PhD Thesis

Thesis extension

The duration of doctoral studies within GAUSS should be three years. Therefore, the thesis should be submitted three years after you started to work on the doctoral project and got accepted for one of the GAUSS programs. The oral examination and publication of the thesis does not have to take place within this three year deadline.
An aspired extension by six months of the thesis submission deadline has to be discussed in the third Thesis Advisory Committee Meeting. The application for maximum two extensions (up to a total duration of four years) has to be directed to the Thesis Advisory Committee and communicated to the doctoral program and the GAUSS Office (Please use the application form ). Any extension resulting in doctoral studies lasting longer than four years have to be approved by the program committee or the deanery of the faculty. More information on the application for an extension of the doctoral studies can be found in this handout .

Doctoral Thesis/Dissertation

Writing the dissertation is one of the key tasks during a PhD and there are some aspects, which need to be taken into consideration. The GGNB kindly provides thesis guidelines , which can be also used by all GAUSS students. Special thanks at this point goes to the author Prof. Reinhard Jahn for sharing his experience and knowledge.

Please be also aware that it is mandatory to use one of the cover pages listed in the doctoral regulations (sample page in English or German ).

When you have finalized your PhD thesis you need to submit it online via Lucom to either the respective deanery of your faculty, the GGNB Office, or the program specific coordination office. At this point, you need to apply for admission to your doctoral examination specifying your desired doctoral degree (Dr. rer. nat. or PhD) and proposing the examination board including the two referees of your thesis. Required documents and further information about the online procedure can be found under the subheading PhD Thesis Submission.

Use of KI models like ChatGPT

In spring 2023 the University of Göttingen issued guidelines for the use of ChatGPT and AI-based language models. All students and faculty members are advised to carefully read and acknowledge these guidelines in the preparation of their thesis and throughout the review process. As pointed out in the guidelines, the guidelines can be only of provisional nature due to the rapid progress in AI development.

Excerpts from the current University guidelines (as of March 2023):

  • The use of ChatGPT must […] be completely transparent. Explicit labelling of passages created with ChatGPT is required. Students should also explain in which way ChatGPT was used for the creation of the examination performance. An example template can be found [below].
  • Such fully transparent use of ChatGPT should have neither positive nor negative effects on the assessment of the examination performance.

Declaration on the use of ChatGPT and comparable tools in the context of examinations

In this thesis, I have used ChatGPT or another AI as follows.:
[ ] not at all
[ ] during brainstorming
[ ] when creating the outline
[ ] to write individual passages, altogether to the extent of ...% of the entire text
[ ] for the development of software source texts
[ ] for optimizing or restructuring software source texts
[ ] for proofreading or optimizing
[ ] further, namely: …
I hereby declare that I have stated all uses completely.
Missing or incorrect information will be considered as an attempt to cheat.

Examination board

The examination board shall contain experts in all research areas dealt with in the doctoral thesis. According to the doctoral regulations (German , English translation) §11, at least one of the two referees has to be a member of the thesis advisory committee and at least one of the two referees has to be a member of the professorial group at the University of Göttingen. Both referees have to be accredited for examination in the respective doctoral program. Usually, the first two members of the thesis advisory committee (main supervisor and examination accredited person) are appointed as referees. In case of external members of the examination board (without general examination accreditation in GAUSS), it is mandatory to apply for an individual examination accreditation for each of the external members before you apply for the admission to the doctoral examination. More information on examination accreditations can be found here. Of the four additional members of the examination board, at least one has to be accredited for examination in the respective doctoral program (including individual examination accreditation) whereas the three other members must be accredited for examination in any GAUSS doctoral program.

The referees (in case of a proposed "summa cum laude": one additional external referee, chosen by the program committee/dean's office) have then up to four weeks to evaluate the thesis. Usually, the oral examination will take place approximately two weeks later. At least four members of the examination board (including at least two referees) have to attend the oral examination.

Submission of the Thesis

With submitting your PhD thesis, you need to apply for admission to the oral examination. Both has to be done online via a single Lucom form. Required documents and further information about the online procedure can be found under the subheading PhD Thesis Submission.