Information for doctoral students
The Graduate Center is open to all junior researchers at the University of Passau (doctoral candidates, postdoctoral candidates, habilitation candidates, junior professors, and tenure-track professors) and to anyone interested in pursuing a doctorate or habilitation at the University of Passau.
On the following pages you will find the most important information about doing your doctorate at the University of Passau.
The path to and through science can be very different depending on the subject! Please clarify any peculiarities with your designated supervisor.
Basically, however, the following phases can be roughly distinguished, each of which entails specific tasks
- Orientation(duration 1-6 months) : Here you explore possibilities, variants, dissertation topics, support and framework conditions (such as financing).
- Getting started(duration 1-12 months) : During this phase you get acquainted with your area of research and possibly prepare an exposé (if required - this varies greatly from subject to subject).
- Research (duration 30-50 months): This is the central phase in which you work on your topic.
- Finalisation (duration 3-15 months): In this phase, at the latest, you will complete your manuscript, go to the oral exam, and prepare for publication.
Generally, the process of doing a doctorate takes about three to six years, depending on the subject area.
Acceptance as a doctoral student requires a relevant degree. The following information on final grades can serve as a first orientation:
|Faculty||Grade of Bachelor's degree||Grade of Master's degree|
|Faculty of Humanities||1,3 (German GPA) or first class honours (||2,5 (German GPA) or second class upper division|
|Faculty of Economics||not possible||2,3 (German GPA) or second class upper division|
|Faculty of Computer Science and Mathematic||not possible||2,5 (German GPA) or second class upper division|
|Faculty of Law||4 years' law degree or a law degree which is considered as equivalent to the German first legal State Examination with the final grade of "Vollbefriedigend" (Full Satisfactory)|
If you are unsure whether your degree will be recognised in Germany, check the information portal for foreign educational qualifications (Anabin). This database provides information on the evaluation of foreign educational qualifications and supports authorities, employers and private individuals in their effort to establish whether a foreign qualification is recognised in the German system of education.
The University of Passau doesn't offer a structured doctoral program so far. Therefore, only individual doctoral studies can be pursued at the University of Passau, where the topic, the search for a supervisor, the time schedule as well as the financing have to be organized independently. However, international and cooperative doctoral programs are available (see below).
Particularly in the case of individual doctoratal studies, consideration should be given to how this should take place. On the one hand, there is the possibility of doing the doctorate through close integration with a chair or professorship - e. g. as part of an employee or project position and thus internally. On the other hand, the doctorate can also take place in a company, from home without further involvement with the university in other organizations - and thus externally. Dissertations can therefore also be written in companies in the private sector, for example - as long as they are also supervised by supervisors at a German university who are authorized to award doctorates.
Who is considered to be a supervisor entitled to award a doctorate is regulated by the doctoral regulations.
How do I find a supervisor?
When looking for a doctoral supervisor, it is advisable to find out first and foremost what expectations you yourself have of the person providing supervision. Once you are clear about this, you can begin your search. Please keep in mind that your designated supervisor is also a human being and also has expectations and interests....
Possible ways to find a supervisor could include:
- asking the thesis supervisor for feedback
- checking the institution you are working at for suitable people
- getting in touch with the person who represents your topic at the university
- contacting the person whose lectures and seminars you have always enjoyed
- exchanging ideas with the person whose research areas appeal to you
- getting in touch with the person whose representation you liked
- contacting the person whose research appeals to you
- in case you are applying for a structured program, tell the participitating professor who would best suit you about your plans
- tell the academic luminary in the field that interests you about your plans
When you have found a supervisor who seems to meet your expectations, try to get to know him or her better. To do this, attend his or her events and visit his or her office hours. The supervisor must also be enthusiastic about your topic and convinced by you. In the end, it is important that you get along well with the supervisor, as you will be working very closely together in the future.
You may want to check in advance whether a person is allowed to supervise you. You can also find more details about this in the doctoral regulations.
