PhD exam

What is to prepare before & after the PhD exam

Here you find information how to prepare your 1. registration for your PhD exam, 2. between registration and the PhD defence, and 3. after the PhD defence.

This information has kindly collected and provided by former IMPRS student representative Steve Boudreault.

Status is February 2009, with a little update 2021 - this information lives from Steve's initiative and from your UPDATE.
Tell me if you experience new rules/procedures.

1) Before registration

Here is some information. about the PhD defence, with forms in English, can be found at this The same web page has an English version of the final exam application form
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 web page
--> go to << Registration form for the final oral examination for the degree Dr.rer.nat. >>
--> click on << internal pages >> just below
--> username is "gradstudent" and password is "zG=4tk?2"
--> << 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 instance, for a PhD defence planned for 19th November:
* registration must be completed before the 8th August
* the finished thesis must be submitted by the 8th September
* all documents, both from the candidate and the examiners, must be submitted to the admin office by 6th October

For example the schedule for summer term 2009 can be found here as pdf file At the end of this document it states that "Additional dates for examinations within term time can be organized upon request", so you *should* be able to take your defence, for instance, in February 2009, or be able to changes dates. However, unfortunately, so far no student succeeded to convince the faculty to allow an exception from the normal dates.

2) Between registration and PhD defence

Submit your thesis and all the other documents to the administration. The complete list of documents to give to the administration is given here, at "(4) List of all documents ..."

You can also send emails to the examiners to remind them
(1) to send their report and
(2) the date, time and location of you PhD examination.

3) After PhD defence

When you recover from your PhD defense, 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 copies 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 special stamp from the Dean's office. You also have to submit a PDF file of your thesis here. 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"). I'm aware that there are (maybe) people sho didn't do this and seem to have no problems at all. However, if the question is << Do we have to do an "unregistration"? >> then the answer seems to be yes, based on the rules.

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 "Studentensekretariat" and go to the office that has your last name on it, which is different depending on whether you are from Germany or not. You give them your form with the stamp from the library that prove that you don't have any books checked out from the library. You finally get a document that prove that you have unregistered from Heidelberg University.

This is all. If there is something I have forgotten, or if you have any new information or comments, please add them.

Good luck for your thesis defence (and thesis writing for those in that step).

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