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Regulations of the Doctoral Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science
[The following guide is based on the
for the Doctoral degree1)
at the Combined
Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics2) at Heidelberg
University and summarizes common
practice followed in the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science. In case of conflict,
the provisions of the German version of the regulations shall prevail.]
The Faculty confers the degree of Dr.rer.nat. (Doctor of Natural Sciences) to candidates upon
submission of a dissertation (doctoral thesis), an oral examination, and publication of the thesis work
in the fields of Mathematics or Computer Science. Both allow an interdisciplinary option with
a related field. The degree attests to the ability to carry out independent research in the chosen
Note that some of the specifics are different in Mathematics and
Admission as doctoral student
Candidates generally carry out their thesis work as Doctoral student at the Faculty, under
supervision of a qualified doctoral advisor who will support their graduation.
Admission as a doctoral student depends on proof of sufficient theoretical and practical
knowledge in the intended field of study, and may be subject to additional course
The typical applicant holds a Master degree (or Diploma) in Mathematics or Computer Science
from a German University or foreign equivalent with a minimum of four years of prescribed
university studies (including any previous degree such as Bachelor). Candidates are advised
to pre-check their qualifications on the Anabin Website
and to consult the typical requirements listed here (PDF, 112kB).
The application also requires a supervision agreement with the prospective doctoral advisor,
and specification of the members of the oral examination (defence) committee. These can be
changed before graduation, but candidates are advised to give thorough thought to these
decisions prior to submitting their application.
The admission decisions are made by the respective Doctoral committee4)
in Mathematics or Computer Science. The doctoral student status is usually granted for three
years, and may be extended upon substantiated request and support of the doctoral advisor.
Thesis review and oral examination
The final version of the dissertation may be submitted upon completion of the research work and proof
of fulfillment of any course requirements. The thesis is evaluated by two reviewers, one of which is
the doctoral advisor. The second reviewer may be nominated by the student and the advisor, but must
be confirmed and contacted for their written report by the Dean. The reviewers must be professors or
scientists with habilitation at the Faculty, or hold an equivalent position at an external institution.
The second reviewer should be knowledgable about the subject of the thesis, but must not be in any
conflict of interest with the doctoral advisor or the candidate, as stipulated in the relevant guidelines.
In particular, a direct financial interest, an advisor/advisee or mentor/mentee
relationship between the reviewers
within the last 7 years, or a low-degree personal relationship, marriage or partnership are examples
of circumstances that will be perceived as conflict of interest. The reports must be prepared
independently from each other.
The written reports recommend acceptance or rejection of the thesis, and (in case of acceptance) grade
it with a mark in the range of 1 (very good) to 4 (adequate) in steps of 0.5.
The reports are confidential until after the oral examination, at which point the Candidate
may request a viewing permission.
The oral examination is scheduled upon reception of the written reports and circulation amongst the
Faculty. The examination committee is composed of the doctoral advisor and further members of the
faculty representing the chosen field of study as specified below. The grading scheme is the same
as for the thesis itself.
The final grade is calculated as an average of both, dissertation and oral examination. The degree
will be conferred “magna cum laude” for an average grade up to 1.5, “cum laude” for an average grade
up to 2.5, and “rite” for an average grade up to 4.0. The exceptional honour “summa cum laude”
requires, in addition to a perfect score of 1.0, that this recommendation be made by both reviewers,
an additional (third) supporting external report, and unanimous confirmation by the oral examination
The doctoral degree is only conferred after proof of publication of the thesis
within two years of the successful defence The minimum requirement is
deposition of the thesis at the central University library. The published
version must match the examination copy. Minor issues that might have arisen
during the evaluation process can be addressed by the inclusion of an erratum.
Cumulative theses are not permitted in the faculty of mathematics and computer science.
Specific requirements for a degree in Mathematics
Typical admissions requirements can be found here (PDF, 112kB).
