Main content

Doctoral Examination

Accordion. Press Tab to navigate to entries, then Enter to open or collapse content.



Can members of the DK be present during the entire doctoral examination, (section 7.4 of new Additional Provisions?)

No. To be precise, we distinguish between 3 parts:

  1. public presentation, open to everybody
  2. closed part, also accessible to DK-members
  3. discussion and final evaluation, solely for nominated members of the examination committee, i.e. thesis supervisor, co-examiners and chairperson

At the sole discretion of the chairperson and under exceptional circumstances only, can a non-member of the DK be granted access to part 2 provided he/she is an invaluable expert of the doctoral student’s PhD topic.



Can I register at the Rectorate for my Doctoral Examination before the written reports of my examination committee have arrived?

Yes. These are independent processes.
Please note, however, that you must submit a pdf of your thesis and the “Declaration of Your Personal Contribution” to the Doctoral Administration D-BAUG no later than 6 weeks prior to your doctoral examination. (section 7 of Additional Provisions

Can I do my registration for the doctoral examination by mail?

You can. -- However, we recommend that you only use this service if you do your thesis outside ETH and/or live abroad.
There are always important exam preparation details to be discussed at the D-BAUG Doctoral Administration office, and the Doctoral Administration of the Rectorate has to verify several aspects of your printed exam copy. In any case, if you do plan to register by mail, carefully study all relevant details and use the address on the far right.


My working contract ends in August but my defence will be in November: Do I still have to get matriculated for the autumn semester?

Yes! Otherwise the promotion request for your doctoral thesis cannot be processed.

Department Conference and Award Ceremony

Accordion. Press Tab to navigate to entries, then Enter to open or collapse content.


Which DK?

After my doctoral examination (in April), I now have substantial corrections to make. Can my promotion be approved at a later Department Conference (DK) or does it have to be at the DK succeeding my examination, i.e. end of May?

It can be at a later DK. However, no later than 6 months after your doctoral examination date. (Art. 10 a) Rector’s Implementation Provisions)

Which Award Ceremony?

Can I attend the award ceremony once my promotion got approved at the Department Conference (DK)?

No. The Rectorate has clear-cut submission deadlines for deposit copies in conjunction of upcoming award ceremonies. Please refer to ”Final Steps”, bottom part of page, and check submission deadline in grey box.

Research Plan (RP)

Accordion. Press Tab to navigate to entries, then Enter to open or collapse content.



Is it true that research plans with a scheduled duration of 3 years are no longer being accepted by the Doctoral Committee?

No. The plan can also envisage a duration of only 3 years. However, the average time to complete a dissertation at ETH and D-BAUG is more than 4 years. So, completing a doctorate in 3 years may be unrealistic unless special circumstances apply. So, if the time table just spans 3-3.5 years, an explicit statement needs to be given in the research plan, justifying the feasibility of completing the doctorate in significantly less than average time.

Presentation of Research Plan

Are there any specifics with regard to the presentation of my research plan?

No, currently not. – However, implementation of the provisions under section 3.2 is closely evaluated by the Doctoral Committee D-BAUG.

Duties beyond Doctoral Thesis

Which level of detail is required for the description of activities/duties beyond work on the doctoral thesis (teaching obligations and further obligations)?

This description should clarify which other duties/activities have been agreed upon by the supervisor and the student, and should show whether there will be enough time to complete the doctoral thesis within the planned time frame. If there are activities which may require considerable time, indicate the average percentage of working time which will be collectively spent on activities beyond the doctoral thesis.

Anticipated Publications

Do I have to include abstracts of the anticipated publications?

No. Just document which publications are anticipated/planned and how they will relate to the dissertation in terms of content and timing.

Length of RP

The total length of my research plan should be 4-8 pages. Is this including the signature page and the references?

No, these are counted separately.


The deadline for my research plan is more than 12 months after I got matriculated as a doctoral student. Why?

This is the case if you first had to pass qualifying exams.

I’ve submitted my research plan a month ago but the deadline in myStudies is still visible. Has it not been approved?

Research plans are reviewed by the Doctoral Committee on the occasion of its quarterly meetings. – See dates in grey box (far right, lower part of website)

Credit Points

Accordion. Press Tab to navigate to entries, then Enter to open or collapse content.


