The doctorate serves as proof of the ability to conduct in-depth scientific work. The title Dr. rer. pol. is awarded at the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences.
The Doctoral and Habilitation Officer advises on questions concerning doctoral and habilitation studies and assists with all administrative steps from admission to the disputation. Furthermore, she prepares the content of the meetings of the doctoral committee, compiles statistics in the area of doctoral studies and Habilitation, and is involved in quality assurance and control.
The ombudsperson is available as an independent, confidential and neutral contact person for all those seeking advice. The ombudsperson advises, supports and mediates in conflicts during the doctoral studies as well as in questions of suspected scientific misconduct. The ombudsperson is required to maintain confidentiality.
Step 1: Interest in a doctorate
You would like to do a doctorate?
As a first step on the way to a doctorate, you will look for a supervisor for your research interest who is willing to supervise your research work and make contact. You will need two supervisors.
An overview of possible supervisors can be found here.
Step 2: Admission as a doctoral candidate
To be admitted to the doctoral program, you must:
- have a degree in a major field of economics or social sciences (master’s degree, diploma, master’s degree, or first state examination in teaching at a high school),
- or have successfully completed an equivalent scientific course of study (at least 8 semesters) at a German or foreign university,
- have at least the grade “good,”
- and, according to §4 of the doctoral regulations of the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences of the University of Potsdam for the doctoral degree of July 10, 2013, two supervisors must be present.
2. Then send your admission documents (see below) to:
University of Potsdam
Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences
Dean’s Office - Office for Doctoral Studies and Habilitation -
Your complete application will include the following documents:
- Signed notification of the intention to promote (form can be printed after the entry in the PhD database)
- Signed supervision agreement in original (form can be printed after entry into the doctoral database)
- One officially certified copy each of the master’s certificate and the master’s diploma (or degree)
- Declaration that you are not in another doctoral procedure and/or have definitively failed a similar doctoral procedure.
- A signed resume
Step 3: Enrollment as doctoral student (optional)
Would you like to enroll as a doctoral student?
After successful admission as a doctoral student, you can enroll as a doctoral student at the University of Potsdam. There is no obligation to enroll. Enrollment is handled by the Registrar’s Office. You are welcome to submit your enrollment application with the required documents to the Office for Doctoral Studies and Habilitation at the time of admission. After admission, the documents will be forwarded to the Registrar’s Office together with the signed original of the “Notification of Intention to Award a Doctorate.”
Please note that the Student Secretariat would also like to have certified copies of your transcripts. The certified copies used for admission remain in the files of the Office for Doctoral Studies and Habilitation and cannot be forwarded.
On the homepage of the Student Secretariat you will find a list of the documents required for enrollment:
Step 4: Submission of the dissertation
You are finished with your dissertation and would like to submit it now? Then proceed as follows: Submit an informal, written request for the opening of the doctoral procedure by Email (to Ms. Scholz: email@example.com). Attach the following documents by email:
1. Dissertation as a pdf file that includes
- A brief summary of the content, research objectives, and research methods.
- The declaration of the co-authors in case of cumulative dissertations
- The assurance and consent declaration
2. Scan of the proof of participation in two doctoral colloquia.
3. Scan of signed CV
Please hand in the original of the following documents:
1. Four or five* copies of the dissertation (printed, bound, and with page numbers) *Note: five copies are required for cumulative work, as three people usually review it.
2. Signed curriculum vitae
3. Proof of participation in two doctoral colloquia.
4. For cumulative dissertations: Declaration of the co-authors
5. A police clearance certificate (only for those to whom the doctoral regulations of August 27, 2002 apply)
You are also welcome to send your dissertation and the necessary documents by mail:
University of Potsdam
Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences
Dean’s Office - Office for Doctoral Studies and Habilitation
Or you can drop your dissertation with the documents into the mailbox in room 1.30 (Campus Gribnitzsee, Building 1)
In any case you will receive a confirmation of receipt
Step 5: Review of the dissertation
Now, reviewers will be assigned to review your dissertation within approximately 8 weeks (Doctoral Regulations July 10, 2013, §8, 1) or within 4 months (Doctoral Regulations August 27, 2002, §9, 10.) .
If you have any questions regarding the choice or number of reviewers, please feel free to contact the Office for Doctoral Studies and Habilitation.
Who is eligible for the appraisal?
Doctoral Regulations of July 10, 2013: §7 resp.
Step 6: Interpretation of the dissertation
Once all reviews have been received, the reviews are forwarded to the doctoral candidates via email.
Now the display period starts. During the display period, all members entitled to inspect the dissertation (see Doctoral Regulations July 10, 2013 or Doctoral Regulations August 27, 2002, §8, 5) can inspect the dissertation as well as the expert opinions and submit a statement to the doctoral committee if they do not agree with the expert opinions or if other deficiencies are detected.