The reviewers should be professors or scientists with habilitation at the Faculty of Mathematics
and Computer Sciences, or hold an equivalent position at an external institution.
For non interdisciplinary work, the doctoral examination is held by three examiners who have to
represent the two subfields applied mathematics and pure mathematics. The
third examiner can be
chosen from either field. The doctoral advisor is one of the examiners, but the second
reviewer need not. Two of the examiners have to be members of the Faculty.
The exam is chaired by a member of the Faculty and should
last between 1 and 1.5 hours.
- For interdisciplinary work, one, or even two, other fields can be part of the
examination, which then has to cover three fields represented by four examiners.
These fields have to have a reasonable relation to Mathematics (see Promotionsordnung
Appendix § 10). It is then not required that both fields of Mathematics are
represented by the examiners.
- It is then not required that both subfields of Mathematics are represented by the examiners.
- The main subjects of the interdisciplinary project should be covered by the reviewers of the dissertation.
Specific requirements for a degree in Computer Science
Please contact the Dean’s office for further information regarding admissions requirements.
The reviewers of the thesis should be professors or scientists with habilitation of the Faculty of
Mathematics and Computer Sciences or the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy representing the field
Computer Science, or hold an equivalent position at an external institution.
Computer Science (not interdisciplinary) comprises four fields
- Practical Computer Science
- Theoretical Computer Science
- Technical Computer Science
- Applied Computer Science
The doctoral examination is held by four examiners who have to represent three of the above
fields. The fourth examiner can be chosen from any of the above fields. Two examiners should be
the reviewers of the dissertation. At least two of the examiners should be members of the Faculty
of Mathematics and Computer Science or the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy. The exam is chaired by
a faculty member and should last between 1 and 1.5 hours. See also the form
Assignment of examiners to fields of
Computer Science (PDF, 16kB) (German)
Computer Science (Interdisciplinary)
- Upon the candidate's application an alternative field can be part of the examination. Again,
the doctoral examination is held by four examiners representing three different fields that have
to have a reasonable relation to Computer Science (see Promotionsordnung Appendix § 10)
- It is only required that at least two of the above fields of Computer Science are represented
by the examiners. Two examiners should be the reviewers of the dissertation, one reviewer has
to be a member of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science or the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy
- At least two of the examiners should be members of the faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science or
the faculty of Physics and Astronomy. The main subjects should be covered by the reviewers of the dissertation.
Gesamtfakultät (Mathematics and Computer Science, Chemistry and Earth Sciences,
Physics and Astronomy, Biosciences)
Please make sure to always use the latest version of all the forms required!
All correspondence should be addressed to:
Dekanat Fakultät für Mathematik und Informatik
Im Neuenheimer Feld 205
Regular Office Hours for all doctoral affairs
Please check for any changes!
Information about the current doctoral committees of Mathematics and Computer Science can be found here.
Regulations for the conferral of a doctorate as of July 29, 2015
Regulations for the conferral of a doctorate as of September 22, 2006
Application to be admitted as doctoral student at the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science
Form: Application to be admitted as doctoral student at the Combined Faculties for the Natural Sciences and Mathematics (PDF, 320kB) (German and English)
Form: Supervision Agreement (Word document, .docx, 285kB) (English)
Form: Assignment of examiners to fields of Computer Science (PDF, 16kB) (German)
Form: Extension of doctorial studies (PDF, 49kB) (German and English)
Form: Extension beyond 5 years: doctoral student (PDF, 50kB), supervisor (PDF, 50kB)
Admission to the Doctoral Examination at the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science
Form: statutory declaration (PDF, 95kB) (German and English)
PDF of examples of the first pages can be found here (English (PDF, 26kB),German (PDF, 97kB))
Form: Application for admission to the doctoral examination at the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Sciences (German (PDF, 11kB))
Publication of the thesis
Form: publication (German) (PDF, 331kB)
Step-by-Step Practical Advice
Dear Student, this page is conceived as a step-by-step guideline during the various
stages as a doctoral student at this faculty. As in the course of your studies changes in
the administrative processes may occur, please make sure to consult the information recurrently
as you proceed during your studies!