The so-called bi-national or international doctorate involves the participation of supervisors and/or reviewers from a foreign educational institution. In the bi-national doctoral procedure you acquire a doctoral degree jointly awarded by two educational institutions in different countries on the basis of a single scientific achievement (i.e. not: two different doctoral degrees).
This form of doctoral studies may be interesting for you if
- you would like to ensure your scientific affiliation in both participating countries, because you are aiming at an international orientation of your future career,
- your research focus (and that of your supervisors) is strongly connected to the other country
- the doctoral topic is in the research interest of both institutions.
- For this purpose, an individual agreement between the participating institutions (doctoral regulations) is usually necessary or useful, as it regulates important details and responsibilities.
The concrete design of a cotutelle procedure can vary. Your faculty may already have programs, regular cooperation or good contacts. It is best to contact your supervisor or the dean's office of your faculty. Please also inform yourself about specific requirements in your doctoral regulations.
Please note that this form of doctoral studies places additional demands on your time and self-management as well as on your funding (travel for longer research stays abroad). Whether you can apply for the Graduate Center's travel funding for planned travel depends on the individual case.
Bi-national PhD at the Faculty of Humanities
In the winter semester of 2014, a cooperation agreement was signed between the Andrássy University of Budapest and its Interdisciplinary Doctoral School and the University of Passau and its Faculty of Philosophy for the implementation of binational doctorates (Cotutelle de thèse). This gives doctoral students the opportunity to do their doctorate under the supervision of professors from both universities and, upon completion of the doctorate, to obtain a doctoral degree that is awarded jointly by both universities. The dissertation can be completed in the area of Political Science, History, Economics, and Law.
For more information, please contact the Dean's Office of the Faculty of Humanities and visit the website of Andrássy University. Since one the criteria for admission to the PhD programm is a German proficiency equivalent to B2-Level, the information is only available in German and Hungarian.
In 2016, the Faculty of Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Passau, together with INSA Lyon (France) and the Università degli Studi di Milano (Italy), founded the international research center in intelligent digital systems "IRIXIYS". Within this framework, there is an international doctoral program with the possibility of a cotutelle doctorate.
Various forms of cooperation are conceivable within the framework of your doctorate:
- Cooperation with universities in Germany
- Cooperation with universities abroad (cotutelle)
- Cooperation with universities of applied sciences
- Cooperation with research institutions
- Cooperation with industry and other institutions
Please note the following information if you would like to do your doctorate cooperatively:
- Before beginning your doctoral studies, please clarify with the cooperating institution whether you will be able to comply with the regulations of the doctoral regulations regarding publishing (publications prior to submission of the thesis and publication of the finished dissertation).
- Please contact your supervisor in advance and then, in consultation with him or her, the dean's office and/or the doctoral committee of your faculty.
- In general, please clarify how confidential and protected the data are that you collect/develop in the course of the cooperation with external parties and how the results may be published.
- The copyright and the resulting exploitation and usage rights are yours alone as the author. But: You can contractually grant usage rights to other persons/institutions. Please make sure that you do not 'accidentally' assign your rights (e.g. by signing an agreement for a blocking period with a view to publication).
The "Verbundpromotion" model initiated by the Bavarian Science Forum (BayWISS) creates supportive doctoral conditions for its collegiate students and facilitates cooperative doctoral studies at universities and universities of applied sciences (HAWs).
The University of Passau is the host university of the Verbundkolleg Communication/Media and is involved in four other Verbundkollegs as a collegiate univer
- Digital Journalism
- Crossborder Journalism
- Immersive Journalism
- Business journalism
- Crisis Communication
- Media Convergence
- Propaganda Research
- Corporate Communications
- Media Management
The contact persons at the University of Passau are Prof. Dr. Oliver Hahn and the coordinator of the Verbundskolleg Mandy Fox.
- Financial management, financial markets
- Value chain management (e.g. organization, production, logistics)
- Industrial and innovation economics
- Human resources, labor markets
- Marketing and new media
- Business and organizational psychology
- Innovation management and technology management
- Economic aspects of digitalization and digital economy
- Management of IT infrastructure
- International economic relations
- Environmental economics
- Real estate markets
The contact person for the Verbundkolleg at the University of Passau is Prof. Dr. Dirk Totzek.
