in soft skill workshops and conferences, and for the organization of scientific events.

Doctoral students in the program commit themselves to a quality control measure after one year of the doctoral studies. The doctoral students and their supervisors agree on the form of this quality control (e.g., a talk in a seminar, an examination, a publication) which is fixed in the supervision agreement.


As soon as a doctoral student has found a supervisor and a topic has been fixed, the student and the supervisor conclude a supervison agreement (or supervision agreement for students enrolled in the doctoral program).


In general, the enrolment as doctoral student is possible at any time (in contrast to other degree programs). However, it is recommended to enrol as soon as possible at the beginning of the doctoral studies.

  • The supervision agreement and the application of acceptance as doctoral student (see documents above) need to to be submitted to the examination office of the faculty.
  • After having been accepted as doctoral student by the faculty, the student is required to enrol at the Student Office (Studierendensekretariat) by submitting a confirmation about the acceptance. Detailed information can be found on the website of the Student Office.

Opening of the doctoral examination procedure

After completion of the doctoral thesis, doctoral students apply for the opening of the doctoral examination procedure (see document above).

  • In order to apply for the opening of the doctoral examination procedure, doctoral students have to submit their doctoral thesis (five copies plus digital copy) together with several other documents to the examination office.
  • If it is a publication-based monograph in accordance with Section 10 (2) of the Doctoral Degree Regulations, the doctoral candidate's share of co-authorship must be clearly labelled and a declaration in lieu of an oath regarding their own contribution must be submitted. A sample is available from the examination office.
  • Following the decision to initiate the procedure, the doctoral committee appoints the examination board (usually in consultation with the supervisor).
  • The examination committee usually consists of two assessors2 and at least two further examiners for the oral examination.

2 Exception: In order to award the grade "summa cum laude", at least three reports are required. At least one of these reports needs to be authored by a referee who is not a member of Bielefeld University. In addition, all reports need to consistently grade the doctoral thesis with "summa cum laude".


Reports and defense

After all reports have been submitted, there is a public inspection period of two weeks. After this period, the reports will be made available to the doctoral student for acknowledgement and to provide a statement if desired. The statement will be available for another two weeks of public inspection.

  • If no objections have been made within the two weeks period and if all referees recommend to accept the doctoral thesis, the doctoral student may waive to make a statement and the defense may take place immediately.
  • The defense takes place in form of a colloquium (60 minutes in total). Usually, it consists of a presentation of the most important results of the doctoral thesis (20 minutes talk) and an ensuing scientific discussion.
  • After a successful defense, the examination committee fixes the overall grade. This is the result of the grade of the doctoral thesis and the grade of the defense.

Publishing the thesis and doctoral degree certificate

  • The doctoral student is obligated to make the doctoral thesis available to the scientific public. One way to do this is to provide copies and a digital version of the doctoral thesis to the university library.

  • After the thesis has been published, the doctoral student receives a doctoral degree certificate and a doctoral examination certificate. The degree certificate confirms the doctoral degree. The examination certificate includes the title of the doctoral thesis, the grade of the thesis, the grade of the defense and the overall grade.


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