1. Application to be accepted as doctoral student at the Faculty
of Mathematics and Computer Science
Applications are considered under the following conditions: the applicant must provide a university
certificate (Diploma, Magister, Master, State Examination) or, in case of a foreign examination, an
equivalent certificate. The qualification should be in the field of the proposed studies. The applicant
has to provide the agreement of the supervisor, or both supervisors in the case of interdisciplinary
studies. The doctoral committee will decide about the application.
The following three steps have to be taken in the order given:
- Find a supervisor for your doctoral project and complete Form:
Supervision Agreement (Word document, .docx, 285kB). If there is a supervision agreement with the HGS, it will be accepted if the original
and a copy are provided.
- Register online at the HeiDOCS
Portal. This registration cannot be completed without a signed supervision agreement.
- Submit all of the following items (personally during the office hours for doctoral affairs
or by letter post. Emailed applications will not be accepted, as original signatures are indispensable):
- Form: Supervision Agreement (Word document, .docx, 285kB). If there is a supervision agreement with the HGS, it will be accepted if
the original and a copy are provided.
- Form: Application for admission as a doctoral student (PDF, 320kB) (German / English)
For choosing the reviewers, examiners and subjects of defense, see also the Short Guide to the Organization of Doctoral Studies in Mathematics and Computer Science at Heidelberg University. You are
strongly advised to have the consent of all members of your prospective defense committee when handing in your
Application for admission as doctoral student.
- Certified Copies of all previous academic examinations including school leaving certificate, including
transcripts of records. Ordinary copies can be submitted but in this case, the originals of these
have to be presented.
- CV (dated and signed), including nationality
- a copy of identity card where first name und surname as well as place of birth are clearly indicated
- In the case of foreign certificates:
- If the previous qualification is not in the subject chosen for the doctoral studies:
- In the case of foreign certificates or if the previous qualification is not in the subject chosen for the doctoral studies:
- Statement of the adviser about the qualification of the applicant
- proof of course achievements in the chosen subject. For Mathematics, see typical requirements (PDF, 112kB).
- final thesis as hardcopy and electronic version (pdf)
- The letter of acceptance as doctoral student always states an expiry date of doctoral studies after 3 years. If by that date the studies have not been completed, an extension needs to be filed using this form (PDF, 49kB). There will be no reminder regarding the expiry date. An extension is usually granted for 12 months.
- If you should need to extend your doctoral status beyond 5 years, please use the appropriate form: doctoral student (PDF, 50kB)
- Please make sure to have your doctoral status prolonged until the completion of the final examination!
2. Admission to the Doctoral Examination at the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science
Candidates are required to hand in:
- 5 hardback or paperback copies of the dissertation, no emblem or University seal, no spiral binding
- German and English abstract at the beginning
- Title and full name of the adviser(s)
- You may print in the following words: "Date of the oral examination" (do NOT print in the date itself!). A sample pdf of the first pages can be found here: (German (PDF, 97kB))
- In order to verify the formal correctness, it is advisable to send a pdf version of the first pages including the acknowledgements, if any, via email to the dean's office before printing the 5 copies.
- In case of interdisciplinary projects in Mathematics the doctoral committee recommends that an accompanying text is provided stating what the new mathematical contributions are. This has also to be made explicit in the reviews submitted by the thesis’ reviewers.
- It is the candidate’s responsibility to provide additional hardback or paperback copies to the reviewers.
- An identical pdf-version of the complete dissertation via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Form: Application for Admission to the Doctoral Examination at the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science (German (PDF, 11kB)), filled in and signed
- Form: statutory declaration (PDF, 95kB) (German / English) filled in and signed
- Criminal Records Bureau certificate (or German work contract)
3. Before the Final Examination
- The dean's office sends out a letter to the reviewers asking them for their reviews to be submitted to the dean's office within a month. Note that the review deadline cannot always be ensured.
