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PhD Thesis Submission / Abgabe der Dissertation

COVID 19:  The PhD Office is currently not open for personal visits, please contact us via email.

Information on the COVID pandemic - please read the following information from Professor Lanzer:

  • Extension of your PhD period: Due to COVID19 your doctoral period will be extended by six months without special application.

Dear doctoral candidates,

Many of you are worried about how the current corona crisis will affect your PhD. On the specific situation in your hosting lab, please consult with your PhD supervisor or institutional head.

The administrative processes of the PhD office will be changed to email processing. Please get in touch with the PhD office by email.

The PhD procedures, including time schedules and deadlines for review submission and public display of the thesis, will stay in place.

You will no longer be able to come to the office in person for inquires or to fetch or deliver documents. All inquiries have to be made by email and all documents have to be deposited in the mailbox outside of building INF 234, where the PhD office is housed. Similarly, we will email relevant documents to you. So make sure that we have your correct emailing address.

The PhD office will be occupied, but might also be partly working from home.

Be assured we will do whatever we can to keep the PhD procedures up and running.

Best regards,

Prof. Michael Lanzer



  • Can the defense be via video conference?  

YES: (via heiCONF or  Webex or other secure platforms).

Video conferencing is possible, if the doctoral candidate and at least one examiner are personally present in one room. The hygiene guidelines require the ventilation of the room and a minimal person-to-person distance of at least 2 meters.

Video conference is not possible with an electronically connected doctoral candidate. The doctoral candidate must attend the examination in person.

  • Can the deadlines and processing times be shortened?

NO: Plan at least 8 weeks from the time of thesis submission to the date of the doctoral defense examination. Please see below "time restrictions".

  • My home institution is closed, where should I defend?

The University Institutions are still open for examinations. To find a suitable seminar room please contact the chair of your defense committee.

  • Is it possible to submit an electronic version of my thesis (PDF, USB..)?

NO: You should submit two printed and bound copies of your thesis to the PhD office (Plase deposit them with all required documents in the blue mailbox of the Deaneries outside of building INF 234).

  • Are electronic signatures allowed on the "Zusatzblatt zur Prüfungskommission"?

YES, both your supervisors / referees may sign this form electronically.


General Information about Thesis Submission

Writing the Thesis

  •  A doctoral degree is awarded to candidates who have demonstrated the ability to undertake independent scientific research. The dissertation (thesis) must be of an adequate scientific standard, be a product of the candidate’s own research and contribute new knowledge. (Doctoral Degree Regulations §1 (2) and §7 (1).) Accordingly, the dissertation counts as a single-author publication, in which independent contributions to science must be written in the first-person singular form.
  • Cumulative dissertations are not allowed due to possible risks of plagiarism and due to ambiguous assignments of experiments and results (Doctoral Degree Regulations, Anlage 2 Biowissenschaften zu § 7 (2)). Therefore the thesis must be written mandatorily in the first person singular form ( "I found out", "I concluded", "I saw" ..), see the Official Statement Concerning Plagiarism, §5.
  • The thesis can be written either in German or English. Duplex printing should be preferred.
  • The first two pages of your thesis should look like this: English version or German version.
  • Carefully consider issues relating to plagiarism; find more on the Official Statement Concerning Plagiarism, and see the Graduate Academy’s course program for courses in "Good Scientific Practice" (GSP).

Time Restrictions

  • Please make sure that you submit your thesis with the required documents to the PhD Office not later than 8 weeks before your oral examination, together with the confirmed date of your defense. When the PhD Office is closed (closure times here), you have to add these periods to the 8 week advance submission requirement; however you can schedule your defense examination during these times.
  • Calculation: Defense in calendar week "X" --> thesis submission in calendar week "X" - 8. Closure time of the PhD office: If the PhD office is closed in this period for e.g. 2 weeks, the submission has to take place 2 weeks earlier ( e.g.: "X" - 10).

Submitting the Thesis

  • Fill in and sign the form "Application Defense".
  • Please note the change in terminology for supervisors / reviewers /referees: Your former "Erstgutachter" / "first supervisor" is now called "Fakultätsgutachter" / "Faculty supervisor" (FGA) and your former "Zweitgutachter" / "second supervisor" is now called "Gutachter" / "supervisor" (GGA).
  • In addition to your registered referees / reviewers (Faculty supervisor / Fakultätsgutachter and supervisor / Gutachter) find a third and fourth examiner from the List of Examiners. Let both your referees / reviewers sign the Zusatzblatt zur Prüfungskommission (Examination Commission Form).  Please note as well that only examiners mentioned on the list as 'Vorsitz' can be chairperson of your examination committee. Arrange a date for the thesis defense in accordance with the Faculty's regulations (see "Time Restrictions").
  • Carefully read How to Defense (PDF) to see which documents you have to submit to the PhD Office. Use the checklist at the end, to make sure you have all the required documents.
  • data/Promotion/covid19_2.pdf : Please send the required information together with the email one day before submission.
  • Provide your referees and examiners with a copy of your thesis.
  • When you have registered for the defense of your thesis, you will receive a confirmation letter in German. Our international PhD students may find the English translation of this letter here: English translation. This translation is for information purposes only.

Defending the Thesis

  • Normally, the format of the defense consists of 15 - 20 minutes presentation, about 20 minutes thesis related questions and  approx. 20 minutes discussion and general questioning. You can choose the media for your presentation. If you do a computer presentation (PowerPoint or presentation programs), you have to take care of the technical aspects such as availability of a beamer, compatibility of programs etc.. Remember that technical equipment tends to break down in the least expected moment.
  • You should present your own work - do not give a review of the field. You should use your own figures from your thesis, scans from books or papers are not allowed, and the use of material from the Internet is equally discouraged.

After Defending

  • After having successfully defended your thesis, you must publish your thesis (§13) in order to conclude the PhD process. If you don't publish within two years of your exam, you will forfeit your PhD degree altogether.
  • Fill in, sign and let your Faculty supervisor (if differing, also your direct supervisor) sign the Veröffentlichungsnachweis (Proof of Publication Form). You need to pick up the "Original" issue of your thesis at the PhD Office, submit it to the library and get the "Veröffentlichungsnachweis" signed and stamped there. Finally you return the "Veröffentlichungsnachweis" to the PhD Office.
  • You may publish your thesis either in printed form, or online through the university's library document service  and (information about online publishing provided by heiDOK ), or by first-author publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
  • An application for an embargo on publication can be directed to the library. This is possible when the dissertation is connected to a patent application or a journal publication. More details and the relevant forms can be found on the page FAQ. If you apply for an embargo, you must upload the electronic version of your dissertation onto the heiDOK repository and you must follow the instructions under FAQ.
  • Information about opting in/out from the PhD Celebration is here.

Forms and Information for PhD Thesis and Defense Examination and Publication

Note and Check:

Only complete documents for thesis submission will be considered.

During Corona crisis thesis submission is only possible via the blue mailbox outside of building INF 234.

Address of the PhD Office, walk-in opening hours and closure times: click here.