The doctoral thesis is the central element in all doctoral programmes. The doctoral thesis proves the ability of the doctoral candidate to conduct independent scientific work on a high academic level. It shows his/her capability to comprehend and reflect the latest state of art in his/her field of research and extend this field through methodologically founded contributions. 

Due to the differences in scientific customs of the various disciplines there are no strict guidelines concerning length and form of a doctoral thesis. For the Humanities the thesis might be written in form of a monograph,  for many other disciplines a cumulative dissertation might be the preferred format. This is a compilation of several articles touching a similar topic. Crucial is to follow the standards of the own discipline, also with regard to the language, in which the thesis is written. The decision how the thesis will look like (language, form) should be discussed with the supervisor. In any case, the doctoral thesis has to comply with the international standards of the discipline.

Submission and Review of the Thesis

To complete your dissertation project you have to hand in your thesis at the respective SSC Life Sciences/SSC Psychology. This has to be done in paper and electronically. Formal requirements have to be respected. 

The thesis is presented to two reviewers. Together with your supervisor, you can suggest three experts as reviewers. Please hand in a CV and a publication list of all suggested external reviewers. The appointment of the reviewers however will be done by the Studienpräses. Please note that only in special cases the supervisor can be appointed as reviewer. If this occurs, then the second reviewer has to be external. 

Reviewers do not need to be from the University of Vienna. On the contrary, it is recommended to propose external reviewers. There is a possibility of getting travel costs of external reviewers up to € 500,00 refunded. 

The reviewers have a maximum of 4 months after the written submission of the thesis to review the thesis and write their report. Only if both reviewers submit a positive report on the thesis, the doctoral candidate can register for the public defense. If a reviewer assesses the thesis negatively then the thesis is handed to a further reviewer. If he/she also assesses the thesis negatively then the overall result is negative and the thesis has to be revised before it can be handed in again.


With the positive assessment of the doctoral thesis and when all demands of the curriculum have been met a registration for the public defense is possible, send the relevant form directly to the ssc.lebenswissenschaften@univie.ac.at / ssc.psychologie@univie.ac.at.

The public defense consists of a presentation of the central findings followed by a general discussion about the research subject with the examination commission. The exact procedure of the public defense (e.g. duration, mode of presentation etc.) varies from faculty to faculty. We therefore recommend to visit public defenses at the respective faculty prior to the own defense. 

The examination committee is proposed by the PhD candidates together with the supervisor, and chaired by by the relevant Director of the Doctoral Study Program (DSPL). It consists of at least three persons. At some faculties the supervisor is part of the committee, too. At the end of the presentation each member of the committee awards a grade for the whole examination (1-5). 

After the positively assessed public defense the academic title according to the Curriculum is awarded. The doctoral candidate has the possibility to celebrate his/her completion of the doctoral study with a conferring ceremony. During Covid-19 pandemic the public defense will be virtual.


Following templates and forms have to be used and send to ssc.lebenswissenschaften@univie.ac.at / ssc.psychologie@univie.ac.at.: