PhD exam

What is to prepare before & after the PhD exam

0)  Summary first:

Handing in your thesis and preparing for the examination is regulated by the HGSFP. Start early with reading the documents and prepare to register for the final examination and handing in your thesis. The current regulations can be found at the HGSFP website.

There are several critical points involved in this, including the following.

- You may suggest your thesis examination committee, but not all combinations of examiners are allowed. Typically the committee must consist of an (1) observational astronomer,  (2) a theoretical astrophysicist, (3) a physicist, and a (4) professor from any of these fields.

- You may suggest a date for the examination, but not all dates are possible, in particular there are no exams in the semester breaks. 

- You have to provide a document that declares your participation in education (16 SWS of course attendance during PhD).

- You have to provide a document that declares your teaching activity.

- The examination is on a black board, so you better train yourselve to explain your thesis on a black board in 20 min (see pictures below).

- After the examination you have to hand in your thesis to the university library.

In the following you find information how to prepare your  1. registration for your doctoral degree exam, 2. between registration and the examination, and 3. after the examination.

This information has kindly collected and provided by former IMPRS student representative Steve Boudreault. Tell us if you experience new rules/procedures.

1) Before registration

  Here is some information about the PhD examination.

It's the student's responsibility to find the four examiners and to get an agreement with them on a date for the PhD defence. Examiners have to be from three different fields of physics/astronomy (see the list of fields in the second page of the "Registration form"). The list of potential examiners is available at the following PW-protected web page
-->   go to << Registration form for the final oral examination for the degree Dr.rer.nat. >>
-->   click on << internal pages >> just below
-->   enter username  and password
-->   << List of examiners >> is now the last option on your left.

Remember also that there is a defined schedule for registering, submitting your thesis and conducting your PhD defence. For example, for a PhD defence planned for November 19th :
* registration must be completed before the August 8th
* the finished thesis must be submitted by the September 8th 
* all documents, both from the candidate and the examiners, must be submitted to the admin office by October 6th

For example, here is the schedule for summer term 2023 can and for winter term 2023/24. At the end of this document it states that "Additional dates for examinations within term time can be organized upon request".

2) Between registration and PhD defence

Submit your thesis and all the other documents to the HGSFP administration. The complete list of documents  is given here.

You better also remind examiners
(1) to send their report and
(2) about date, time and location of you PhD examination.

3) After PhD defence

After your PhD defence, you have to do two things.

First, you have to submit your thesis to the University library, see this university link. To do this, you have to bring 4 of the 10 copies you first gave to the Dean's office before your PhD defence. Make sure that one of the 4 has the seal from the Dean. You also have to submit a PDF file of your thesis here (link is in German). It is essential that you apply the right formatting, thus the PDF/A format, see again this university link, or the following pdf info.

Upload your thesis and print the form (that requires your signature) and give this to the University library. Then, the person in charge at the library can sign the paper (see the link below) that you have published your thesis at the University library (English form), (German form).

Second, you have to do an "unregistration" at Heidelberg University (or "exmatriculate").

The following form (only available in German) can be used.

First, go to the University library and get the stamp for the exmatriculation document in the "Ausleihe" in the back left corner of the ground floor. This is done in order to prove that you don't have any books checked out from the library. Afterwards, you need to go to the "Studierendensekretariat" and go to the office that has your last name on it. You give them your form with the stamp from the library. You finally get a document that prove that you have unregistered from Heidelberg University.

If you have any new information or comments, please tell and we will add them.

The pictures below show the usual exam room ("Grosser Besprechungsraum" INF 226, 02.103), showing the black board and the view from the black board position

View from the blackboard towards the windows (examinee's view) Zoom Image
View from the blackboard towards the windows (examinee's view)
View towards the blackboard (examiners' view) Zoom Image
View towards the blackboard (examiners' view)

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