When you submit your thesis, the last phase of the doctorate begins. You apply for the doctoral examination by sending the corresponding form to the dean of the department
Application for Approval for Examination – Antrag auf Zulassung zur Prüfung
The following documents have to be submitted in addition:
- the completed form “Antrag auf Zulassung zur Prüfung”
- five copies of the thesis (for the Dean’s office, the supervisors and the examiners)
- a proof that you payed the PhD fee of €100 to the following account: TU Darmstadt, Stadt- und Kreissparkasse Darmstadt, Projektnummer: 40100191, IBAN: DE36 508 501 500 000 704 300
- in case of an aptitude test – the final completion certificate proving that you acquired the relevant credits
- if you participated in the structured graduate program: a list of all the achievements via the respective form on the Biology department website („Doctoral thesis curriculum_blueprint“)
- in case of a cumulative thesis please abide by the relevant regulations (see above)
Doctoral candidates of other research institutions with an external supervisor may also start the procedure at this point. In such a case the department assures an evaluation rather than a supervision. The structured training program is not possible at this point, however, the requirements mentioned under registration for doctorate apply. In case of external doctoral theses usually the supervisor at the respective research institution acts as one of the reviewers. In that case, the other reviewer is bound to be a full-time professor at the department of Biology.
Both reviewers, independently from each other, write their evaluation of the doctoral thesis within eight weeks and transmit them to the dean of the department. The evaluation either recommends acceptance or rejection of the thesis. In case of acceptance, the reviewer evaluates the thesis with one of the following grades:
- excellent (ausgezeichnet)
- very good (sehr gut)
- good (gut)
- satisfactory (genügend)
If both evaluations on the thesis rate it „excellent“, this rating will be considered for the final grade. In this case, a third opinion by an external expert is necessary. The deanery informs the direct supervisor that he/she should suggest a third reviewer. The third reviewer should not be a member of TU Darmstadt and should have no conflict of interest (e.g., common publications and/or ongoing collaborations with the supervisor) and state this together with his/her evaluation. Importantly,, the rating „excellent“ requires at least one publication with you being the first author published in a peer-reviewed journal or accepted for publication.
Upon receipt of the thesis evaluations, they are made available for two weeks to all the professors and entitled members of the department. During this period it is possible to present statements or special reports. At the end of this consultation period, the examination commission decides whether the thesis is accepted. The examination commission is chosen by the doctoral board and it is set together as follows:
- a chairperson from the group of professors of the department
- the reviewers of the doctoral thesis
- two further professors of TU Darmstadt or other universities, entitled young researchers and group leaders of the department or leading scientists of recognized research institutions outside the university; the requirements are specified in §11 of the doctoral regulations
The majority of members of the examination committee must come from the group of full-time professors at the Department of Biology. In case the president is unable to assist, a member of the examination committee will assume this function. The president is chosen by the doctoral board. The two other members may be proposed by you to the doctoral board. Later changes of the commission require the consent of the doctoral board.
The examination committee decides whether the thesis is accepted, needs to be changed or is rejected; it conducts the disputation and evaluates the performance. It decides whether the disputation needs to be repeated and defines the additional requirements for publication.
If the thesis is accepted, the dean together with the doctoral candidate and the other members of the examination committee determines the date for the oral examination. The oral exam is open to the public and it starts with a 30-minute oral presentation, where you outline the topic and the results of your thesis. Afterwards there will be an examination in which you defend your work vis-à-vis the commission members. In this part, topics from a wider scientific context than your dissertation are covered. The exam may be conducted in German or in English language. After the disputation, which is not supposed to last more than one hour, the commission determines the overall grade of the doctoral exam in a non-public meeting. The rating of the presentation and the examination as well as the rating of the written expert opinions determine the overall grade. The following grades are possible:
- passed with distinction (mit Auszeichnung bestanden)
- passed with the rating very good (sehr gut bestanden)
- passed (bestanden)
- not passed (nicht bestanden)
Possibly, changes might be required that need to be made before publication. The first supervisor is in charge of veryfying that the changes have been made. The thesis should be published via the TU Darmstadt publication server within one year. More details are specified in §19 of the doctoral regulations.