Step #3: Doctoral Thesis Agreement

After the successful completion of their FÖP presentation, the candidates will receive the Doctoral Thesis Agreement sent by the SSC. After the signature of this document, the PhD candidate will be denominated PhD student, and the mentor(s) will be referred to as supervisor(s) and/or supervisory team.

Among other standard requirements, the PhD candidate, in agreement with the mentoring team, must fill up the Doctoral Thesis Agreement document including:

  • Language of the Thesis/Dissertation: English (preferred) or German
  • Expected frequency of meetings between the PhD student and supervisory team
  • Expected means of support by the supervisory team
  • Attended lectures (incl. equivalent ECTS credits) planned for the duration of the thesis
  • Additional soft skills, conferences, and schools planned to attend during the duration of the thesis
  • Total number of ECTS credits needed to earn the doctoral degree (see below)

The Doctoral Thesis Agreement must be signed by both the candidate and mentor(s), and submitted back to the SSC. After checking it, this document will be sent to the (v)DSPL for validation and its final approval.

The total number of ECTS credits required for the completion of the PhD depends on the VISESS branch: COSMOS = 24 ECTS, EARTH = 24 ECTS, ANTROPOSPHERE (Social Sciences) = 30 ECTS, ANTROPOSPHERE (Natural Sciences) = 12 ECTS. The (exact) corresponding ECTS must be earned by the PhD candidate/student by the end of the thesis period and must be reported as part of Step #6 PhD submission.

In addition to regular lectures/course offered at the University of Vienna and the VISESS Doctoral School (e.g. VISESS seminar) with designated ECTS workloads, additional equivalent ECTS credits can be obtained from active participation in external projects, international conferences, schools, and soft skill courses upon proof of participation (e.g., certificate of assistance). The final decision on the number of ECTS is made by the vDSPL following the guideline for these equivalences listed here:

Tasks & Duties

PhD student

  • Receive Doctoral Thesis Agreement from SSC via email
  • Fill up and sign the form in coordination with the supervisory team
  • Submit it back to SSC


  • Agree on terms indicated in the Doctoral Thesis Agreement
  • Sign the document


  • Receive final documentation from the SSC via email
  • Check and sign
  • Send documents back to SSC