Step #5: Final manuscript & PhD submission

Note: it is recommended to coordinate Steps #5 & #6 simultaneously.

PhD thesis manuscript / dissertation

After the PhD period (3-4 years depending on the program), the PhD student must write their final PhD thesis manuscript (also referred to as dissertation). The supervisor(s) must provide support on the writing process including feedback and corrections in timely manner.

Details on the PhD thesis manuscript formalities can be found here:

The format of the Thesis manuscript should be agreed upon by the candidate and the supervisor. The candidate should also discuss the structure of the dissertation, which should reflect the convention of the respective disciplines.

The PhD student must agree with their supervisor whether the format of the dissertation can be:

  1. Monographic: including new, non-published text   OR
  2. Cumulative (#): stitching authored publications to the manuscript. Note that in this latter case, each publication must be accompanied by a short introduction and a note on the individual contribution of the PhD to the publication.

(#) Recommendations for formal minimum criteria for a cumulative dissertation can be found here: 

In terms of structure, recommended sections for the PhD thesis (depending on the field) are: Abstract, Introduction, Results, Analysis, Conclusions, Bibliography, and List of publications. Yet, this structure should be agreed upon the PhD student and their supervisory team and adapted to the standards of the corresponding field. Other sections (e.g., acknowledgments) are optional and under discretion of the PhD student. In all cases, PhD students are encouraged to use the official Thesis Manuscript template (SL/011 or SL/012) for the front page of their thesis.

Information on the doctoral program ID / Fields of Doctoral Research for Natural Sciences can be found here:


PhD submission

In addition to the Thesis manuscript, the PhD student and the supervisory team are responsible of submitting a series of final documents. Note that to validate this submission, the SSC will require the following documentation: (a) PhD registration (Step#1), (b) the Doctoral Thesis Agreement (Step#3), (c) a transcript of records certifying with the corresponding ECTS taken by the candidate (see Step#3), and (d) all the corresponding Annual Reports (Step#4).

The PhD submission process includes multiple steps and forms coordinated by the SSC:

  1. Propose 2 Thesis Reviewers to evaluate the PhD dissertation. The proposed reviewers must be experts on the area but not associated with the PhD. Collaborators or researchers with shared publications are excluded. The selected reviewers are invited to submit the report of the thesis within the following 4 months. The supervisory team must contact the potential reviewers in advance to verify their availability and willingness to carry out this task on the designated time. The two selected reviewers must confirm their participating by sending an email to the SSC.
  2. Proposed 3 Thesis Examiners (2 main ones + 1 replacement; ordered by priority) to SSC ( including the following documents:
    a. Assignment of the thesis committee members (SL/D3)
    b. Thesis abstract (SL/D4)
    c. CV and list of publications of the proposed examiners (upon request by the supervisory team)
    d. Informal confirmation from reviewers (e.g., email confirmation sent by supervisor)

    After that, the Studienpräses will select the best 2 examiners from the proposed list (typically in order of priority) and send them an official invitation to become part of the Defense Committee (see also Step #7). The Thesis Examiners could be the same as the Thesis Reviewers if they fulfill the eligibility criteria. According to the regulations at the Studienpräses, eligible candidates are those holding a Univ. Professorship (Ass., Assoc., Full Prof.) or equivalent, habilitated PhD holders, active ERC grant holders, and group leaders at high-quality research institutions. Exceptions to these rules must be discussed directly with the vDSPL and ultimately the Studienpräses.
  3. Send Thesis Submission Forms to SSC ( including:
    a. Doctoral Thesis Submission form (SL/D6)
    b. Upload confirmation from HOPLA (see Step#7 Plagiarism Check)
    c. Complete survey on study-related stays abroad (
    d. Transcript of record (Prüfungspass) with the required ECTS credits per branch (see Step#3 Doctoral Thesis Agreement)
  4. Send 3 hard copies of the Thesis manuscript to the SSC (ask SSC for details). After their approval, the SSC will send 2 of these copies to the corresponding reviewers.


Tasks & Duties

PhD student

  • Submit forms/documents to SSC and HOPLA
  • Send 3x hard copies of the final Thesis manuscript to SSC


  • Propose and coordinate Thesis Reviewers and Thesis Examiners
  • Collect CV and publication list

External reveiwers

  • Receive Thesis manuscript from SSC
  • Review Thesis manuscript
  • Submit assessment within 4 months (it is recommended that the supervisory team coordinates it in a shorter timescale).