10. General Doctoral Studies Process


10. General Doctoral Studies Process

10.1. What happens after I submit the application to be admitted to doctoral studies?

After completing your disseration and speaking with your supervisor, you submit an application for admission to doctoral studies addressed to the chair of the doctoral committee of the RWTH Faculty of Medicine. You submit this application and all the necessary documents to your respective doctoral delegate.

An info sheet about admission to doctoral studies provides you with information about how to format the application and the necessary documents to include.

The doctoral delegate reviews your documents and, if they are complete, forwards them to the Doctoral Office. Once your complete application has been received by the Dean's Office, your doctoral studies process will officially begin. You will receive a written notificaton that it has begun, in which both your reviewers and the chair are named. 

In addition to checking the formalities, the submitted dissertation is roughly examined for its scientific character and required duration in accordance with the “New Recommendations for the Evaluation of Dissertations". If the scientific nature or the required duration is questionable, the MD/PhD committee usually appoints a promotion committee that is independent of the supervisor; the names of the reviewers are not communicated.

Otherwise, your two proposed reviewers will also be sent a letter asking them to submit a graded review in the next two months.

Once the readers have submitted the required evaluations to the Dean's Office, your dissertation must be on display for two weeks during the lecture period or four weeks during the lecture-free period at the faculty. Due to the large number of doctoral candidates, the faculty collects all dissertations and organizes their display once a week.

10.2. When does the defense take place and what do I need to know?

After your dissertation has been on display, the coordinator for the oral defense dates will receive a written notification and arrange a defense date with you and the members of the Doctoral Studies Commission. If you submitted your application before you completed your degree, this will happen once the Doctoral Office has the certificate confirming you completed your studies and your certificate of good conduct, type O.

The exam coordinator is responsible for setting a date and inviting guests. The Doctoral Office does not need to be informed of the date.

If you have questions about the defense, please contact your supervisor.

You will be informed of the schedule date at least five days in advance. The examination documents are sent to the chair of the Doctoral Studies Commission. At the defense you must sign a statement declaring you were notified of the date within the appropriate deadline. For online examinations, a copy of the doctoral candidate's signature on the document "Invitation to the oral examination (Ladung zur mündlichen Prüfung )" is sufficient.

10.3. When and how do I submit the deposit copies?

Your dissertation must be published no later than one year after your defense. The info sheets provide informatin about how to publish your dissertation. Please also pay attention to the question "What do I need to know about submitting the deposit copies?" and the fact that you must change the cover page (see Muster 9). You must must submit a certain number of deposit copies to the University Library and doctoral delegate.

In addition to the deposit copies, you must also submit the receipt from the Univeristy Library to the doctoral delegate (Exception: You mailed your deposit copies to the University Library.) and an envelope, in which we can send you your doctoral certificate You must provide us with a self-addressed DIN B4 envelope, in which we can send you the diploma. 

You can also pick up the diploma in person from the Doctoral Office.

10.4. How do I get my diploma?

If the published copies submitted to the Dean's Office and University Library fulfill the the Faculty of Medicine's requirements, your diploma will be issued. It takes about eight weeks for the diploma to be issued. The doctoral studies process ends with your receipt of the diploma. At this point you can use the title of doctor.

Recently, doctoral diplomas have gone missing in the mail. Because we can only issue a copy should the original diploma be lost, we strongly recommend picking up your doctoral diploma in person from the Doctoral Studies Office or having someone pick it up for you.

If you choose to have your diploma mailed to you, you must provide us with a self-addressed DIN B4 envelope, in which we can send you the diploma. The envelope should not be stamped.

10.5. When can I begin to use the doctor title?

You may only use the title of doctor once you have received your diploma. You cannot already begin to use it once you have passed your defense or submitted your deposit copies.

If you use the doctor title early, you can be charged with up to a year of prison or fined – see Section 132a of the Criminal Code: Misuse of Titles, Professional Designations, and Insignia.