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Doctoral Research

The Faculty of Business Administration and Economics at HHU awards the academic degree of “Doctor of Political Science” (doctor rerum politicarum, Dr. rer. pol.) following due completion of the doctoral procedure. Alternatively, the title of “Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Business Administration” or “Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Economics” may be awarded at the doctoral researcher’s request. The doctoral achievements serve as proof of academic qualification for awarding of the doctorate. These comprise a substantial piece of written academic work on an economics topic (dissertation) and an oral examination (doctoral defence).

You must register your doctoral project before you begin working on it. First, complete this form to submit your details and email it to  as a Word document. Pursuant to Section 4 para. 1 of the doctoral regulations, you must then submit the following documents required to the Dean’s Office in a paper format within 14 days:

  1. Form to register your doctoral project
  2. Current and signed CV in German or English detailing your training and studies to date
  3. Certified copies of your bachelor’s and master’s degree certificates, including the transcripts of records
  4. Confirmation from your chosen supervisor of their willingness to supervise your doctoral project, formulated in accordance with Section 4 para. 1 no. 3 of the exam regulations
  5. Where applicable, confirmation from a second supervisor pursuant to Section 4 para. 1 no. 4 of the exam regulations
  6. You must also present your identity card at the Dean’s Office.

Regulations and principles to observe

Your application and supporting documents will be reviewed. If you meet the requirements laid out in Section 2 of the exam regulations and the Dean’s Office has received all of the necessary documents, you’ll be sent written confirmation that your doctoral project has been registered, together with a briefing on the principles for safeguarding good scientific practice.

To complete your doctoral project registration, you must confirm receipt of this written confirmation and the briefing on the principles for safeguarding good scientific practice at HHU. If you do not confirm receipt, your doctoral project registration will become invalid retroactively.

You’ll need the confirmation of registration from the Dean’s Office to register as a doctoral researcher at the Registrar’s Office. See here for more information on enrolling.

Note on cumulative dissertations

Pursuant to Section 6 para. 1 of the exam regulations dated 25.11.2013, dissertations can also be written cumulatively with your supervisor’s consent. In this case, the dissertation comprises a series of scientific articles along with an accompanying text to situate these articles in the scientific context. The dissertation must moreover detail the contribution that the doctoral researcher has made to the content and methodology of each article submitted. This declaration should follow the respective contribution in the dissertation and must be signed by all co-authors.

Note on data protection

HHU is responsible for processing your data – see HHU’s general privacy policy.

Personal data and information on your dissertation are collected and stored for the doctoral procedure within the Faculty of Business Administration and Economics. Your data will only be used by persons involved in processing of the doctoral procedure. The data is also processed to meet the legal obligations for university statistics. The contact person is .

See here for detailed information on the processing of data during the doctoral procedure (in German only).

You can apply for admission to the doctoral procedure once you have completed your dissertation. The doctoral procedure involves the following steps: application for admission to the doctoral procedureacceptance of the dissertationoral defence, publication of the dissertation and awarding of the certificate.

You must submit the following documents to the Dean’s Office in a paper format to apply for admission to the doctoral procedure:

After submitting the application for admission to the doctoral procedure and all of the supporting documents required, the Dean’s Office will ask the assessors/examiners to prepare an expert opinion on the dissertation, ideally within four months. They must conclude their expert opinion with a recommendation to the faculty on whether to accept or reject the dissertation.

As soon as the expert opinions are available, the doctoral file containing the expert opinions will be made available for viewing in the Dean’s Office for a period of two weeks (14 calendar days). The Dean’s Office shall inform the persons tasked with preparing the expert opinions, the faculty’s lecturers and habilitated members and the members of the faculty council of the viewing times.

Any full-time faculty member holding a professorship may submit a statement within one week (7 calendar days) after the viewing period ends.

If acceptance of the dissertation was recommended in all of the expert opinions and no justified objection against the acceptance is made to the Dean’s Office by a full-time faculty member pursuant to Section 8 of the exam regulations dated 25.11.2013 within one week of the two-week viewing period ending, the dissertation shall be accepted.

