Why is the conversion of the doctoral programme necessary?
Following an amendment to the Universitäts-Organisationsgesetz (UG) in 2017, doctoral programmes and PhD programmes have become equivalent. Therefore, the University of Vienna implements a new admission procedure, which requires qualitative admission criteria.
Why has the University of Vienna introduced additional requirements for admission to doctoral programmes?
With this amendment to the Curriculum, the University of Vienna did not create barriers. Rather, the introduction of concrete qualitative requirements for the admission procedure aims at enabling students to study more efficiently.
This new procedure requires applicants to submit additional documents that make it easier for the University of Vienna to assess whether the applicants fulfil the entry requirements and whether they will be able to undertake the intended doctoral project. Ultimately, the new procedure aims at creating more commitment among supervisors and doctoral candidates. The University of Vienna wants to supervise its doctoral candidates as “early stage researchers” from the start.
What does this mean for me – what requirements do I have to fulfil?
The completion of a relevant master’s programme is a prerequisite for admission to the doctoral programme.
In addition, applicants have to submit a description of the intended doctoral project, a letter of motivation, as well an academic curriculum vitae. If the applicant can also provide an indication of willingness to supervise a doctoral candidate by a mentor (=potential future supervisor), admission to the doctoral programme is usually possible without any further requirements. Without such an indication, applicants may, for instance, be invited to an interview.
As of when do the admission requirements for my doctoral programme change?
The new admission period starts on 2 July 2018.
How long does the admission procedure for doctoral programmes take?
We try our best to process applications for admission to doctoral programmes as quickly as possible. The directorate of doctoral studies checks every application individually. Therefore, processing your application can take up to 12 weeks.
How many doctoral candidates are studying at the University of Vienna in total?
About 8,000, 690 of whom are enrolled in a PhD programme. In 2017, 1,500 doctoral candidates were employed at the University of Vienna. About 3,500 persons were “actively” pursuing their doctoral studies (=they obtained approval for their intended topic and supervisor). Every year, about 650 doctoral candidates complete their doctoral programme.
International comparison: In international comparison, the number of students enrolled in a doctoral programme in Austria was very high. This was associated both with long periods of study (average degree programme duration to date: 58 months, corresponding to almost 5 years), as well as with many doctoral candidates not completing their doctoral programme. For this reason, the University of Vienna aims to assess the feasibility of the intended doctoral project together with the doctoral candidate right at the beginning. This way, the University will be able to focus their services on the active doctoral candidates and improve the quality of supervision.
How many doctoral candidates start per year?
Every year, about 1,300 new doctoral candidates start their doctoral programmes.
Illustration: University of Vienna in total: Cohorts of new PhD candidates per year, including completion rates and degree programme duration, number of new PhD candidates per academic year (year group; black) and number of successful PhD candidates of the respective cohort (green), the data labels show the completion rates among the respective cohort (%) and the average degree programme duration (mean value in months).
How long does it take to complete a doctoral programme at the University of Vienna?
The degree programme duration remains at 3 years.
How is the doctoral programme structured?
The doctoral programme at the University of Vienna starts with an entry period, during which the doctoral candidates have to write a research proposal, give a public presentation at the faculty and conclude the doctoral thesis agreement. This is followed by a research period where, in addition to conducting independent research, doctoral candidates have to attend conferences and courses, acquire key competences, such as project management, presentation techniques, science communication, etc., write the doctoral thesis and submit annual progress reports. Finally, following the submission and assessment of the doctoral thesis, doctoral candidates have to pass a final oral examination (public defence).
Who can I contact if I need additional information?
With the introduction of the new admission procedure, the Center for Doctoral Studies (part of the Research Services and Career Development unit) also takes over responsibility for admission. This way, all services for doctoral candidates are grouped together at one unit. You can find all relevant information at: doktorat.univie.ac.at/en/