Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences, Biophysics, and Molecular Biosciences

Degrees and degree requirements

Doctoral degrees
GGNB graduates are awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences or, alternatively, the degree of Doctor rerum naturalium (Dr. rer. nat.). The two degrees are regarded as equivalent by the school. Doctoral candidates choose between either one of these degrees upon submission of their thesis.

Degree requirements
All GGNB students must fulfil the following requirements to be awarded the doctoral degree:
- Admission to one of the doctoral programs.
- Accumulation of required credits (ECTS, see below).
- Submission of all required progress reports.
- Submission of a doctoral thesis in English within the stated deadline (three years with the possibility to apply for an extension of up to one additional year).
- Successful defense of the doctoral thesis in English.
- Publication of the doctoral thesis.

Doctoral examinations
The doctoral thesis is submitted to an examination board of six faculty members, including all full faculty members of the thesis committee plus additional faculty members, and is subsequently publicly defended. The doctoral thesis must be an original piece of independent scientific work. A collection of at least two first-authored scientific publications which have been accepted for publication in internationally recognized, peer-reviewed journals may be accepted instead of a monographic thesis, where the thesis advisor confirms that these publications represent the essential part of the candidate’s scientific work. In such cases, the contents of the publications must be summarized and discussed in writing, and the contributions of others must be specified for each of the publications. Public defense of the doctoral thesis consists of a 30-min presentation of the essential results of the research and a subsequent thorough discussion of the results and related research topics.

Credits according to the European Credt Transfer System (ECTS)
GGNB requires all doctoral students of the graduate school to obtain a minimum of 20 credits (ECTS) during their doctoral studies from the following categories:
- Scientific colloquia and seminars.
- International research conferences.
- Special courses (in particular advanced methods courses).
- Professional skills training.
- Teaching (e.g. tutor for Master's courses or supervision of methods courses, laboratory rotations, Master’s thesis projects or relevant internships).
- Electives (e.g. language courses, courses from other disciplines).

Every doctoral program of GGNB specifies the minimum amount of credits to be obtained from these categories, may increase the credit requirements from 20 to a maximum of 30 credits and make specific courses mandatory for individual or all of its doctoral students.

As one credit (ECTS) represents a total workload of 30 hours, a two-day course which involves an equal amount of additional independent study corresponds to approximately one credit. Likewise, participation in a weekend workshop or seminar would correspond to one credit, plus one credit for an additional presentation by the doctoral candidate. Two credits are awarded for the supervision of a two-month laboratory rotation project or internship, and three credits are awarded for the supervision of a six-month Master’s thesis project. All courses, lectures or seminars offered by GGNB are accepted for credits. In addition, each doctoral program can award credits for external courses (e.g. EMBO or FENS courses).