Organising your doctorate

Circumstances and other conditions under which the research was begun often change over the course of a doctorate, but the time available for your work is limited. This page provides a range of useful information to help you organise your doctorate effectively.

Binational Doctorate - Cotutelle Doctorates

A cotutelle programme allows you to obtain a joint doctorate from two different universities in two different countries for one thesis based on research at both institutions. A cooperation agreement that is binding for all parties involved creates the framework for a successful cotutelle process, leading to the award of a cotutelle doctoral degree.

Cotutelle can be a particularly attractive option for doctoral students who

  • wish to establish academic ties in both countries;
  • have yet to decide on the country in which they wish later to work;
  • wish to work on binational projects;
  • have a research focus that is closely linked to the other country

You can find more information about cotutelle programmes and a range of useful documents such as a checklist and a template cotutelle agreement on the International Office pages.

Certificate of Attendance for doctoral courses

To allow your attendance at doctoral courses classes to be documented in the QIS portal, you need to register via myStudy for the class you wish to attend. Six months after the end of the given semester at the latest, you can then see a list of completed classes in the QIS portal.

Successful participation in the four doctoral modules are worth a total of 25 credit points. You must complete one class in each of the four modules Scientific Practice/Ethics, Philosophy of Science and Research Methods. On the Subject-specific Research Colloquium module, you must attend a total of two sessions. You are awarded 5 credit points for each class you pass.

When you submit your thesis, you must demonstrate that you have passed all the modules. You can generate a PDF listing all your achievements/credits under "Exams extract" in QIS. You then submit a printout of that PDF together with your thesis and the other documents required to your dean's office; doctoral students of the Faculty of Sustainability submit their thesis and accompanying documents to Student Services.

Contact person in Student Service

  • Maire-Linda Grünewald

Changes to personal details

Doctoral students have an obligation to notify us of any changes to the information provided upon enrolment without delay.

In the event of address and name changes in particular, you should notify the relevant administrator at Student Services immediately to ensure that you receive important programme documents. To allow us to contact you more quickly, you should also provide your landline or mobile phone number.

To ensure that you receive all documents directly and in time, you have the option of changing some details yourself in Qis. Qis allows you to change your semester address and your telephone number. For all other details, please request any changes from Student Services using the relevant form.

Please note that in the case of a name change, we require the application and the document certifying the change of name.

In the event of changes of name or address, you will need to notify your competent dean's office as well as Student Services.

Forms of the Student Service

Contact person in Student Service

  • Maire-Linda Grünewald

Colloquium Presentation

In addition to completing the doctoral courses, all doctoral students present their own research project at least twice in front of at least two supervisors at their doctoral research group according to § 6 para. 4 of the doctoral regulations. Those supervisors need not necessarily be their own supervisors. The presentations are generally in the second and third year of the doctorate and take the form of colloquium presentations at a research colloquium. Presentations are assessed by the supervisors and can be repeated once if you fail.

You submit confirmation that you have successfully presented your thesis project to Student Services for documentation in QIS.

The presentations are only displayed in QIS after you have completed both.

Form: Certificate of presenting the doctoral project

Contact person in Student Service

  • Maire-Linda Grünewald

Course Catalogue

The course catalogue is published on myStudy, Leuphana University of Lüneburg’s web-based service platform, four weeks prior to the start of the teaching period. The user guide on the myStudy homepage explains how to set up a user account, create your timetable online and register for courses. The number of participants may be limited for some courses. Therefore, make sure that you read the course catalogue for the upcoming semester in good time. As soon as you have registered in myStudy and have set "Promotionsstudium [YOUR FACULTY] / doctoral courses [YOUR FACULTY] (Promotion / doctorate)" as your programme of study and your doctoral research group as your subject in your profile, you will automatically start receiving the degree programme newsletter and/or information for your research group.

Cumulative Thesis

In a cumulative doctorate, the thesis consists of at least three academic articles or manuscripts and a framework paper. The framework paper helps to put the academic articles and manuscripts in the context of the research question. The quality requirements for a cumulative thesis are the same as for a monograph thesis.

You will find the specific minimum standards for cumulative theses at Leuphana in the Doctoral Regulations. Some faculties issue guidelines on cumulative theses to set out the specific requirements for particular subjects and doctorates.

Whether or not a cumulative thesis is a sensible option often depends on the subject and is a question that should be discussed with your supervisor.


Once you have successfully passed your thesis defence (completed your doctorate), you will be automatically de-registered with effect from the date of the defence. In this case, de-registration with effect from the end of the semester is only possible following an application to this effect; any fees due must have been paid.

If you do not wish to complete your doctorate at Leuphana University, please submit an application for de-registration without delay. Otherwise, you will be de-registered by Student Services if you have failed to re-register.

