Completing your degree

The following points provide an overview of the different phases of the degree.

The third section details the necessary steps to complete your degree. If you come across any questions that are not (or insufficiently) covered in this text, please let us know.


The first step towards completing your degree is the form "Application for Admission to Doctoral Examination and Opening the Examination Process". You have to fill it in and submit it together with the required documents (see page 2) to the examination office (Agriculture) or the GFA Office (Forest Sciences).
With this application, you nominate the thesis evaluators and one additional member for your examination board. Please note the information on the formal requirements that apply to your selection and nomination.

There are no fixed examination dates. You can submit your application at any time. After the Graduate Committee has appointed your reviewers, three hard copies of your thesis are required. If you are doing your PhD studies at the Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology, you can submit these directly with your application or about two weeks later. Doctoral students of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences submit their application at least 8 weeks before the dissertation. The dissertation will then be submitted at a previously agreed date.
A period of 6 weeks is allowed for the preparation of the reviews. Subsequently, the dissertation and the reviews are open for inspection to all those authorised to examine in the faculties for a period of at least two weeks. The date of the disputation will be officially set by the Examination Office / the office of the dean of studies after the decision on the acceptance of the dissertation and the completion of the inspection period. The doctoral candidate is responsible for organising the date and the room. Should you need assistance in this regard, please contact the secretariat of your department.
The disputation should take place no later than 12 weeks after submission of the thesis.

The oral examination takes the form of a defence (Disputation) in either German or English. It is open to members of the university. Additionally, the candidate is welcome to invite guests.
The defence lasts between 60 and 90 minutes and consists of two parts. First, the candidate gives a 30-minute (max.) presentation on the objectives and results of their thesis and answers questions. In the second part, the members of the examination board will ask questions about the larger scientific context of the candidate's work, and topics and methodological problems concerning the discipline as a whole as well as neighbouring subject areas.

After the graduation ceremony, it is common in Göttingen for graduates to go to the "Gänseliesel" or to be driven by their fellow students in decorated wagons. There they climb the well, bring flowers to the "Gänseliesel" and give her a kiss. Meanwhile, the graduates have to reckon with water bombs from the audience.

Faculty of Agricultural Sciences:
Right after the graduation ceremony you can pick up copies of the examiners' reports at the examination office. You can also request a transcript of the modules you completed.

Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology:
After you have passed your oral examination, you may view the examiners' reports on your thesis and have your "Revisionsschein" signed. You can find a template here. You can further request a certificate stating that you have passed the oral examination. The final PhD certificate will only be issued when you have published your thesis.

You have to publish your thesis unabridged within one year after you have successfully passed the oral examination. On application the graduate committee can extend the deadline for up to a year. Before you publish your thesis, you can revise it according to your supervisors' suggestions.

Depending on the PhD programme, five compulsory reference copies must be submitted to the Examination Office for Agricultural Sciences or 10 compulsory reference copies must be submitted to the Forestry Divisional Library for publication. Please create the title page of the thesis according to Annex 3 of the GFA doctoral degree regulations. Make sure that your reviewers and the date of the oral examination are noted on the back of the title page. An academic CV must also be attached to these copies. Please do not use ring binding!

There are three different options for publishing your thesis:

  • as a VLB-listed bookshop edition, e.g., through the university press
  • as an electronic publication on the document server of the SUB Göttingen
    The eDiss procedure includes the submission of two printed copies included in the number of compulsory reference copies. For submission to the Forestry Divisional Library, the link to the dissertation must be pasted on the back of the title page of the remaining copies.
  • as a cumulative dissertation:
    The cumulative thesis consists of your individual articles to which you have to add an introduction to the scientific problem on which your articles are based, a conclusion in which you discuss your results and which situates them in the scientific context (synopsis), and a bibliography. You have to submit bound copies.

Ideally you should discuss this topic with your first supervisor and the other members on your thesis committee.


If you are planning to apply for jobs abroad, you may need certified copies of your transcript of records and PhD certificate. These can be obtained from the university's administrative offices and the Lower Saxony state government (which has a branch office at the Göttingen police headquarters). Please take note of the additional information on this process. To check whether you need certified copies to apply in specific countries, please contact the respective embassies.

Administrative offices
Department of Law and Foundation
Police headquarters
von-Siebold-Str. 2
37075 Göttingen
Groner Landstrasse 51
37081 Göttingen
Petra Kellermann
Phone: +49 551 / 39-24496
EMail: petra.kellermann@zvw.uni-goettingen.de

Ralf Buhre
Phone: +49 551 / 39-28093
EMail: ralf.buhre@zvw.uni-goettingen.de
Hedda Joost
Phone: +49 551 / 4911715
EMail: hedda.joost@polizei.niedersachsen.de
Other sections of the Doctoral Degree Guideline: