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Doctoral Examination Office

Habelschwerdter Allee 45
Building Silberlaube
Room KL 24/230
14195 Berlin
Monic Sauer und Silke Witte
838-61563 (Mrs. Sauer) und 838-55783 (Mrs. Witte is not in office)

Office hours

Wednesdays 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. (appointments needed for personal deliveries)

The university provides regularly updated information on the measures that are being taken to help prevent the spread of Covid-19: Infomation regarding the Corona Pandemic

Scheduled Doctoral Committee Meetings

The deadline for submission of required documents is…”


... the following doctoral committee meeting

Monday, October 18, 2021


Thursday, October 21, 2021

Monday, December 6, 2021


Thursday, December 9, 2021

Monday, February 7, 2022


Thursday, February 10, 2022

Doctoral Committee

Members of the Doctoral Committee

Please note: Currently, the oral examination (Disputation) can still take place on site. However, because of the pandemic situation we recommend using an online format via Webex. If you are planning to hold your oral examination online, you will need to submit an informal request to the examinations office along with the written consent of all members of the doctoral commission (as a single document) via E-Mail.

For important information, forms, and regulations, please see the documents listed below. Documents are in German unless otherwise stated: Information on Doctoral Study at the Department of Education and Psychology

Students and graduates who are interested in applying for a doctorate within the Department of Education and Psychology at Freie Universität Berlin can find more information about formal requirements of the doctoral degree program in the Joint Doctoral Degree Regulations for the Degree of Dr. phil./PhD at Freie Universität Berlin (FU-Mitteilungen /2008 of December 2, 2008) and the Doctoral Degree Regulations for the Degree of Dr. rer. nat./PhD at Freie Universität Berlin (FU-Mitteilungen /2016 of August 8, 2016).

  • Applying for doctoral study
  • Creating a research schedule
  • Admission to a doctoral degree program and formal start of doctoral study
  • Submitting a dissertation and general doctoral procedure
  • Consultation period
  • Oral examination (Disputation)
  • Obligation to publish and deposit the dissertation
  • General information
Applying for Doctoral Study

A doctoral degree from the Department of Education and Psychology can be awarded as one of two titles, Dr. phil. or Dr. rer. Nat., for degrees completed within either psychology or education. The doctoral committee decides to which degree each candidate shall be admitted, depending on the subject and methodology.

If a candidate meets all the requirements for admission to a doctoral degree under Section 3 of the respective regulations, and an academic supervisor with the right to carry out examinations has agreed to supervise the dissertation, an application for admission to a doctoral degree can be submitted pursuant to the respective regulations pertaining to the degree of Dr. phil. or Dr. rer. nat.

Please note that your application can only be processed if it is filled out completely and accompanied by all required or necessary documents. If your previous degree was obtained in Germany, the turnaround time for processing the application will be around 4 weeks. Applicants with non-German degrees can expect to receive a decision within around 3 months. Please keep this in mind when considering the timeframe of your application.

You must submit the following supporting documents with your application for doctoral study. Scanned documents are accepted for applications submitted electronically.

- Consent to the doctoral procedure and supervisor’s declaration of willingness to supervise your dissertation

- A research schedule(max. 16 A4 pages) with a realistic timetable listing all the work done so far since the actual beginning of the doctoral degree, in chronological order and dated to show what work was done when

- Copies of degree certificates and if required, evidence of having obtained at least 300 credit points in a relevant subject area, e.g., through a transcript of records 

- Proof of language proficiency where required (e.g., for degrees/dissertations to be completed in English)

- Proof of scholarship or grant /membership of a research school if applicable

The application for admission to the doctoral study program will be passed to the doctoral committee by the examinations office. The committee overlooks the selection process. Candidates who are not already members of Freie Universität Berlin and receive notice of admission to a doctoral degree must enroll as doctoral students by the deadline stated in the notification. From the date of notification, you are admitted into the doctoral study program for a period of four years.

For binational doctorates (“cotutelle” format), please contact Dr. Markus Edlerat the Dahlem Research School for further into the doctoral study program.

Creating a Research Schedule

We recommend that you structure your research schedule as follows:

  1. Title of dissertation, address, date
  2. A short abstract should precede the research schedule. The timetable set out in the research schedule should list all the work done so far since the formal start of your doctoral study, in chronological order and dated to show what work was done when.
  3. Table of contents
  4. Overview of existing research on the chosen topic, including international research
  5. Your research hypotheses
  6. Methodology (e.g., for empirical research: random sample, methodological toolbox, experiment design, data analysis, processes and procedures)
  7. Timetable for each stage of the work
  8. Bibliography

Each candidate should submit a supervisor declaration and research schedule together with the application for admission to the doctoral procedure. The doctoral committee will assess whether the research schedule indicates that the work is likely to meet scientific standards. The committee should give a provisional indication of problems, if any, that are likely to emerge in the course of the work. These concerns, however, are not intended to indicate anything about the quality of the work in the future and are not meant to influence the supervision or later assessment of the work. If the research schedule is returned to the candidate for revision and re-submission, this should be understood in the context of the committee’s advisory function.

Admission to a Doctoral Degree Program and Initial Procedures

An admission to doctoral study is conditional upon the submission of a research schedule and the consent of a professor or a researcher who holds a Habilitation to supervise the dissertation. 

If the doctoral degree is to be supervised and assessed by persons who are not full professors in the department, these additional conditions apply:

At least one evaluator must be a full professor in the Department of Education and Psychology pursuant to Section 8.2 of the respective doctoral degree regulations. Usually, the supervisor must be a professor in the department (Section 6.3 of both sets of regulations). In principle, the dissertation supervisor should also be appointed to evaluate the dissertation (Section 8.2 of both sets of regulations). Even if the supervisor ceases to be a member of Freie Universität Berlin, they retain the right to supervise a dissertation that has already been started until its completion, and to act as a member of the doctoral commission with voting rights, for a time period of three years.

