Pursuing a PhD at the Department of History and Cultural Studies
This guide is designed to give students and graduates interested in doing a Dr. phil./PhD at the Department of History and Cultural Studies of Freie Universität Berlin some general information on the PhD procedure as laid down in the Joint Doctoral Degree Regulations for Dr. phil./PhD of Freie Universität Berlin (Gazette 60/2008 dated 2 December 2008). An English translation hereof can be found here. This guide does not claim to be complete.
Please note that new PhD regulations have been in effect since October 2020.
For admission applications submitted after October 22, 2020, the regulations according to the PhD regulations of the Department of History and Cultural Studies (PromO, FU notification 40/2020 of October 22, 2020; English version in progress) apply. The procedure mentioned below will be adapted in due time and currently still refers to the regulations of the PromO 2008, which is also applicable for the PromO 2020 for the most part (status: January 2021).
In general, you will find all applications and forms for all processes in our download area.
If the admission requirements for a PhD as stipulated in Section 3 of the Joint Doctoral Degree Regulations for Dr. phil./PhD of Freie Universität Berlin are met and an authorised supervisor has accepted the chosen dissertation topic, an application for admission to the PhD procedure may be submitted to the PhD office. Please note that only applications completed in full and with all the necessary documents attached will be processed. Applications from candidates holding a degree from a German university are processed within approx. four weeks; processing applications from candidates with a degree from a foreign university takes approx. three months. These intervals should be taken into account and applications submitted in good time.
The PhD office will forward the application for admission to the PhD committee which will then decide whether to approve admission. Applicants in receipt of a letter of admission who are not yet members of Freie Universität Berlin must enrol as PhD students within the period stipulated in the letter. Admission is for a period of four years.
PhD candidates should meet with their supervisor early on in order to ascertain whether they fulfil the foreign language requirements necessary for a PhD in their chosen subject as per the rules and regulations governing foreign language skills.
On completion, dissertations are to be submitted to the PhD office together with the form regarding the composition of the PhD commission and a effective certificate of enrolment. The PhD committee will then appoint the dissertation reviewers and the PhD commission.
After receipt of both reviews, the dissertation along with the proposed grade to be awarded is displayed for a period of two weeks (four weeks during semester break). Subsequently, the PhD commission decides whether the dissertation is to be accepted, refused or returned, whether the PhD candidate is to be admitted to the Disputation (viva-voce) and also decides on the grade of the dissertation.
The PhD candidate is responsible for organising the Disputation (date, room, technical equipment). The candidate sets the date in consultation with the members of the commission and informs the PhD office. The date of the Disputation is published in the department. After the Disputation, the PhD commission evaluates the candidate's performance and decides on the final grade. The PhD candidate receives an interim certificate containing the title of the dissertation, the individual grades of the dissertation and Disputation as well as the overall grade. This interim certificate does not authorise its holder to use a doctor title. The use of the title "Dr. des." is likewise not permitted according to the stipulations in the applicable doctoral degree regulations.
In accordance with Section 13 of the Joint Doctoral Degree Regulations for Dr. phil./PhD of Freie Universität Berlin, the dissertation is to be made accessible to the scientific community by duplication and dissemination in an appropriate manner. The PhD candidate is required to obtain approval of the text version prior to printing. Approval will be given by the chairperson of the PhD committee in agreement with the reviewers. Publication and submission must be effected within a period of two years from the date of the Disputation.
The PhD degree certificate will only be issued on notification of fulfilment of the submission obligation. The PhD degree certificate authorises its holder to use the doctor title.