Your Doctoral stu­dies

During your doctoral research phase certain formal procedures need to be taken into consideration. On this site we provide all useful information on relevant topcis:


The order of events for your doctoral degree

  1. 1.Writing your thesis

    • I need to follow the rules of good academic practice.
    • I have found out about how to deal with research data.

    Detailed information about the rules of good academic practice and dealing with research data.

    The Research Data Management team regularly offers courses and a self-study unit on the handling and storage of research data. Please inform yourself about the events directly on the linked websites or contact the Research Data Management team.

  2. 2.Annual consultations

    • I need to meet my supervisor at the times agreed upon in the supervision agenda in order to discuss the status of my work and my ongoing plans.
    • I need to find out about financing and scholarships.
  3. 3.Further qualifications

  4. 4.Extending the deadline

    Extension opportunities for handing in your thesis

    Your acceptance as a doctoral candidate is restricted to a period of five years. If requested, the deadline can be extended for a maximum period of two years. To do this, you must:

    1. complete an application to extend your period of acceptance,
    2. outline a rough timetable for this and
    3. discuss matters with your supervisor and have the application signed by him or her.


    The application must be handed in to the PhD office at the latest three months before your period of acceptance expires.



    The Doctoral Office will then pass on the signed application to the doctoral examination committee in the relevant faculty. As soon as the results are available, they will be communicated to the doctoral candidate in the form of official notification.

  5. 5.Preparing to submit your work

    • Before handing in my thesis, I need to make sure that the format and the visual appearance of my thesis meet the specifications.
    • I check whether I have complied with the rules of good scientific practice and the handling of research data.
    • I need to attach the signed declaration that my work has been prepared in a manner consistent with the principles of good academic practice to each copy of my thesis.
    • In the case of a cumulative dissertation, I also enclose a declaration of my own contribution to scientific publications published or intended for publication within the scope of my dissertation. A template for the declaration can be found in the Special Provisions for Doctorates of the department in which acceptance as a doctoral candidate has been applied for.
    • I need to ensure that all the necessary details are noted on the title page.
    • I need to talk to my supervisor about possible formatting rules (see below).
    • I need to talk to my supervisor about the management of my research data.
    • I need to talk to my supervisor about possible examiners for my thesis.
    • I use the Disputation Calculator as tool as time planning aid.



    Additional information on submitting your dissertation

    The dissertation must be submitted in a firm booklet/glue binding. Ring bindings are not permitted. As far as the quality of the binding is concerned, it is up to you whether you choose a book binding or a paperback version (solid paper, transparent film, etc.) for your work.

    There are no specifications regarding font size, line spacing, page margins or similar.  A dissertation can be submitted printed on one or both sides. Please discuss these issues with your supervisor to ensure that you meet their expectations regarding how a thesis should be laid out in a readable manner and that space for correction notes, etc. is provided in a sensible manner.

    Scope with research data

    The dissertation must contain documentation on the material evaluated. This documentation must comply with the relevant scientific working principles and professional standards. In case of doubt, please discuss with your supervisor how primary data should be selected, prepared and presented in order to be able to present and substantiate your research results in accordance with good scientific practice.

    You can either staple the documentation into the dissertation or, alternatively, create a separate volume as an appendix to the dissertation. The latter alternative is particularly useful if the dissertation together with the above-mentioned documentation is very extensive and combining it in one volume would be unwieldy.

    Please also note the research data guidelines with information on collecting and storage of research data at the University of Kassel.

  6. 6.Main procedure

    The application to initiate the main procedure

    Once you have discussed matters with your supervisor and know that you can submit your thesis, you must apply to initiate the main procedure. Please proceed as follows:

    • I need to fill in the application to initiate the main procedure.
    • I need to hand in the application to the Doctoral Office together with the following documents:
      • 6 bound copies of my thesis (7 copies normally need to be submitted for a cumulative thesis)
      • an electronic version of my thesis (CD-ROM; DVD, USB stick), either saved as a PDF or docx file for each dissertation copy
      • a signed declaration that my work has been prepared in a manner consistent with the principles of good academic practice to each copy of my dissertation
      • a declaration of my own contribution to scientific publications published or intended for publication within the scope of my cumulative dissertation. A template for the declaration can be found in the Special Provisions for Doctorates of the department in which acceptance as a doctoral candidate has been applied for
      • any additional electronic or audio-visual documents must be attached to each copy of the thesis on a separate portable storage medium
      • a simple copy of the title page of the thesis (Please check the sample sheet for your title page)
      • if acceptance as a doctoral candidate was linked to certain conditions: evidence that the conditions have been successfully met
      • if the members of the doctoral committee have already been determined: Form for the composition of the doctoral committee (only available in German language) as Word or PDF format.