After the expiry of the display period, the doctoral committee decides whether the dissertation is accepted or whether it is returned with conditions for amendment. We will inform you in any case.
Step 7: Disputation - the oral examination
If the dissertation is accepted, the disputation, the oral examination, can take place. This consists of a presentation of the dissertation (20-30 min) followed by a question and answer session with the examination committee.
The disputation is open to the public, i.e. interested persons may attend.
What is the composition of the examination board? (§ 9 of the doctoral regulations of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Potsdam)
The examination board consists of the reviewers and two additional representatives. One of the other representatives must be a non-specialist and one must be the chairperson. In the event of a tie in the grading of the disputation, the chairperson has the casting vote. Reviewers are not allowed to take over the chair.
Members of the examination board are:
- Professors of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Potsdam
- Associate Professors
- Honorary professors
- Habilitated Private Lecturers
- Upon request: external professors
Organization of the disputation:
1. Contact the reviewers already during the design period and consider together the composition of the examination board. The doctoral office will be happy to help you with the selection.
2. Propose your desired composition to the PhD Committee (informally via email to PhD Officer).
3. The doctoral committee approves them or appoints a different composition of the examination committee.
4. Now contact the members of the examination board and arrange a joint examination date (for example via doodle). The disputation can take place in presence, hybrid or completely via Zoom.
5. Once you have scheduled an exam date and agreed on the form of the exam (face-to-face, hybrid, or via Zoom) send an email to the doctoral advisor with the dates. Notes:
- If the disputation takes place via Zoom, please ask the chairperson to create a Zoom link and share it with the PhD office and you.
- In presence or hybrid form (if available) a room can be booked via the PhD office for the disputation. Please send a short message to the doctoral office.
The doctoral office then sends the invitation to the disputation to the university via email.
Step 8: Publication of the dissertation
The disputation is done. Now you have to publish your dissertation to be allowed to use your doctoral title.
You can find all the important information on the flyer of the library:
As soon as the Office of Doctoral Studies and Habilitation has received confirmation from the University Library that the dissertation has been published, the doctoral certificate will be sent.
Here you will find the FAQs. If your question is not included, please contact the PhD Officer.
Cotutelle de thèse
In the Cotutelle de thèse procedure, a dissertation is jointly supervised and examined by two universities in two countries. At the end of the Cotutelle procedure, you will receive a doctoral degree according to German examination law.
Advantages of a cotutelle de thèse procedure:
- You spend part of your doctoral period at a foreign university (at least one year each).
- They deal intensively with the different research cultures and scientific systems.
- You enrich your research work through a change of perspective. Country-specific approaches can be combined, thereby opening up a new, individual approach to your research topic.
- They acquire additional qualifications, such as above-average foreign language skills and profound intercultural competencies.
- You ensure your scientific connection to both countries and can establish professionally relevant contacts.
- You can later work more easily in both countries and lay the foundation for an international career.
Even though there are some hurdles, such as an increased administrative effort and different structures and procedures in the universities, we would like to encourage you and support you in the best possible way. Please contact us. We will be happy to help you.
- You will be supervised by two supervisors, one university teacher in Germany and one in the partner country.
- The prerequisite for starting a Cotutelle procedure is always acceptance as a doctoral candidate by the doctoral committee.
- In order to carry out a Cotutelle procedure, an individual contract must be concluded between the two universities. Here, for example, the language, the design of the oral examination, the composition of the jury, the grading system, etc. are precisely regulated in advance. A sample contract is available from the German Rectors’ Conference (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz). You can adapt this individually.
- The dissertation is written in one of the two languages.
- The dissertation is submitted to the home university and to the foreign partner university, but is completed with only one examination.
- The examination board in the disputation is composed of equal numbers of scientists from both countries.
- Doctoral certificate: Either the universities issue a joint certificate (joint degree), or the universities award a total of two certificates, which contain the note that they are only valid in conjunction with the respective other doctoral certificate (double degree). This is regulated in the contract.
- Search for potential supervisors at both universities (ideally common research interest) and contacting them
- Preparation of a contract (according to sample)
- Sending the draft contract to the office for doctoral studies and habilitation
- Review of the draft contract
- Reviewed draft contract is sent to partner university for submission.
- The final version, accepted by all parties, must be signed by both parties (doctoral student, supervisor and dean of the respective faculty, as well as the president of the university).
For additional websites on the Cotutelle process and promotion, see:
- the website of the German-French University (DFH) for the promotion of binational doctorates with France
- DAAD doctoral funding for binational doctorates