Legal Issues Relating to Doctorates

Doctoral degrees awarded by Faculties I, IV,V, VI and VII at TU Berlin are subject to the university's joint doctoral regulations. Faculties II and III have their own doctoral regulations. These regulate, among other things, the admission requirements, the entire doctoral procedure from the registration of the intention to award a doctorate to the publication and the awarding of the doctorate.

In the event of discrepancies concerning the interpretation of these regulations, the German version published in the official Gazette of TU Berlin shall take precedence over the English version.

Requirements for doctorates

The basic requirement for acceptance as a doctoral candidate is, in general, a completed university degree. Usually this will be a master’s degree from a university or university of applied sciences, or a comparable qualification.

Should you wish to complete a doctorate in a subject area different to that of your master’s degree, the faculty may request additional proof of suitability.

There are a number of alternative paths enabling you to pursue a doctorate:

Doctorate with a bachelor’s degree

Applicants obtaining an excellent grade in their bachelor’s degree may also be accepted directly as doctoral candidates. Applicants are required to pass between one and three assessment tests and demonstrate exceptional academic aptitude, usually in the form of the publication of an article as primary author.

Acceptance is also possible with a bachelor’s degree upon completion of a two-semester qualification phase completed as part of a doctoral program, such as currently offered by the  Berlin Mathematical School.

Doctorate with a Diplom (obtained from a university of applied sciences)

Graduates with a Diplom from a university of applied sciences may also be accepted as a doctoral candidate if they are able to demonstrate sufficient academic aptitude. Academic aptitude is demonstrated in this case by a grade of “good” or better in an applicant’s first degree. Applicants are further required to pass at least one and possibly up to three assessment tests. Further information is available from the relevant faculty.

Doctorate with a degree obtained abroad

Faculty boards can conduct an evaluation of equivalence to see if university degrees obtained outside of Germany meet the necessary requirements and qualify for recognition in Germany. The faculty may also ask for proof of additional academic achievements.

Doctoral degree

You can complete a doctorate in any of TU Berlin’s faculties as long as the subject of your dissertation is covered by one of the academic chairs or research groups within the relevant faculty and that this chair or research group is led by a professor or junior professor.

As is common practice in Germany, the title of doctor awarded by the faculties at TU Berlin is   supplemented by an additional element reflecting the topic addressed by the dissertation and the subject area of the qualifying degree. For example the title Dr.-Ing. is awarded for doctorates completed in engineering disciplines.

  • Dr.-Ing.      Engineering sciences   —  Faculties:  II,III,IV,V,VI,VII
  • Dr. rer. nat.   —   Natural sciences   —  Faculties: I,II,III,IV,V,VI
  • Dr. phil.   —  Humanities, educational and social sciences    —  Faculties: I,V,VI
  • Dr. rer. oec.   —   Economics    —  Faculties: VI,VII
  • Dr. P.H.   —  <em/>Health sciences/public health   —  Faculties: VII

Doctoral agreement

In addition to the official confirmation of supervision, the doctoral regulations further require the doctoral candidate and supervisor to conclude a written supervision agreement detailing the nature and extent of the supervision. The duties incumbent on both parties to maintain the standards of good supervision as well as the expectations that both parties have of each other should be similarly documented and updated.

Administrative regulations

The duration of employment, the extent of work to be undertaken, as well as teaching duties for doctoral candidates employed in teaching and research assistant positions funded by the University budget are set out in the administrative regulations.

Completing a doctorate within a commercial organization

The option of completing a doctorate while employed within a company is an ongoing topic of discussion. The Executive Board of TU Berlin concluded a code of conduct in July 2017 which also stresses the importance of a free choice of topic, the possibility to participate in academic discussion, and the obligation to publish research results for doctorates completed within a commercial organization. Doctoral supervisors are required to make the various parties involved aware of these principles and all participating parties are required to confirm their compliance by signature when registering the intent to pursue a doctorate.