    As soon as all your documents have arrived at the Doctoral Office, the main doctoral procedure will be initiated. This normally takes several months. First of all,

    1. the Doctoral Office will communicate with the examiners who have been confirmed by the doctoral examination board;
    2. each examiner will receive a copy of the thesis. The relevant examiners’ reports are normally sent to the Doctoral Office within 10 weeks;
    3. the Doctoral Office will inform you about the results of the examiners’ reports. The copies of the reviews are provided to you for confidential and exclusive use within the doctoral procedure. Use outside the doctoral procedure is not permitted;
    4. if all the examiners’ reports recommend acceptance of the thesis, this needs to be put on display for at least 14 days together with the examiners’ reports at the dean’s office in the faculty where the doctorate is being gained;
    5. once the display period has expired, the doctoral examination board will decide whether the thesis has been accepted or not. You will receive written notification of this;
    6. once the dissertation is accepted by the doctoral examination board, the disputation can be scheduled.


    The Disputation Calculator can help you plan the next steps of your doctorate starting with the initiation of the main doctoral procedure.

  7. 7.The disputation / oral defence

    • As soon as I have received notification that my thesis has been accepted from the Doctoral Office, I need to contact my supervisor or the responsible dean’s office in order to organise a date for my disputation / oral defence and discuss matters of room reservation and invitation.
    • Together with my supervisor I discuss whether the disputation / oral defence takes place on site, digitally or in a hybrid format.
    • I need to find out whether I need any legalisation or an apostille for my doctoral degree certificate in order to start work abroad or when I return to my home country.  

    The dispuation should last 90 minutes and no longer than two hours. The thesis must be defended in front of the doctoral examination committee. This will also focus on selected problems in the topic and related subjects in other fields as well as the current state of research in these fields.

    The disputation is open to the public, i.e. employees, students, doctoral candidates, etc. of the University of Kassel may attend your disputation as an audience. Only the members of the doctoral committee have the right to speak. However, the chairperson has the option of granting other persons the right to speak.

    Please note that the 'Dr' title may be used only on receipt of the certificate. Before this it is not permitted to use the title before the name. In job applications, on websites, notepaper, signatures etc. the title may not be used before the name in the period between the oral examination and receipt of the degree certificate. The General Provisions for Doctoral Studies at the University of Kassel does not recognize the title 'Dr. des(ignatus)'.

  8. 8.Publication

    Before the doctoral degree certificate can be handed out to you, your doctoral thesis must be made available to the academic community. Publication must take place within two years of your disputation / oral defence. To do so, the following steps are necessary:

    Approval for printing 

    • I need to submit a summary of my thesis in German and one in English to my supervisor. Neither version may be longer than one page. 
    • I need to ask my supervisor to send the official approval for printing and the summaries to the Doctoral Office via the dean’s office / rector’s office.The print release contains the consent of the department in which the doctorate was awarded that the dissertation may be published in the form submitted. This also applies if no conditions were imposed on publication or only minor spelling corrections or similar were made.
    • If the published version shows significant deviations from the dissertation as it was submitted to the reviewers and the doctoral committee for examination, I am obliged to list these significant deviations in detail. In cases of doubt, I discuss with my supervisor whether and in what form this listing should take place. The list must be submitted to the Dean's Office before the latter can grant permission to print.
    • I checked the criteria for creating the title page of my dissertation.

    There are several options for publication. Information on the types of publication and what to look out for can be found here.

    Special rules for a cumulative thesis

    If you are submitting a cumulative thesis, you must follow the rules with regard to publication that are mentioned in the special regulations for doctorates at the University of Kassel in the relevant faculty.

  9. 9.PhD certificate and alumni network

    As soon as the Doctoral office has received evidence of publication, the doctoral certificate can be issued.

    Please note: You may not use your doctorate until you have received your certificate. This is not permissible during the time between your disputation and receiving your doctoral certificate.