- Societies of the 21st Century - Globalization and Social Change
- Care and Capability
- The changing world of work
- Social work in the 21st century
- Inclusion and exclusion
- Generational relations in change
- Migration, flight and integration
- Cultural diversity and transculturality
- Structures of social inequality
- Political extremism
- Digitalization and social change
- Social Entrepreneurships, Social Businesses, Social Enterprises (SE) and Hybrid Organizations
The contact person for the Verbundkolleg at the University of Passau is Prof. Dr. Norbert Seibert.
- Environment and biodiversity
- Climate change
- Sustainable agriculture/land use
- Management of natural resources
- Food security
- Agricultural and biotechnology/ process technology/ bioengineering
The contact person for the Verbundkolleg at the University of Passau is Prof. Dr. Christine Schmitt.
- Big Data/Data Analytics
- Digitization in industrial production and services
- Intelligent networks
- Information technology in health care and health research
- Robotics and telematics
- Security of hardware, software and data
- Economic and societal aspects of information systems in the context of application
The contact persons for the Verbundkolleg at the University of Passau are Prof. Dr. Tomas Sauer and Prof. Dr. Elif Bilge Kavun.
In the departments of Economics and Political Theory, the University of Passau is involved in two Bavarian doctoral programs. Doctoral students in these departments can participate in research workshops and conferences within the doctoral programs, among other things, as well as take advantage of networking opportunities beyond the university.
In order to professionalize further academic qualification, the Bavarian Center for Political Theory has initiated the Bavarian Doctoral College Political Theory. It offers an institutional framework for doctoral studies. To this end, it provides a demanding professional education that is excellent by international standards and guarantees intensive academic supervision. As an exchange platform, it offers the opportunity for networking among young academics.
The Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE) is a doctoral program for excellent doctoral students in economics at participating Bavarian universities. It is based on the collaboration of researchers from Bavarian universities and other renowned centers of economic research in Bavaria. The program offers courses, workshops and advice to the best researchers in the field.
The contact person at the University of Passau is Prof. Dr. Stefan Bauernschuster.
An important component of the promotion of young scientists is the supervision during the doctorate and beyond. The planning and execution of the doctoral project should be organized independently through structured cooperation between supervisors and doctoral candidates in such a way that the doctorate can be completed with high quality within a reasonable period of time.
The supervision agreement serves to make transparent how the supervision relationship between the supervisor and the doctoral student will be structured in terms of content, organization and time. However, it is not a contract between you and your supervisor!
Within the framework of the supervision agreement, the following aspects should be addressed and fixed in writing:
- Topic and exposé
- Consultation and supervision meetings (rhythm)
- Publications and presentations (also joint)
- Further measures, schedule and working time
- Tasks and duties (also teaching?)
- Good scientific practice and compatibility of qualification and family
- Integration into the network of the supervisor
- Conflict settlement
The conclusion of a supervision agreement is also a prerequisite for acceptance as a doctoral candidate according to § 6 (3) of the General Doctoral Regulations of the University of Passau.
Although you can undertake your doctoral research and dissertation writing regardless of when you apply for acceptance as a doctoral student at your faculty, we still recommend that you seek admission as early as possible. Eligibility for certain university and other funding programs is contingent upon proof of an active doctoral degree, which is provided by faculty acceptance letters.
To find out whether enrollment in a so-called doctoral program is a prerequisite for taking up a doctorate at your faculty, please refer to the respective doctoral regulations that apply to you. If you have any questions regarding your doctoral regulations, please contact the dean's office of your faculty.
Advantages of enrollment
Under certain circumstances, the doctoral regulations applicable to you do not provide for mandatory enrollment. However, it may still be advantageous for you to enroll for the purpose of earning your doctorate. The following benefits are associated with enrollment:
- Free use of the public transport system of the Stadtwerke Passau (semester ticket)
- Use of the refectory and cafeterias at the student rate
- Discounts at cultural institutions, travel, etc.
