Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Life Sciences

Completing the doctoral examination process

Please submit the dissertation and related documents separately, each in one PDF file. To submit the printed copies and the original application documents, please use the postal service or make an appointment to hand them over.



Add a title page as per the Doctoral Degree regulations, a declaration of independent work and an abstract in German to your doctor's thesis and have it bound. In case you are initiating in the subject of Psychology (Doctoral Degree regulations from 3rd August 2006 only) please add your scientific CV as well. Please submit five copies.

If your "letter of admission" lists conditions, you need to bring proof that you have met them. The same applies for conditions attached to a supervision agreement. Please coordinate with  your supervisor about the type of proof.  



 Application to begin the doctoral examination process

You can find the accompanying application form for initiating the process under Forms, regulations. Kindly note, that the application form is different for all old Doctoral Degree regulations.

In addition to the application for initiating you will need a proposal for your Doctoral Degrees Committee. The committee consists of: committee chair, thesis reviewers and further members. We require the following personal infomation:

Name with title, department address, email address and telephone number (Please use the form under Forms, regulations).

Please note the respective requirements for selecting reviewers and the members of the committee. You can find them in the applicable Doctoral Degree regulations and discuss them in advance with your academic adviser.


The Department of Biology always requires three assessment reports; the Department of Psychology only if you are completing a cumulative doctoral examination process under the old Doctoral Degree regulations or aspire to a thesis grade of summa cum laude. The Thaer-Institute does not have any supplements to the Doctoral Degree regulations.


Please submit the following documents together with the form "Initiating the doctoral examination process":

  • 5 copies of thesis including title page (please leave the name of your thesis reviewers and the day of your doctoral viva voce blank) and declaration of independent work
  • Proof that conditions have been met, if applicable
  • Scientific curriculum vitae and publication list
  • Proof of matriculation or registration
  • Copies of certificates (in case we do not have them already)
  • Proposal list of Doctoral Degrees Committee with original signature of your supervisor
  • Declaration of own contribution for co-authorship and written confirmation of co-authors
  • Copy of your identity card or passport

Please check for further requirements or additional documents in the Doctoral Degreee regulation valid for you.


Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences:

Your completed documentation for admission or initiation of the doctoral degree procedure must be submitted to the Office of Doctoral Affairs at the latest 14 days before the Institute Council meeting.

 Doctoral examination process

You will be informed in writing once the relevant department and the Faculty's Doctoral Degree Board have agreed to initiate the doctoral examination process. We will also inform the whole Doctoral Degree Committee. The reviewers will receive your thesis and they will be asked to submit their assessment report by a stated deadline. The deadline (two month or twelve weeks) is based on the Doctoral Degree regulations under which you were admitted or which you chose when you began the process. We will ensure that they all meet the deadline.

If all the reviewers give your doctor's thesis a positive assessment, it will be accepted. We will inform you once your doctor's thesis has been accepted. We will also notify the entire faculty that the thesis and assessment reports are on display. Hereupon a date for your doctoral viva voce may be arranged. The assessment reports can be reviewed at the Doctoral Office - depending on Doctoral Degree regulations during the display period or two weeks prior to the doctoral viva voce. 

At the earliest, the doctoral viva voce may take place 14 days after the public display has started. Others may submit objections during the public display period and you will certainly want to react to them, so you should plan an extra couple of days for this. We recommend a period of at least three weeks following the start of public display.

You are responsible for scheduling a date for the doctoral viva voce. Certainly your academic adviser's secretary will also help you with this. When choosing a date, please note the minimum number and composition of the committee members who have to be present at the doctoral viva voce. This will be dependent on the Doctoral Degree regulations used to initiate the examination process. Please also remember to coordinate with the chairperson in advance.

In justified exceptional cases, a maximum of one member of your Doctoral Degree Committee may be connected via video technology during the disputation. Likewise, in individual cases, upon application and approval by the Doctoral Degree Board of the Faculty, the doctoral candidate may be connected.

The organisation of the Zoom meeting is the responsibility of you or the chairperson.

Booking a room: Do not reserve a room until your disputation date has been finally fixed. Here you will find a list of rooms that you can book for your defence. If no room is available at your working institute, please first try to reserve the "Dekanatssaal" (room 1007, ground floor) at Invalidenstraße 42.

In the case that you look for a room at the Department of Psychology, you have to send an e-mail with the confirmed date to (Grit Scholz, Institute's Secretariat) - no consultation or phone calls. During the lecture weeks the institute offers room on Thursdays at 5:00 pm or Fridays during the whole day.

Please ask for the following 2h-slots:  9-11, 11-1pm, 1-3pm, 3-5pm, 5-7pm. In the case that no rooms will be available, you would have to switch to a room in nearby institutes or to our rooms in Berlin Mitte.


The Faculty will not cover travel costs incurred by members of the Doctoral Degrees Committee. Please ask your academic adviser whether any funds are available for this.


After successfully completing your doctoral viva voce, you will receive an interim certificate from the Doctoral Office.



 Announcement / Publication

Following successful defence of your doctor's thesis, you have to make it accessible to the scientific community. The Doctoral Degree regulations contain various options for publication. Electronic publication requires the doctor's thesis to use a specific document template from the beginning. If you wish to publish nonelectronically, you need to submit max. 10 deposit copies to the university library (regardless of the requirements as stipulated in the different Doctoral Degree regulations).

Changes, other then the changes that the Doctoral Degree Committee has issued after your doctoral viva voce, need to be approved by the chairman of your Doctoral Degree Committee.
The details on the title page (President, Dean, Reviewers, etc.) need to be updated. The reference date for this is the date of doctoral viva voce. 

For further information about publication, contact the Theses Collection Point (Hochschulschriftenstelle).


You can apply for subsidies for publications and/or printing for example by the following institutions:



We will provide you with a certificate once you can demonstrate that your doctor's thesis has been published. The University Library will supply proof once your deposited copies are submitted. Please send the original copy of the certificate to our Doctoral Office.

You are only entitled to use the title of doctor once you have been issued your Doctoral Degree certificate. Berlin university regulations do not recognise the title of doctor designatus.
 Information sheet "After the defence"