Doctoral Research at UTN

At UTN, your journey as a doctoral researcher (equivalent to a Ph.D. student) is organized along milestones, as outlined here. Each doctoral researcher conducts his or her own research (as funded by grants or by working in another capacity) and is guided by a dissertation committee of experts. In addition to your research, you will have opportunities for continuing education, enhancing your qualifications, or participating in courses and attending international conferences.

At UTN, we are dedicated to fostering a supportive and collaborative learning environment. We offer individual guidance to help you thrive and prepare you for the next stage of your professional journey. The following doctoral degrees are awarded by the University of Technology Nuremberg:

Doctor of Engineering (Dr.-Ing.),

Doctor of Natural Sciences (Dr. rer. nat.), and

Doctor of Humanities and Social Sciences (Dr. phil.).

Here you can find all our dissertation topics. You can also apply with your own ideas and projects:

A Guide to your Doctoral Degree (equivalent to a Ph.D.) at UTN

Infographic about the guide to your Doctoral Degree at UTN with Admission Procedure, Proposal Defense within one year amd Research, Defense and Publication with three years.

Step-by-step guide:

Application Process

Application

Interview and vote of the selection committee

Admission and enrollment

To apply for a position as a doctoral researcher at UTN, please send an email to stars@utn.de.
Be sure to include the following documents:

  • a personal statement that explains why you want to pursue a doctorate at UTN as well as which research area and department interests you and why;
  • a copy of your identity card or passport;
  • a complete, chronical, tabular curriculum vitae (CV) in English;
  • a certificate of your highest university degree (e.g., M.Sc. degree or 120 ECTS) or other equivalent qualification; and
  • a transcript of records, diploma supplement, or overview of courses from your highest university degree.

Please note that documents issued in German or English do not need to be translated. Documents issued in any other language must be translated by a certified translator and certified with an official seal. For the application, send only one PDF file (with the original and the translation merged).

Admission Requirements

  1. Applicants must have completed one of the following degrees with outstanding success:
    1. a master’s study program at the University of Technology Nuremberg;
    2. a study program, Master of Science (M.Sc.) or any other master’s level degree, from a German university; or
    3. a comparable degree from a foreign university.
  2. Receive an affirmative vote from the selection committee after your selection interview (see selection process).
Please note that all candidates must possess excellent written and oral English language skills. Although there are no specific standardized test scores required (e.g., IELTS or TOEFL), candidates must be able to communicate fluently in English.

Selection Process
Your application will be reviewed and assessed by members of the department in your specialty. If one or more professor(s) would be willing to advise you, the UTN School of StaRs will schedule a selection interview. You are also welcome to contact your preferred advisor before submitting your application.

Doctoral Degree Regulations
The doctoral degree regulations and policies clarify the entire process of obtaining a doctoral degree at UTN and address potential issues that may arise. As the German version of the regulations are a legally binding document for doctoral studies, please familiarize yourself with them. For English speakers, a summary of the German version will be provided here soon.

Click here to view the doctoral degree regulation/policies document (German version).

Membership in UTN School of StaRs

After the selection committee approves your admission as a doctoral researcher, you will become a member of the UTN School of StaRs. Your admission is valid for one year and will automatically extend for two additional years when you successfully defend your dissertation proposal. You are expected to complete your doctoral program within three years. In special cases, an extension of one year may be possible.

Admission as a doctoral researcher is not concurrent with enrollment as a doctoral student; however, we strongly advise all doctoral researchers to enroll as doctoral students.

Process for your Doctoral Degree

Proposal Phase

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Research

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Defense

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Proposal Phase

Once you have been accepted into the UTN School of StaRs, the following due dates and milestones apply.

  1. Within one month of your admission, please submit your suggestions for the proposal committee members, which includes your main advisor, two eligible individuals with expertise in your chosen field, and one eligible person unrelated to your field of study. It is best to talk to your advisor beforehand to discuss your options.
  2. Within six months of your admission, you must send your Doctoral Agreement, along with your course and residency plan, to the UTN School of StaRs. Use the template and forms provided by the UTN School of StaRs.
  3. Within one year after your admission, you must complete your proposal defense (defense of your dissertation proposal). Use the template provided by the UTN School of StaRs for writing the proposal. You must submit your written proposal to UTN School of StaRs at least two weeks before the defense. During the proposal defense, you will have 60 minutes to present your work and engage in a discussion with the committee (a 20-minute presentation and a subsequent 40-minute discussion). The committee will evaluate your proposal, which must include the following sections: introduction (relevance of the topic), previous work (literature review), research questions, methods (data collection and analysis methods), and timeline. The defense of the dissertation proposal will be considered successful if the majority of the proposal committee votes in favor of continuing the work.