- Library access
- Access to protected IT resources and services from outside via OpenVPN or eduroam
Please note: Due to enrollment, doctoral students also have to pay a semester fee.
As a doctoral student, you are not bound by any enrollment deadlines and can therefore apply for enrollment at any time.
Enrollment for the purpose of doctoral studies is possible for a period of six semesters. You will therefore be automatically exmatriculated at the end of six semesters, unless you can justify that an extension of your enrollment is necessary for important factual reasons. For this purpose, please send an informal letter to the Registrar's Office, signed by you and your supervisor.
Should you be exmatriculated before you have completed your doctoral studies, you need not fear any disadvantages for your doctoral studies. You can terminate your doctoral procedure regardless of your student status.
Please note that you can only enroll if your faculty has already accepted you as a doctoral student!
Enrolment procedure for students who are already immatriculated at the University of Passau
Apply for a change of study program with the target final examination "doctorate" at theStudent Registration Office. Please sign the application form and send it together with the proof of acceptance as a doctoral candidate to the Student Secretariat of the University of Passau. Please also enclose a copy of your degree certificate, as the Student Registration Office does not have access to degree certificates and is obliged to record degree data for statistical purposes.
Enrolment for doctoral students who have not been immatriculated at the University of Passau yet
Doctoral students who want to enroll at the University of Passau for the first time must first register at the campus portal and then submit their application there. There you will find a description of how to proceed and which documents are required for enrollment. The contact person for questions regarding enrollment is the Student Registration Office.
ZIM account for external (non-enrolled) doctoral and postdoctoral students
If you do not want to enroll, but still want to receive a ZIM-account-ID including a university e-mail address, this is possible via an application at the Graduate Center. The ZIM-account-ID is required, among other things, to log in to Stud.IP, the Passau learning management system, or to access e-media from the university library.
Non-enrolled external doctoral students receive an account and an e-mail address (according to the pattern "First name-Last email@example.com") upon request. You can also renew your existing account or e-mail address upon request if you are still pursuing a doctorate but are no longer employed and/or enrolled.
|Enrolment||ZIM-ID for external doctoral students|
|UB (book lending)||yes||no (special library id has to be requested at the University library)|
|Access to intranet||yes||no|
|Semester bus fare||yes (Campus Card)||no|
yes, for 6 semester
|yes, until finalization of PhD|
|Prolongation how?||Re-registration via payment of semester fee||automatically|
|Contact point||Student Registration Office||Graduate Center|
The possibilities to finance the doctorate are manifold and range from
- qualification positions at a chair or professorship (internal doctorate), to
- Positions in structured programs,
- positions in third-party funded projects,
- part-time jobs or positions in companies, up to the
- private financing through a student loan, through your parents, your partner or yourself.
The important thing with any form of funding is that there is enough time left over to work on the dissertation. While this is often possible without any problems in the case of scholarships, it becomes more difficult for all those doctoral students who have to finance themselves through jobs at a chair, professorship or elsewhere. A good agreement with the respective employer is therefore always a prerequisite to successfully complete the doctorate in a reasonable time.
A qualifying job position at the institution where the dissertation will also be written is one of the more common ways of funding, along with a fellowship. As a rule, you must apply for such qualification positions. The employment contracts of scientific and artistic staff at state universities and research institutions are subject to the Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz (German Act on Temporary Scientific Contracts).
Since 2007, the Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz (WZVG) has regulated how employment contracts for scientific and artistic staff at state universities and research institutions can be limited in time. The core of the law is the twelve-year rule: each qualification stage (doctorate and habilitation) may not last longer than six years, i.e. 6+6=12. After 12 years, employees should only be employed on a permanent basis or have been appointed to a professorship or chair in the meantime.
The rule does not apply, however, if you work in a third-party funded position. However, their contract periods are generally counted. So if you have worked in a third-party funded project for two years after your doctorate, then you only have four years left for your habilitation.
