Graduate Academy > Doctorate


Purpose and Process of Doctorate

"The doctorate serves as proof of the ability to conduct in-depth independent scientific work."

A wide variety of motifs can motivate you to consider a promotion as your next career step. Reasons may be that you

  • are fascinated by science or have fun in delving into certain scientific issues
  • pursue a career in science
  • a doctorate is usual in your field of expertise or
  • hope for a higher income or better chances when choosing a career.

If you decide to do a doctorate, you should in any case bring motivation and stamina for time-consuming scientific work in addition to your fascination for your research topic. Before you begin a doctorate, you should consider, if a doctorate

  • makes sense or is even necessary for the career you are aiming for
  • fits in with your life planning, including the time that needs to be invested
  • is financially viable and how this career phase can be financed

Additionally, you should consider which type of doctorate is the right one for you: If you prefer the thematic integration into a doctoral or research programme with an accompanying professional training offer, then a structured doctorate in a doctoral programme could be particularly interesting for you. Doctoral programs of the Clausthal University of Technology, further information and contact persons can be found here.

If you are more interested in choosing your research topic completely freely and in planning your research activities individually, an individual doctorate is an option for you. If required, you can participate in interdisciplinary continuing education. However, there is no obligation for you to take advantage of qualification offers.

A doctorate is essentially divided into four main phases:

  1. the orientation phase, in which you work on the topic, supervision, financing and type of doctorate. This phase usually lasts one to three months.
  2. the introductory phase, in which you acquire the basic knowledge, the state of the art. This phase usually lasts three to nine months.
  3. the research phase in which you work on your research project, work out results on your questions and write them down. In this phase, which usually lasts two and a half to three years, the first results of subprojects are often published in scientific journals, at scientific conferences or as book contributions.
  4. the final phase, in which you place your findings in writing and in the broader scientific context. The doctorate ends with the publication of your research work and the award of your doctorate. To do this, you take an oral examination as a doctoral dissertation, doctoral viva or subject examination.

More detailed information can be found here. If you would like a consult on doctoral studies or if you have decided to do a doctorate and are now wondering what the next steps are, we will be happy to support you. Please contact us to arrange an appointment.


Individual Doctorate

The individual doctorate is often regarded as the classic route to a doctorate. Individual doctorate means to independently contact a professor who will supervise a suitable research topic or dissertation. One researches and works on one's dissertation without being involved in a content-related and organisational doctoral programme. As soon as you have received a confirmation of supervision, you can apply for "admission to doctoral studies" in the chosen subject at the responsible faculty. You will find further information on the administrative steps after receipt of the confirmation of admission under the section "step by step".

Since individual doctoral students generally do not have to complete a compulsory training programme, individual doctoral studies allow a great deal of freedom in the choice of topics and in the pursuit of individually set goals. The basis for a successful individual doctorate is the special relationship of trust between doctoral candidate and supervisor as well as a close connection to the doctoral subject. Research colloquia or seminars within the working groups and institutes enable the exchange with other scientists, the presentation of one's own work progress and the discussion of one's own ideas and theses.

Further reading: academics article "Traditionell Promovieren" (Traditional doctoral studies, article in German)


More Informationens about Doctorate

Doing a Doctorate in Clausthal (Guide Book Doctorate)

Studieren und Forschen in Deutschland (Informationsbroschüre des DAAD)

Handlungsempfehlungen für Promovierende (Informationsbroschüre des QZP)

Kompetenzen von Nachwuchswissenschaftlerinnen und Nachwuchswissenschaftlern. Entwicklung eines Kompetenzmodells (UniWind Publikation Bd. 6)

Bundesbericht Wissenschaftlicher Nachwuchs 2017


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