The the above stated regulations do not apply in cases where the doctoral degree is to be supervised by a person who is not a full professor in the department. These may be professors, directors, heads of research groups/independent junior research groups and members of other universities, or of universities of applied sciences, research institutes and educational establishments with equivalent qualifications, as well as heads of research groups financed through third-party funding based at Freie Universität Berlin.

Such persons may request from the department’s doctoral committee the right to act as supervisors or evaluators for a proposal submitted by an applicant for a doctoral degree within the department, or the right to act as evaluators for the respective doctoral degree, whereby they shall be granted the rights and incur the obligations of an assistant professor (nebenberufliche*e Hochschullehrer*in) of the department. The doctoral committee shall determine whether the person requesting such status is eligible. If this initial requirement is met, the committee shall then determine on a case-by-case basis whether the person shall be granted the right to supervise, assess, or examine the respective candidate.

If the decision is positive:

(a) the external supervisor will also be appointed as a member of the doctoral commission;

(b) the other evaluator must be a full member of the department teaching faculty and must be named in the application for admission to a doctoral degree by the doctoral candidate.

Submitting a Dissertation and Timetable for the Doctoral Procedure

When the dissertation is complete, it must be submitted to the examinations office together with the proposed doctoral commission members form.

The dissertation must be submitted to the examinations office in six bound copies and also in electronic format as a PDF to promotion@ewi-psy.fu-berlin.de. One bound copy remains at the examinations office. The other five copies are to be given by the candidate to each of the five members of the doctoral commission. The doctoral committee will then formally appoint the evaluators for the dissertation and the doctoral commission. Please ensure you insert the proposed doctoral commission members form as a loose sheet in the copy of the dissertation remaining with the examinations office.

Please note that the six bound copies do not need to be identical in terms of format. For example, you can submit two copies in color printed on one side only for the two evaluators, plus four basic copies (two-sided print, grayscale) for the other members of the commission. Please ensure, however, that each copy includes an abstract in English and German and a signed declaration of authorship!

If other persons have contributed work directly to the dissertation (e.g., if parts of the work have previously been published as co-authored articles or similar), the extent of their contribution and relevant sections must be clearly indicated in the declaration. Their names should be stated and their contribution should be disclosed as precisely as possible. Such contributions could include, for example, (a) the use of findings or excerpts from texts from research works supervised by the doctoral candidate, (b) co-authored publications that are included as part of the dissertation (in this case, the proportion of work contributed by each co-author must be indicated in a quantifiable form), or (c) collaborative work where research hypotheses or methodological tools have been developed, and/or data has been collected, jointly with other members of a research project or research partnership; in this case, the project and its funders should also be named.

Consultation Period

Once both evaluators’ reports have been submitted, the dissertation and suggested grades are to be made available for consultation for a period of two weeks when classes are in session (four weeks when classes are not in session, “vorlesungsfreie Zeit”). Following the consultation period, the doctoral commission shall decide whether the dissertation is to be accepted, rejected, or returned for revision and whether the doctoral candidate is to be admitted to the oral examination (Disputation). In conclusion the doctoral commission determines the grade determine the grade to be awarded for the dissertation.

Oral Examination (Disputation)


The doctoral candidate is responsible for organizing the Disputation (the date, room, any technical equipment, etc.). They must agree on the date and time with the members of the doctoral commission before informing the examinations office.

The first evaluator (or their administrative office) issues the invitation to the Disputation to the members of the commission, together with the evaluators’ reports. The examinations office is to be informed at promotion@ewi-psy.fu-berlin.de.


Usually, the Disputation takes place while classes are in session (“in der Vorlesungszeit”). The date and time must be agreed upon with the members of the doctoral commission. The first evaluator issues the invitation to the Disputation stating the date, time, place, and room where it is to be held. The first evaluator must send the invitation and both evaluations to the members of the doctoral commission.

The invitation must be sent by email to the examinations office at promotion@ewi-psy.fu-berlin.de.

Following the Disputation, the doctoral commission will meet to grade the Disputation and subsequently decide on the overall grade grade for the doctoral degree. Once the doctoral commission has determined the overall grade, the candidate will receive an interim certificate stating the title of the dissertation, the individual grades for the dissertation and the Disputation, and the overall grade for the doctoral degree. The interim certificate does not entitle the candidate to use the title of “Doctor” or “Doctor designatus” (Dr. Des.) under the applicable doctoral degree regulations.

Obligation to Publish and Deposit the Dissertation

Pursuant to Section 13 of the Joint Doctoral Degree Regulations for the Degree of Dr. phil./ PhD or Dr. rer. nat./PhD at Freie Universität Berlin, the dissertation must be made available and accessible to an academic audience through copying and distribution. Before it is printed, the doctoral candidate must obtain permission to print the version of the text that is to be published. Permission is granted by the chairperson of the doctoral committee in agreement with the evaluators. The publication and deposit of the dissertation must take place within two years from the date of the Disputation.

Required Publication Formats and Number of Copies to Be Submitted:

Printed book:       35 bound copies
Microfiches:         20 + one master fiche + three bound printed copies
Printed publication:   Three bound copies
Online dissertation:   One electronic version plus two printed copies of the same text

Further information can be obtained from the university publications office (Dissertations Department).

The doctoral certificate will be issued to the candidate following confirmation that they have fulfilled their obligation to deposit the dissertation. The doctoral candidate may use the doctoral title from the moment of receipt of the certificate and not before!

Further information