Upon successful completion of your proposal defense, your admission to the doctoral program will be automatically extended for two more years.

If you fail the proposal defense, you have one additional opportunity. If you need more time to complete your studies, you can apply for a one-year extension of your admission. To do so, you must submit an application to the UTN School of StaRs.

Research

After passing the proposal defense, you will continue your research toward a dissertation. The exact requirements of the thesis vary by discipline. Doctoral researchers work closely with their advisor’s team to produce original research results that meet the highest standards and make significant contributions to the understanding of a specific topic of research.

You will also perform annual progress reviews jointly with your advisor(s) and the dissertation committee members. The purpose of these annual reviews is to discuss your performance and to assess whether you have made reasonable progress toward your doctoral degree. It is also an opportunity to receive constructive suggestions on how you can reach the planned goals and complete your doctoral degree within the designated time frame. Your dissertation committee, which will be formed after your proposal defense, will include your advisor, two eligible individuals with expertise in your chosen field, and one eligible person unrelated to your field of study.

In addition to your research, you receive support from StaRs and UTN to enhance professional skills, for example, through courses on quantitative and qualitative methods, good scientific practice, and other topics relevant to you. If you are focusing on a traditional dissertation (and not pursuing a three- or four-article dissertation), you should have at least two publications or two comparable seminar papers with outstanding grades.

Defense

The dissertation may be submitted as a traditional manuscript (book) or as a cumulative (three- or four-article) dissertation. Upon completion, the dissertation must be submitted to the UTN School of StaRs in electronic form through the campus management system.

The following documents are required for the submission of the dissertation:

  • a statement confirming that the dissertation used UTN principles of good scientific practice and that the applicant has completed the work independently;
  • a declaration stating that the dissertation has not been submitted in the same or similar form to another (German or other) university to obtain a doctoral degree;
  • evidence of two scientific publications or seminar papers with outstanding grades (not needed for cumulative dissertation projects);
  • the certificate of admission to the doctoral program;
  • a CV in English;
  • proof of completion of the required coursework;
  • copies of all annual progress reviews; and
  • a signed consent form for plagiarism check.

Review process

Once you have fulfilled all the requirements, the UTN School of StaRs will appoint two expert reviewers from the dissertation committee to assess your thesis. It is important to note that your advisor is not allowed to grade your dissertation.

The reviewers will be given a maximum of two months to submit their reviews, which will be either pass or fail.

Display Period

When all necessary reviews have been received, you and the dissertation committee will be notified about the display period regardless of the grade awarded to you by the reviewers. The total duration of the display period is two weeks. During the display period, all UTN staff who are authorized to do so will be allowed to read your dissertation, including the submitted reviews.

If both reviews are positive and no further objections are made by faculty members during the display period, your dissertation will be accepted.

Upon acceptance of the dissertation, the UTN School of StaRs appoints two individuals from the dissertation committee who have expertise in the relevant field, as well as one individual from another field, as the defense committee. It is important to note that your advisor is not eligible to serve as an examiner on this committee.

Dissertation Defense

The defense is a two-part process, including a presentation and a closed-door discussion, lasting approximately 90 minutes. The results of the discussion will not be made public.

The presentation, which should not exceed 20 minutes, provides a summary of the significant findings of the research. Following the presentation, all participants are allowed to ask questions.

The non-public discussion involves questions about the dissertation as well as a discussion of the results and underlying principles of the research. Meeting minutes will serve as a record of the disputation.

All members of the defense committee will decide on the outcome of the disputation, either as a pass or fail.

Publication

Within two years of passing your dissertation defense, you must make the approved version of the dissertation available to the scientific community through publication. (We highly recommend doing so within 3-6 months.) This can be achieved by submitting a digital version of the dissertation to the UTN library or by presenting a signed publishing contract.

Congratulations

Upon completing all doctoral requirements and successfully defending your dissertation, you will be awarded a doctorate degree by UTN and authorized to carry the doctorate title.

Doctoral Degree Regulations from 29. March 2023 (German version)