- Once both reports have been received, faculty members have access to the dissertation and the reviews via a web-based system for four weeks during lecture period and up to six weeks during semester break.
- The termination of this timespan is announced to the doctoral candidate via email, and he or she can arrange for date, time and place of the oral examination after contacting all examiners. This date has to be after the termination of the above circulation time.
- This information has to be communicated in writing (email) to the dean's office as early as possible.
- It is the candidate's responsibility (or the responsibility of the chairperson of the examination committee) that the sealed envelope (containing the examination papers and complete documentation of all documents and correspondences concerning the individual's procedure at this faculty) for the examination is collected at the dean's office on the day of the defense (or before on request) and resealed and returned to the dean's office after the examination as soon as possible.
4. The Oral Examination
- It is the responsibility of the candidate to arrange a time and location for the oral exam. The candidate is advised to send out a reminder of the oral exam shortly before the date of examination.
- The presentation of the thesis (talk) should be no more than 20 minutes.
- The oral examination lasts between 1.0 and 1.5 hours, starting with the presentation of the thesis, followed by questions from the examiners about the thesis, and questions about the chosen fields of examination (minimum of 10 minutes per subject).
5. Publication of the Thesis
To accomplish this task, the general procedure requires the following steps:
- Publication has to be confirmed within two years after the oral examination. If this is not complied with, the rights of the doctoral procedure will expire and the doctoral degree cannot be conferred on the basis of the dissertation that has been handed in.
- Upload the electronic version of the dissertation, please see the information of the library: Library forms and Publications at HeiDOK and Electronic Publishing at HeiDOK
- Collect 3 copies of the submitted dissertations (not corrected or improved versions), which will be sealed and signed by the dean.
- Together with the form "publication" (German) (PDF, 331kB) and the copyright agreement (obtained from the Website of the library before uploading - see above) the 3 copies of the dissertation have to be delivered to the university library in building INF 368 weekdays 9:00am to 3:30pm.
- The form "publication" has to be filled in and signed by yourself and returned to the dean's office after confirmation by the university library.
Should small corrections be requested for the published version of the thesis, the following procedure will be accepted as of December 6th, 2017:
- based on the version handed in for review, an erratum can be prepared containing corrections of the reviewers or the candidate’s.
- the contents of this erratum is to be approved by the committee in the defense
- for online publication through the university library a pdf-version can be added to the text as a prefix or an appendix; changes of the text itself are not permitted
- the hard copies of the dissertation for the University archive have to include a supplementary sheet securely fixed (pegged) into the three copies.
6.Doctoral Degree and Certificate
- After the proof of publication is received, the doctorate can be conferred (by issuing the certificate).
- You will receive an invitation via email to the celebration of your semester and if you are willing to wait until then (it is usually May for winter term examinations and November for summer term examinations), you can receive the original certificate at this formal procedure.
- As the original certificates are drawn up by the “Naturwissenschaftlich-Mathematische Gesamtfakultät” (the association of the faculties of Bio Sciences, Chemistry & Earth Sciences, Physics & Astronomy, and Mathematics & Computer Science) it takes about six to eight weeks after your oral examination, until the dean's office gets the original documents and/or the copies, depending on your decision to attend the celebration or not.
- Prior to that, in any case the certified copies will be issued by the dean's office and you will receive an email to inform you about this. Upon receipt of these you are entitled to carry the title “Doctor of Science / Doktor der Naturwissenschaften (Dr. rer. nat.)”. These copies can be mailed to you if you provide an address.
- If you do not wish to participate in the celebration, you will also receive information via email about this, and you can collect the originals together with the copies at the dean's office.
- If you cannot collect your certificate personally, you can ask someone else to do so. This person needs to be authorized by you and identify him-/herself with an Identification Card. A template can be found here (PDF, 60kB).
Please go back up and click on the Forms link.