Guide to completion

A guide with all important steps to finalize your PhD can be downloaded in the VDSEE Intranet on Moodle.

Doctoral Thesis

Doctoral candidates have to write a dissertation that demonstrates the candidate’s ability to master academic topics independently and that meets the scientific standards of the field.

It is common practice in the Doctoral School of Ecology and Evolution that the PhD thesis is done in a cumulative way, i.e. generally composed of three published articles in peer-reviewed journals comprising the thesis topic as presented and appoved at the public presentation at faculty and doctoral thesis agreement.

The dissertation will be reviewed by two independent (usually external) experts. Together with his/her supervisor the doctoral candidate can suggest three experts as reviewers. Please hand in a CV and a publication list of suggested external reviewers. The appointment of the reviewers however will be done by the Studienpräses. There is a possibility of getting travel costs of external reviewers refunded. Detailed information can be found on the information sheet of the Studienpräses.  

The reviewers have a maximum of 4 months after the written submission of the thesis to review the thesis and write their report. Only if both reviewers submit a positive report on the thesis, the doctoral candidate can register for the public defense. If a reviewer assesses the thesis negatively then the thesis is handed to a further reviewer. If he/she also assesses the thesis negatively then the overall result is negative and the thesis has to be revised before it can be handed in again.

The public defense consists of a presentation of the central findings (approximately 30 minutes) followed by a general discussion about the research subject with the examination commission (30 to 45 minutes). The examination committee is assembled by the Director of the Doctoral Study Programme and consists of at least three persons. 
After the positively assessed public defense the doctoral candidate has the possibility to celebrate his/her completion of the doctoral/PhD study with a conferring ceremony. For more information please follow this link.

Submission, review of thesis and public defense

The final doctoral thesis has to be submitted to the StudyServiceCenter of Life Sciences

Further information and forms are provided at the homepage of the Center for Doctoral Studies

Guidelines for Cumulative Dissertations, Office of the President for Studies legislation and affairs (accessible via the VDSEE intranet)

VDSEE certificate

The VDSEE offers a certificate listing activities, which are not explicitly mentioned or credited in the diploma certificate. These could include:

  • Supervision of Bachelor and Master students
  • Participation in VDSEE events or co-organization such as Symposium or Retreat
  • VDSEE travel grant or completion grant

The template can be downloaded in the VDSEE intranet (Moodle). It can be modified according to individual achievements and will be signed by the DSPL and the supervisor. Please get in touch shortly before the defense.

Good Scientific Practice

Please respect the rules of good scientific practice!