In order to prevent short-term contracts for young scientists, the Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz has been amended. The amendment to the law has been in effect since March 17, 2016. One of the goals of the German government's 2021 coalitiuon agreement is to improve working conditions in science and academia, and to this end, among other things, to reform the Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz on the basis of the evaluation of the effects of the amendment to the law.
For more information, visit the website of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the DFG. You may also want to familiarize yourself with the text of the law and/or the Ministry's case collection, and please contact the Human Resources Department with any questions about your contract situation.
Scholarships are awarded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and a large number of foundations and organizations. Other doctoral students often finance themselves through several side jobs, which they pursue alongside their doctorate.
The starter grant (Exposé Funding) of the University of Passau serves as bridging funding for the upcoming PhD and enables the acquisition of funding for the completion of a PhD at the University of Passau.
For this purpose, successful applicants receive financial support for an initial period of six months. The funding period is then to be used for the preparation of an exposé for the application to a doctoral funding organization or also the acquisition of a third-party funded position.
„Wissenschaftliche Integrität bildet die Grundlage einer vertrauenswürdigen Wissenschaft. Sie ist eine Ausprägung wissenschaftlicher Selbstverpflichtung, die den respektvollen Umgang miteinander, mit Studienteilnehmerinnen und -teilnehmern, Tieren, Kulturgütern und der Umwelt umfasst und das unerlässliche Vertrauen der Gesellschaft in die Wissenschaft stärkt und fördert. (…) Die Wissenschaft selbst gewährleistet durch redliches Denken und Handeln, nicht zuletzt auch durch organisations- und verfahrensrechtliche Regelungen, gute wissenschaftliche Praxis.“
(Leitlinien zur Sicherung guter wissenschaftlicher Praxis – DFG Kodex, September 2019).
"Scientific integrity forms the basis of trustworthy science. It is a manifestation of scientific self-commitment, which includes respectful treatment of each other, study participants, animals, cultural assets and the environment, and strengthens and promotes society's indispensable trust in science. (...) Science itself ensures good scientific practice through honest thought and action, not least through organizational and procedural regulations."
(Guidelines for Ensuring Good Scientific Practice - DFG Code, September 2019).
Principles of good scientific practice
Adherence to the principles of good scientific practice is essential for good scientific work. The University of Passau supports you as an early career researcher in adhering to the following principles:
Good scientific practice...
- means working lege artis and always following the latest state of knowledge in science.
- requires critical examination and control of both one's own scientific findings and those of other scientists.
- is characterized by maintaining strict honesty with regard to the contributions of others.
- includes careful quality assurance, the documentation of all steps relevant to the research process, and the preparation and maintenance of empirical research data. This ensures the traceability and reproducibility of research results.
- ensures the preservation of intellectual authorship in publishing through the correct use of citations.
- allows and promotes critical discourse in the scientific community.
In accordance with its legal responsibility for the organization of research, teaching and the promotion of young scientists, the University of Passau has issued the rules for safeguarding good scientific practice and for dealing with scientific misconduct (only available in German). These rules are based on the Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice of the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and are mandatory for all academically active members of the University of Passau and are part of the training of young academics. The contact point for questions of good scientific practice or in cases of suspected scientific misconduct is the Permanent Commission for the Investigation of Allegations of Scientific Misconduct.
Updating of the statutes and implementation of the new DFG guidelines on "good scientific practice".
In 2019, the DFG issued new guidelines for safeguarding good scientific practice (DFG Code of Conduct). This code must be implemented and enforced at every university by July 2023 in order to remain eligible for DFG funding. Since the Code covers a wide variety of areas - from university-wide regulations of responsibilities to cross-faculty supervision recommendations to project-specific guidelines - a central steering committee was formed at the University of Passau. Since March 2021, this steering committee and the associated working groups have included representatives of the university management, faculties, central institutions and the academic support staff, who discuss and decide on the individual implementation of the DFG Code at the university. Thus, a joint strategy is being developed, which will be laid down in a statute on good scientific practice and on dealing with scientific misconduct.
