PhD Process

This information is designed to help you in orientation if you intend to study at the University of Vienna in the fields of Cognition, Behavior, and Neuroscience - from Biology to Psychology and the Humanities. It is particularly helpful to those who wish to acquaint themselves with the rules of the program, how to enroll at the University of Vienna and it also gives guidance on the official forms and procedures.

Already accepted as a PhD candidate at the University of Vienna, you can find information concerning your entry to Austria and arrival in Vienna in the Welcome Guide. This guide provides useful information about setting in and living, as well as links to institutions which can support you while getting established in Austria.

1st Step: Getting a PhD position

Usually you will achieve a PhD position at the University of Vienna in a competitive assessment, either through one of our advertised and topically open VDS CoBeNe uni:docs calls, or through one of the individual PhD calls specified by the responsible group leader. As another option you bring your own funding, e.g. from your home institution, government or private sponsors. In any case, you first have to get accepted by a group leader/supervisor from the VDS CoBeNe faculty.

2nd Step: Admission to the University of Vienna

For any kind of application, you must hold a master's degree (or similar) in the intended field of research (or closely related) and accepted by a relevant supervisor. With your online application via u:space, you will select a matching curriculum and field of doctoral research. Doctorat of the University of Vienna provides all the relevant information about objectives, qualification profiles, entry requirements and ECTS needed within the study program 54, Psychology, Cognition, Behavior, and Neuroscience Directorate of Doctoral Studies.

Your application will be reviewed by the responsible Directors of Doctoral Studies Program (DSPL), please note that the processing can take several weeks. The online application is possible throughout the year. 

Please note that the admittance to the Doctoral Programme of the University of Vienna is not equal to the admittance to the VDS CoBeNe (please see step 3).

3rd Step: Getting connected with VDS CoBeNe

With your UniVie admission as a PhD candidate, the VDS CoBeNe office will guide you to the most important cornerstones of the PhD life cycle. 

In order to be enroled in the Doctoral School in Cognition, Behavior and Neuroscience, signing our Code of Good Practice VDS CoBeNe is necessary. With the agreement to the Code of Conduct and the official enrolment in the SPL-54 (study program: Psychology, Cognition, Behavior and Neuroscience) you officially become a member of Vienna Doctoral School in Cogniton, Behavior and Neuroscience. 

Get an appointment at the VDS CoBeNe office and have an individual chat with the officer. Here you can clarify if all your information is handed in, and what your next steps will be. Additionally, for new PhDs we offer regularly Welcome and Information meetings.

4th Step: Processing your PhD

  1. Your group leader/supervisor will introduce you to her/his institute/department, working group and facility.
  2. The University Vienna offers Welcome days for PhDs.
    They take place at the beginning of each winter and summer semester. At this event you will receive important information concerning the doctorate, make first contacts with established researchers and peers, and get to know the University of Vienna. 
  3. Within your second semester, organize your first Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting with 2 mentors, your supervisor and a chair (VDS CoBeNe office). The presentation in your TAC can be used as a trial run for the public presentation, see 5.
  4. Also within your first year as a PhD candidate, you are supposed to hand in your Research Proposal, and to pass a Public Presentation (FÖP) of your intended doctoral project. For this step download all necessary forms and send together with your proposal to
  5. The Doctoral Thesis Agreement between you and your supervisor will be signed within 4 weeks after the public presentation.
  6. From the second year on (12 months after your FÖP), you have to submit an Annual Progress Report to the SSC. Together with the annual report you can hand in external credits for active participation at a conference (talk or poster presentation) or a lab visits.
  7. Write a Doctoral Thesis which demonstrates your ability to master academic topics independently.
  8. For finalization and defense you will address SSC Life Sciences (for biology and neuroscience) or SSC Psychology (for psychological sciences and cognitive humanities) for handing your written thesis to external reviewers, the nomination of your thesis committee and finally your registration for the oral defense. For this step you have to send all necessary forms to the relevant SSC ( /

CoBeNe - Handbook for doctoral candidates