PhD vs. Dr.

Did you know that you will receive a Dr. and not a PhD at GEOMAR?

The term PhD student originates from English-speaking countries where doctoral studies are usually completed as a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy). Unlike doctoral degrees in German-speaking countries, PhD programs often take the form of a specific study program, the PhD program that requires the candidate to attend lectures and examinations and has a standard duration of three to five years. GEOMAR does not offer such a program, thus you cannot obtain a PhD at GEOMAR.  What you do at GEOMAR is called a ‘Promotion’. This term refers to achieving a doctoral degree in a specific subject and the right to use the term ‘Dr.’, recognized by a doctoral degree certificate. A doctoral degree in this sense is not a structured program of study with lectures and examinations but takes the form of independent academic research on a topic chosen by the doctoral candidate and conducted under the mentorship of a supervising professor.

Therefore, you actually are a doctoral candidate or doctoral researcher short DR (in German Doktorand/-in or Promovierende) - not a PhD student if you are doing your doctoral studies at GEOMAR.

For more information visit:

New Doctoral Degree Regulation

All doctoral candidates and supervisors MUST apply for acceptance as a candidate at the faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences Kiel University AT THE START of their doctoral research, using this form (German/English). Furthermore, you have to sign a supervision agreement (German/English).

Since 28.09.2018 the new doctoral degree regulation (in German) is binding for all doctoral candidates that apply for admission to the doctoral examination procedure (usually shortly before you hand in). There is also a translation in English available (note: the German one is binding!).

The dissertation can be written and handed in as a monograph, a cumulative dissertation or a combination of both in English or German. If you need more information on that, please see the checklist (German/English) of the MNF. It also has information on how many copies you need to hand in, the examination procedure, etc…

Important and new to know is that first and second reviewers of the thesis must be independent – in the working hierarchy – from one another.

For more information visit the website of the MNF.


*** Good To Know ***



Important locations in Kiel

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