Degrees and degree requirements

Doctoral degrees
GGNB graduates are awarded the degree of Doctor rerum naturalium (Dr. rer. nat.) or, alternatively, the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The two degrees are regarded as equivalent by the graduate center. 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. 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.
- Scientific methods courses.
- Professional skills courses, language courses, industry excursions.
- Teaching (e.g. tutor for Master's courses or supervision of methods courses, laboratory rotations, Master’s thesis projects or relevant internships).

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).