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From 15.02. to 16.02.23, from 01.03. to 03.03.23 and from 20.03. to 24.03.2023 no registrations in GAUSS PhD Program Physics and for disputation are possible!

When your dissertation is finished, there are several steps to take in order to graduate.

Your Dissertation

Your disseration can be written in English or German.

In place of a dissertation, a collection of at least two scientific publications may be accepted

  • in which you are the author and
  • which have been accepted in an academic journal with a peer-review system,
  • provided that one of the supervisors confirms that these publications shall account for the substantial part of the scientific work (cumulative dissertation)
  • it must be based on peer-reviewed publications in an academic journals where you are an author;
  • requires the approval of the responsible examination committee ;
  • the written thesis must include a summarised presentation of the topics dealt with, combined with an extensive discussion section and a presentation of the doctoral candidate's own contributions to the publication.

Thesis submission

After electronic registration via eCampus [see corresponding GAUSS web pages], the following documents must be submitted in original to the Dean's Office::

  • The disputation application form generated from the eCampus application workflow and signed by the candidate.
  • Two copies of the dissertation in printed and bound form; the doctoral candidate must bindingly confirm that the contents of the digital version are identical with the written scientific treatise (It is recommended to hand over one copy of the dissertation to each member of the commission);
  • The completed and signed Course assessment for Doctorates (Leistungsnachweis);
  • The original supervision agreement
  • The Original PhD Declaration

You will receive a written confirmation or rejection of your application by the "Prüfungsausschuss".

Note that you can received a "summa cum laude" for your dissertation only if you have at least one external examiner. In PO §12 (1), the qualifications for such examiners are somewhat general (the equivalent of a "Habilitation" or previous experience in being the primary advisor for 3 other disserations; PO §12 (1) 1c), but ultimately, your choice of examiners must by accepted by the "Prüfungsausschuss".

The Oral Defense (Disputation)

The date and place of your oral defense will be determined by the "Prüfungsausschuss" and shouldn't be later than 6 weeks after you have received the confirmation (PO §15 3).

The "Disputation" (PO §16) lasts at least an hour and no longer than 90 minutes (PO §16 6). At least 2/3 of the "Prüfungskomission" must be present, including the two referees of the thesis (PO §16 1). It consists of a 30 minute presentation (in German or English), open to the public, followed by an open discussion of at least 30 minutes and at most 60 minutes, during which anyone can ask questions about the thesis or any related topic. If there are adequate reasons, you can ask the Prüfungskommission to exclude the public from the oral defence (talk and discussion; PO, Appendix 7A).

In the old PO, there followed a closed session during which 2 oral exams on separate topics occured: the PO of 2012 removes this requirement entirely. Note, however, that you can still be asked questions not directly related to your thesis (PO §16 (5) 4).

After a successful examination, your dissertation will be given a grade: "rite", "cum laude", "magna cum laude" or, in exceptional cases, "summa cum laude". In order to receive a "summa cum laude", your committee must have asked for a report from an external examiner (see above).

You have the right to examine the written documents related to your examination for 4 weeks after the defense (PO §23).

The Graduation Ceremony

The official part of the graduation process is held four times per year in the classical "Aula" building with much pomp and ceremony. However, the best part comes thereafter: when you exit the Aula, you are picked up by your fellow students, transported through the old city on a wildly decorated wagon, and have to wait in line in order to climb the fountain in the old marketplace and kiss Gänseliesel, the famous statue of a goose-girl. Look at "News, Dates & Links" for the dates of this ceremony.

Publishing your Dissertation

You have to submit a definite number of printed copies of your dissertation (obligatory copies) for the respective form of publication free of charge to the
examination management of the programme as follows:

  • a) one copy of the fully approved version in the event that substantial sections of the dissertation were published in academic journals; at least 10 off-prints or printed copies; each of these must be submitted as proof of publication; only 10 off-prints must be submitted if the work is published in full; or
  • b) three copies of the retail edition if a commercial publishing house manages distribution to booksellers and a minimum edition of 100 copies is proven; one copy of
    the complete approved version must also be submitted; or
  • c) exclusively one copy of the complete approved version, together with proof of publication on the SUB Göttingen document server.