Outside Field of Study

At least one third of my credit points need to be outside my field of studies. What exactly does that mean?

If you’re e.g. doing a thesis in Geomatics, courses taken in the field of Civil Engineering are considered “outside your field of studies”

Overview in MyStudies or on a transcript?

I have gained credits at a summer school but they do not show up in MyStudies. Why?

Credit points of external courses are treated separately and will be added up at the end of your doctorate. Your 12 credit points will be confirmed on the registration form for your doctoral examination.

Do all grades for credit points show up in the final transcript? – I’ve failed one lecture.

No. You get your doctoral certificate, and it comes without a transcript.


Accordion. Press Tab to navigate to entries, then Enter to open or collapse content.


Nomination / Registration

How can I register my co-examiners?

An official request needs to be submitted by your thesis supervisor. See section 4 and 4.4. of the Additional Provisions D-BAUG.


Skype possible?

One of my co-examiners cannot come to my defence. Can he/she participate via Skype?

No. Skype is not allowed. – You need to organize a video conference and observe the “Directive on the Physical Presence of the Examination Committee at Doctoral Examinations”.

Please make arrangements well ahead of time since there will be a test run with your "beamed-in" co-examiner.


Requirements of Co-Examiner's Report

What are the special requirements for a written report by my co-examiners?

They are listed on our information sheet and will be communicated to the members of your examination committee (i.e. supervisor and co-examiners) by the Doctoral Administration D-BAUG upon submission of the pdf of your thesis.

Can one of my co-examiner reports be in German?

In general, the reports need to be in the same language as the thesis.

Submission of Doctoral Thesis as a Pdf (= Exam Version)

Accordion. Press Tab to navigate to entries, then Enter to open or collapse content.


6 weeks or 12 working days?

Do I have to submit the pdf of my thesis 6 weeks before the exam or is it 12 working days?

It is 6 weeks for the documents to the Doctoral Administration D-BAUG. (See Checking List.) The 12 working days apply to the exam registration process at the Doctoral Administration of the Rectorate (main building, ETH centre).

Paper Copy to Co-Examiners?

Should I send a paper copy of my thesis to all co-examiners and the chairperson?

No. – As of 1st July 2016, the Doctoral Administration D-BAUG will send a pdf-version of your thesis to all members of the examination committee (section 7 of Additional Provisions D-BAUG).

Thesis Number

Is it a problem if I don’t have my dissertation number for the cover page of my thesis at the time of registration?

No, not before you register. You will get the number from the Rectorate when you register for your doctoral examination.
(The only elements essential for the cover page are listed in the Appendix 2 of The Rector’s Implementation Provisions on the Ordinance on Doctoral Studies ETH Zurich. ) The thesis number must appear, however, on your deposit copies.

Language of CV

Can my CV be in German when my thesis is in English?

No. Mixing languages is not allowed.

Title Change

The title of my thesis has changed since you confirmed the credit points on the registration form for my doctoral examination. Can I still change it?

Yes, on the form you may change it by hand.  However, please note that no title changes are permitted after your promotion was approved by the Department Conference. See chapter “Final Steps”.

Doctoral Examination Passed

Accordion. Press Tab to navigate to entries, then Enter to open or collapse content.



Can I get a confirmation letter that I passed my doctoral examination, so I can apply for jobs?

Yes, please contact Ms. Karin Schneider. -- Note, however, that this is a confirmation by the Department, thus only of value ad interim, i.e. until you receive written confirmation by the Doctoral Administration of the Rectorate.
(Letter sent out on graduation date, not to be confused with graduation day, i.e. award ceremony.)

For details and dates, please refer to the chapter "Final Steps".

Deposit Copies

Accordion. Press Tab to navigate to entries, then Enter to open or collapse content.



When do I have to hand in my deposit copies?

You will receive a letter by the Doctoral Administration of the Rectorate, listing all further steps after the D-BAUG Department Conference’s approval of your promotion. The letter lists the exact deadline for your deposit copies. This important letter reaches you approximately 10 days after the Department Conference.
Every single element of this complex process is fully described under ”Final Steps”. Please have a careful read through!

Page URL: https://www.baug.ethz.ch/en/doctorate/faq.html
Thu Aug 17 02:07:23 CEST 2017
© 2017 Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich