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Department of Physics

When registering for the doctoral program, all doctoral candidates automatically become members of the Dortmund Graduate School of Physics. Therefore, in addition to the usual documents, a supervision agreement and a project outline would have to be submitted.

  • Upon enrollment, a supervision agreement is concluded between the doctoral student and the supervisor. In the supervision agreement, the conditions of the doctorate are set out in writing.
  • Part of the supervision agreement is a project outline, which sets out a clear research question for the doctorate. The project outline is prepared in cooperation between the supervisor and the doctoral candidate.

Doctoral student or research assistant?

Doctoral students are enrolled as students at TU Dortmund University. At the same time, doctoral students in physics are often employed as research assistants and have an employment contract with TU Dortmund University.

Attention: This often leads to confusion! While the time as research assistant starts with the date on the employment contract, you have to register separately for the doctoral studies to become a student. This does not happen automatically. We therefore recommend all persons to register for their doctoral studies as soon as possible. Only enrolled doctoral students can earn credit points and benefit from student status.

The documents for registration can be found under Forms.

Frequently asked questions

What should be included in the project outline?

The project outline should describe the overall goal of the doctorate. Here, the question of what has been achieved in the doctorate is answered, if the doctorate goes according to plan. Likewise, other goals should be recorded here, for example, the number of papers expected or conferences attended or involvement in a larger project group. Another component should be a timeline that describes when milestones will be reached. For example, should an experiment be completed, a publication submitted, or a program written by a certain date? Is this expected at the end or before? As a last point, specify the goals for the first year. You can then refer to them in the first report.

May I deviate from the project outline?

Of course, research can and should take new and unexpected paths! Therefore, it is very normal that there are deviations. The project outline should mark out where the project should go, so that there is a good start. Likewise, the work should be put better into the frame of already exisiting work. Expectations should be communicated right at the beginning.

Do I or my supervisor have to write the project outline?

The project outline should be written in collaboration between the supervisor and the doctoral candidate. Therefore, doctoral candidates and their supervisor should definitely exchange ideas about the project outline. Supervisors have a lot of experience and also have access to some best-practice examples in Moodle.

There is already a proposal for my project, can I just submit it?

The project outline should be limited to 2 pages. Usually submitted project are much longer than this. Therefore, from a project, the above items, (i) overall goals, (ii) other goals, (iii) timeline, and (iv) first year goals should be extracted and a separate document should be created. Existing texts or paragraphs, for example from existing project proposals, are welcome to be reused.

Are there templates or examples for the project outline?

You can use this Word-Template for the project outline. Supervisor can find some examples in the  Moodle Room of the Graduate School .


After submission: procedure and time frame

After registration, the documents are first checked for completeness and compliance with the rules of the doctoral regulations and the graduateschool. The documents are then submitted to the board of the Graduate School  and the PhD board, which decides on admission to the doctoral program. This decision is sent by email. If the decision is positive, a signed confirmation for admission will be sent by email.

This confirmation can be used to register as a doctoral student at the TU Dortmund University Registrar's Office ( ). According to the doctoral regulations, this must be done within 6 weeks. Please then send us the certificate of enrollment you have received by email to the Graduate School. Enrolment in the doctoral degree program is possible at any time and is not subject to any deadlines.

How long does the process take?

As described above, the application documents go through several stages. The process alone therefore takes several days, in addition to processing times. Typically, you will receive feedback on your admission within 2-4 weeks. If additional checks of the documents are necessary, for example for documents from abroad, or in the event of unexpected absences of the aforementioned offices, the processing time may be longer.