The Dean’s Office shall inform you whether the dissertation has been accepted or rejected.

The oral examination shall take place within a reasonable period of time after acceptance of the dissertation in the form of an academic defence in German or English.

Pursuant to Section 9 of the exam regulations dated 25.11.2013, the oral defence consists of two parts:

  • presentation lasting approx. 30 minutes
  • discussion lasting approx. 30 minutes about this presentation

The oral defence is public, unless you objected to this when you applied for admission to the doctoral procedure. Faculty teachers may participate regardless.

You’ll be sent an email asking you to inform the Dean’s Office of the topic of the presentation by a certain date – you can use this form for your reply. The Dean’s Office will then set the date for the oral defence and notify you and the faculty public of this date via email at least 14 days in advance, providing details of the topic.

The dean arranges the oral defence committee comprising three university lecturers and/or habilitated members of the faculty and informs them of this via email. The oral defence committee shall be appointed and the date for the oral defence set according to the supervisor’s proposal.

Please bring your laptop with you for your presentation. We recommend that you arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of your oral defence to familiarise yourself with the technical facilities.

After your oral defence, the chairperson will inform you verbally of the outcome and, if you have passed, of the grades agreed.

The Dean’s Office will also confirm the overall assessment of your doctorate in writing once you have successfully completed your oral defence and outline the regulations governing the publication of your dissertation and your entitlement to use the doctoral degree awarded.

Pursuant to Section 14 para. 1 of the exam regulations dated 25.11.2013, the doctoral degree may only be used once the doctoral procedure has ended. The doctoral procedure has only ended when the doctoral certificate has been awarded.

  1. Both assessors complete a confirmation form – if necessary, after changes have been made to the dissertation – to confirm their agreement to printing of the dissertation. The agreement to print the dissertation may be subject to certain conditions, which must be listed in the confirmation form with conditions. The revised version must be reviewed within three months. As the doctoral researcher, you collect the confirmation forms from the assessors and hand these both in at the Dean’s Office.
  2. As soon as the assessors’ confirmations are ready, you’ll receive written permission (with or without conditions) from the Dean’s Office to print your dissertation.
  3. Once permission to print has been granted, you can have the dissertation duplicated. Depending on the publication type, you must provide the following:

    a) Printing or duplication of the entire dissertation: Provide your supervisor with two bound copies of your dissertation and the University and State Library (ULB) Düsseldorf with 25 copies. Three copies are sufficient (rather than 25) if a commercial publisher is responsible for distribution via a book retailer and the publication is identified as a HHU dissertation on the reverse of the title page by means of the code “D 61”.

    b) Delivery of an electronic version of the dissertation for which the data format and medium are to be agreed with the ULB. Provide both your supervisor and the ULB with two bound copies of your dissertation. You must also transfer the rights to the ULB to produce and distribute further copies of the dissertation or to make it available in data networks within its legal obligation as a university library.
    The contact person at the ULB is Ms Kuhn (Tel: +49 211/81-13394, ).
  4. Upon delivery of the dissertations to the ULB, you will receive a receipt for the number of print copies and, where applicable, electronic version provided. When you submit your dissertation to your supervisor, they must complete a confirmation of receipt for the deposit copies. You must submit the receipts from both the ULB and your supervisor to the Dean’s Office.

The Dean’s Office will only issue your doctoral certificate once you have submitted the receipts from the ULB and your supervisor confirming that you’ve submitted the deposit copies of your dissertation. The Dean usually hands over the certificate in person. Please contact the Dean’s Office to make an appointment.

Depending on the doctoral degree you chose when you applied for admission to the doctoral procedure, the doctoral certificate will be issued in either German or English.

The doctoral procedure is deemed successfully completed and the doctorate is deemed ended with awarding of the certificate. Once your doctorate has officially ended, you have the right to use the doctoral degree.

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