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Use this guide as a quick overview on how to make it through your doctoral studies only For each step you will find links leading to the full academic and legal framework.
Step 1 Find your supervisor and define your research project
If you decide to do your doctorate at BOKU the first and most important step is to find a thesis supervisor. As a prospective doctoral candidate, you need to contact the putative supervisor on your own. Use the BOKU website to find out about the relevant contact information about departments and research areas most relevant to your area of interest. The supervisor is an experienced scientist and will act as a support during your research work. Together with him/her you should clearly define your research project and choose the type of doctoral studies you want to conduct. Your supervisor will give you a confirmation of assistance that you have to submit as part of your admission process.
Step 2 Choose the type of doctoral studies
Together with your supervisor you have to decide on the type of doctoral studies to conduct.
For detailed information refer to the "Overview of Doctoral Studies" offered at BOKU.
Step 3 Apply for admission as a Doctoral Candidate at BOKU
Before starting your doctoral studies you need to apply for admission at the Student Registration Office at BOKU.
If you have not previously studied at BOKU, an online pre-registration is necessary. Link to full information and launch of application for pre-registration >>>
Submission of application documents The Application Form can be downloaded from the website of the Study Services:
Domestic educational background >>>
International educational background >>>
In case you are part of a Doctoral School/PhD program you will receive this application form from the respective study coordinator together with the proof of admission to the Doctoral School/PhD program.
Together with the Application Form, the following documents have to be submitted to the Study services in original state or as certified copies:
- Certificate of the academic degree (bachelor degree, master degree, diploma)
- The transcripts of studies
- The confirmation of assistance from your supervisor
- A Curriculum Vitae
All documents must be submitted in German or English. If the original document was not issued in one of these languages, it must be translated by a court-approved translator. The translation has to be attached to the original documents.
If you have not previously studied in Austria you need to check if you need to legalise your documents. The type of legislation necessary will depend on the country in which your documents were issued. Use this link to check for the country specific regulations >>>
For applicants with EU and EEA citizenship admission is possible within the enrollment period as well as within the extended enrollment period. For information regarding the enrollment periods for a specific academic year please see dates and deadlines >>>
Applicants from non-EU and non-EEA countries and stateless persons must submit their fully completed application for admission to study to the Study Services:
- by September 5 for admission in the winter semester
- by February 5 for admission in the summer semester
Step 4 Enrolment for doctoral studies
After the acceptance as doctoral candidate, enrolment as a student is the next step on your way through the doctorate. You have to enrol for each semester via the BOKUonline system.
For all doctoral studies a membership to the Austrian National Union of Students (ÖH) is mandatory and costs around € 20 per semester. The ÖH membership dues must be paid by all doctoral candidates.
As a general rule, tuition fees are compulsory for all students at all Austrian universities and constituate € 363.36 per semester as a standard tuition fee for EU/EEA applicants. The tuition fee for third-country nationals is € 726.72 per semester.
However, tuition fees can be waived permanently or temporarily for certain groups of students under certain conditions, and chances are high that you belong to one of these groups and do not have to pay the tuition fee. Check here for full information.
Step 5 Registration of the doctoral project
You need to submit the form “Registration of the Doctoral Project” (”Anmeldung zum Projekt Doktorat”) at the Study services within the first year of your study.
The form can be downloaded the form the website of the Study services:
- Doctoral studies of Natural Resources and Life Sciences
- Doctoral studies of Social and Economic Sciences
- Doctoral studies in the Doctoral School Advanced Biorefineries: Chemistry and Materials (ABC & M)
- Doctoral studies in the Doctoral School AgriGenomics
- Doctoral studies in the Doctoral School Biomaterials and Biointerfaces (BioMatInt)
- Doctoral studies in the Doctoral School Bioprocess Engineering (BioproEng)
- Doctoral studies in the Doctoral School Build like Nature: Resilient Buildings, Materials and Society (Build.Nature)
- Doctoral studies in the Doctoral School Hazards and Risks in Alpine Regions under Global Change (HADRIAN)
- Doctoral studies in the Doctoral School Human River Systems in the 21st century (HR21)
- Doctoral studies in the Doctoral School Social Ecology (DSSE)
- Doctoral studies in the Doctoral School Transitions to Sustainability (T2S)
- PhD program Biomolecular Technology of Proteins (BioToP)
Information you need to provide for the registration
Title of your thesis (this is just a working title and can be changed till the submission of your thesis)
Name of your supervisor
A synopsis of your thesis (~ 5 pages; including timetable and plan of resources)
Proposal for doctoral courses (to be chosen in agreement with your supervisor)
Proposal for doctoral courses
Depending on the type of studies you have chosen you will have to complete the program-specific minimum amount of ECTS points, ranging from 20 to 42 ECTS. The course “Principles and challenges of research in socio-economics, natural resources and life sciences” is mandatory in all programs.
Important: All courses have to be approved by the Dean of Studies before you can take them. Courses you have done prior to this approval will not count for your doctoral studies! It is possible to register only part of the courses at the beginning, however be aware that you will always need to get the new/additional courses approved before you can take them.
Step 6 Research phase, course work & progress reports
Right after admission you will start with your research work, the most important part of your dissertation. During the research phase you also need to do the courses that have been approved by the Dean of Studies.
In addition you need to inform the members of your advisory team at least once a year in writing about the progress in your dissertation. A documentation thereof has to be kept in evidence by the doctoral candidate or submitted to the Doctoral Center (the latter only in case you are part of a Doctoral School/PhD program).
Step 7 Submit your doctoral thesis
For finishing your doctoral studies you need to write a dissertation and submit it to the Study services. This can be a cumulative dissertation (article-based) or a monograph. For a cumulative dissertation you need to have at least two first-author publications in peer-reviewed journals with impact factor. The final version of your dissertation will be sent to two reviewers (assessors) for evaluation. Please note that your supervisor and any co-authors of your publications cannot act as reviewers and that at least one reviewer must not be affiliated with BOKU (external reviewer). Check for detailed regulations on cumulative dissertation/monograph and on who can be appointed as assessor in the curriculum/guidelines of your doctoral program >>>
A detailed guide for the completion of doctoral studies is available on the website of the Study services. There you can also download all forms necessary for finishing your doctoral studies.
Step 8 Defend your doctoral thesis (viva voce examination)
After evaluation of the dissertation the final step is the oral defense of your thesis. The defense is open to the public and usually consists of a presentation (20-30 minutes) of the doctoral thesis followed by a discussion about the dissertation and related research areas. The defense takes place in front of an examination board (two examiners and a chairperson).
Check for detailed regulations on who can be appointed as examiner/chairperson in the curriculum/guidelines of your doctoral program >>>
Step 9 Awarding of the degree and graduation ceremony
After successful completion of your doctoral studies, the Dean of Studies will award you with the degree that corresponds to the type of doctoral studies you have conducted. The Study Services will notify you by e-mail when the documents are ready to pick.
Graduation ceremonies are organized 4-5 times a year and are held in the ceremonial hall of BOKU. For further information and registration follow this link.