Submission and Examination

A successful doctoral process culminates in the submission of the dissertation, the preparation of examiners’ reports, and the oral examination by an examination committee. As a basic principle, the doctoral study regulations form the framework for the final phase of the doctoral process. Degree-awarding institutions may supplement these rules, however.

Effective as of January 2016, doctoral candidates apply to submit the dissertation via the DocGS online platform. They also submit the dissertation and further documents to the Office of Doctoral Programs. A full list of the required documents is available on the pages for doctoral candidates. In the case of publication-based dissertations, the doctoral candidate also needs a written statement of consent from his/her supervisor (in accordance with Sec. 6 (2) of the doctoral study regulations).

Who is allowed to act as an examiner?

The TUM Doctoral Regulations (§10) set out provisions on who is entitled to act as an examiner. In principle, all professors are permitted to supervise and examine doctoral candidates (pursuant to Art. 2 (3), first sentence, of the Bavarian Higher Education Staff Act (Hochschulpersonalgesetz)). This includes the following:

  • Professors
  • Junior professors
  • Honorary professors ("Honorarprofessor")
  • Lecturers ("Privatdozent")
  • Extraordinary professors ("außerplanmäßiger Professor")

In addition, other groups are also eligible to examine candidates:

In day-to-day practice, doctoral candidates also receive support from postdocs and project managers in their research work. This group makes a valuable contribution to the doctoral process, but its members are not eligible to examine candidates within the meaning of the doctoral study regulations.

Convening the Examination Committee

The supervisor typically proposes an examination committee that is tasked with conducting the examination by the degree-awarding institution. The rules for this process vary between the individual departments and Integrative Research Centers. Consulting the office of the dean is recommended.

The examination committee (§10 of the doctoral study regulations) typically comprises one chair and two to three examiners. It is also possible not to appoint the third examiner until the later stages of the process. If a person who is eligible to act as an examiner has suggested the dissertation and supervised large portions of it, this person must be appointed to act as the primary examiner at his/her request. Instructors from other universities or universities of applied sciences in Germany or other countries can also serve as members of the examination committee.

In the case of cooperative doctorates, an instructor from the university of applied sciences must be appointed to serve as an examiner if he/she played a major role in supervising the dissertation.

The chair of the examination committee receives the documents from the office of the dean after they have been formally reviewed and provides one copy to each committee member. Writing the examiners’ reports should generally not take longer than three months.

The dissertation can be evaluated as “Not passed,” “Passed successfully” or “Passed with distinction.” An overview of the doctoral degrees that your degree-awarding institution is permitted to confer is provided in Sec. 1 (4) of the doctoral study regulations.

Examiners for Doctoral Candidates from other Departments

§2 of the doctoral study regulations provides that you as a professor are also permitted to supervise and examine a doctoral candidate from another department. To do this, you typically need to apply for secondary membership in the respective department. Since the rules that apply to these processes vary between departments, please contact the relevant office of the dean for more detailed information.