The professional and responsible handling of research data is an essential basis of scientific work and an important part of good scientific practice.
Research data management is a component of good scientific practice and was included in 2019 by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in its guidelines for safegurarding good scientific practice (Guidelines 7, 10-15, 17). Consequently, this means that - irrespective of third-party funding - the respective subject-specific standards and methods should be taken into account when collecting, processing and analyzing research data, and the handling of research data throughout the entire research process should be documented in a transparent and traceable manner. Research data management covers the entire "data life cycle": from the initial planning of the research project, through the review, collection, preparation, processing and analysis, to the securing, publication or, for example, deletion of the research data.
Junior scientists need and develop numerous skills during their qualification phases. What is (already) expected of you, depending on your discipline, varies greatly. The competencies that you will develop in the course of your doctorate, postdoc phase or habilitation are just as varied.
In several publications, the University Association for the Qualification of Young Scientists in Germany (UniWiND) has developed a common framework with which competence profiles of young scientists can be described and thus also supported by measures. The competence clusters include:
- Didactic competencies
- Oral and written communication skills
- Ability to work systematically and independently
- Project management
- Ability to work in a team
- Leadership skills
In order to be able to complete the dissertation in a concentrated manner and/or to start a postdoctoral project, a time-limited doctoral completion or transitional scholarship may sometimes be necessary. At the University of Passau, such scholarships are currently only awarded to young female scientists by the Women's Representative.
Graduation fellowships are still the exception, so there is little funding. Not regionally bound is currently the FAZIT foundation (condition: financial need).
In principle, these are the possibilities how to write a dissertation:
|monographic single publication ('book')||publication-based (cumulative) writing||joint promotion (exception)|
one or multiple author(s)
|single work||multiple papers||single work or multiple papers|
|includes all parts||different parts of reserach topics discussed in papers, at the end conclusive paper||depends|
|single responsibility||single responsibility or marking of the contribution||responsibility of each author is specified|
|risks: length, duration, actuality||risks: acceptance in journals, complexity||risk: complexity|
Please note that your doctoral regulations may make further specifications or impose restrictions here. Last but not least, your supervisor will also have an opinion on this topic. He or she knows the customs in the department.
In the case of publication-based doctorates, please contact the relevant doctoral committee before publishing the dissertation or parts of it. If parts of the dissertation have already been published, this may make it more difficult to publish the dissertation as a whole at a later date. Please be sure to talk to your supervisor before publishing your dissertation or parts of it.
Part of the doctoral procedure is the obligation to publish and disseminate the dissertation. Details on publication are regulated by the respective doctoral regulations of the faculties.
In principle, the following applies: The publication of the dissertation must take place within the period specified in the doctoral regulations. The printing permission from the responsible committees or persons (imprimatur) is required for the publication. Please remember to obtain this printing permission again, especially if you have changed the dissertation compared to the text that was submitted for review. Proof of publication must be provided in the form of voucher copies.
There are various ways in which you can publish your dissertation: At all faculties it is possible to fulfill the publication obligation by publishing in the book trade or electronically via the university library. In some faculties there is also the possibility of self-printing or publication in a journal or series.
Depending on the publication medium, costs may incurr for the publication. In most cases, the printing cost subsidy is justified by the fact that the publications are very specialized and the target group is correspondingly small. The authors have to compensate for the lower calculated sales volume with the so-called printing cost subsidy. For refinancing, you can use your tax return (advertising expenses), the registration and reporting portal of the VG WORT and/or apply for the publication grant of the Graduate Center.
Open Access means that scientific information and publications are available free of charge and without technical restriction via the Internet. Accordingly, OA publications achieve a high degree of general accessibility and availability, are easy to find via search engines, and are highly visible. Subject to compliance with scientific standards, they can be re-used worldwide and promote international and interdisciplinary collaboration.
This can be done either directly through primary publication in an OA publisher's publication ("golden road") or in the form of secondary publication on a Publication Server ("green road"). Authors should therefore insist on retaining the exploitation rights for electronic versions if possible.