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What is a Doctorate?

A doctorate (Latin docere - to teach) is the academic degree of the "Doctor" in a specific area of research. It is awarded in the form of a doctoral certificate.

The doctoral mainly consists of the dissertation, an independently researched and written scientific paper and its defense in the form of an oral exam (in Germany referred to as the "Disputation"). Other proofs of performance are listed in the promotion regulations.

  • Dissertation: the dissertation is a scientific paper, which documents an independent research achievement that concludes with new scientific findings.
  • Defense: after the dissertation has been accepted by the faculty or the board of examiners and the experts have submitted their reports, a scientific debate is held the theme of which is that of the dissertation. This oral defense of the doctoral thesis is most often open to anyone at the university.
When a topic of research is chosen as a topic for a dissertation, the person interested in pursuing a doctorate in this subject area will look for for a suitable supervisor at a university or department that hold the right to award doctorates. Afterwards, the person interested in pursuing a doctorate puts in an official request to be accepted as a doctoral candidate with the head of the board of examiners or the head of the department. In the next step, the application is examined and the applicant is accepted. Then, the doctoral candidate may begin work on his or her thesis. Scienitific standards are kept through regular consultations with the supervisor.
  • Usually, the pursuit of a doctorate will take three years
  • The doctorate is concluded by publishing the doctoral thesis