Form for de-registration

Application for de-registration

Contact person in Student Service

  • Maire-Linda Grünewald

Doctoral Board

Responsibility for running all doctoral programmes and examination procedures lies with the five faculties. The faculties appoint the members of the doctoral boards, whose role is

  • to assess the applications received on their academic merits and approve applicants;
  • to assign successful applicants to one of the doctoral research groups;
  • to decide on applications for extensions;
  • to decide on applications for a change of doctoral regulations or doctoral research group;
  • to appoint the reviewers' committee for assessing your thesis.

Information on the dates of meetings and members of the doctoral boards is available here:

Doctoral Defence

The doctoral defence is the verbal defence of your doctoral thesis. It is your opportunity to present your research findings, to defend those findings by responding to criticism and to engage with opposing views on a sound theoretical basis. The content of the doctoral defence thus builds on your thesis topic; you should also draw on the written reviewers' reports. It is also possible for doctoral defences to extend to related areas of the field in question.

Doctoral defences are in German or English and are generally held four weeks after acceptance of the thesis. The date and time are set by the chair of the reviewers' committee. Doctoral candidates open the c. 90-minute doctoral defence with a presentation lasting 20 to 30 minutes.

A meeting of the reviewers' committee is held immediately after the defence to decide on the result and award.
You can find more information on the doctoral defence, including the option of organising a doctoral defence as a secure video/online conference, in the doctoral regulations.

Preparation for the doctoral defence

For doctoral candidates just about to complete their thesis or who have just completed their thesis, regular doctoral defence courses are offered through GradSkills (category researching). The course is structured like a workshop and is designed to offer scope for participants' own thesis defence preparation alongside the necessary input phases. This opportunity for suggestions and feedback from a large group should allow you to test the approaches you have developed in front of an audience and to familiarise yourself with the unpredictable "question situation" of a thesis defence.

Doctoral Regulations

Please read the Doctoral Regulations carefully as they are the legal basis for your doctorate. The Doctoral Regulations set out in detail the applicable prerequisites and procedures for doctorates at Leuphana University of Lüneburg. The Doctoral Regulations define:

  • the admission requirements,
  • the procedure for thesis submission,
  • the thesis defence procedure and
  • criteria for thesis publication

The Doctoral Regulations also describe the structure of the doctoral courses and the responsibilities of the doctoral boards, reviewers’ committees and doctoral research groups at Leuphana University of Lüneburg.

Doctoral Research Groups

When accepted for a doctorate, each candidate becomes a member of a doctoral research group. The thematic focuses of the research groups are based on Leuphana's four key research areas: education, culture, sustainability, and management and entrepreneurship.

Switching doctoral research groups
In accordance with the doctoral regulations, the supervisor decides on any change of research group in consultation with the doctoral board. You and your supervisor should submit an application for the change to the competent doctoral board through the dean's office. There is no set form for such applications.

Doctoral Student Council

The Doctoral Student Council ("Promovierendenvertretung") is a university body and its members attend meetings of the Faculty Councils and Senate in an advisory capacity. The Doctoral Student Council advises on questions and needs concerning doctoral students and makes recommendations to the university bodies.

Currently elected members are:

  • Esther-Marie Verbücheln for Faculty of Education
  • Felix Fink for Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Maximilian Wagenknecht for Faculty of Mangement and Technology
  • Simon Norris for Faculty of Sustainability
  • Jan Dorwig for School of Public Affairs

Doctoral students can contact the Council members via the following e-mail:

Doctorate and Family

Family Services at the Office for Equal Opportunities can help you with questions on studying for a doctorate whilst meeting family obligations, and provide information on childcare options. For example, up to eight children of Leuphana students or employees can be looked after by childminders at the "Villa Milchzahn" child daycare centre.

The "GradKids" parent and child study room at the Graduate School allows you to take your child on campus with you for work at short notice or for brief periods without having to organise childcare. The room can be used both for individual study in the presence of your child/children and for group work, meetings and consultations Graduate School staff. The key for the room can be collected from the Family Services office, which should be contacted in advance.

Studentenwerk OstNiedersachsen also runs two child daycare centres of its own at Leuphana. Support is also available from the EliStu student project, which organises childcare and advises and connects student parents.


For all questions on enrolment, please contact Leuphana Student Services.

Once you have been accepted, you will need to complete the formal enrolment process at Student Services. You will find the deadline for enrolment in the documents that were sent to you with the acceptance letter. Generally, the deadline is 14 days after receipt of the documents.

You must be enroled for the entire duration of the doctorate. You cease to be enrolled when you pass your doctoral defence.

Contact person in Student Service

  • Maire-Linda Grünewald

Extension of Admission

The Doctoral Regulations provide for initial admission to the doctoral programme for four years. If you do not complete your doctorate within this period, an extension of one or more years may be granted. Please submit an application to your doctoral board if you wish an extension. There is no set form for such applications. Your application must include a brief outline of the reasons for your requested extension, and approval from your supervisor. The dean’s office of your faculty will take receipt of your application and pass it on to the competent doctoral board. You will receive written notification of whether or not the extension has been granted.

Good Scientific Practice

What are the rules for good scientific practice? How should the members of a university deal with cases of academic misconduct?

You can find information about the ombudspersons and members of the Ethics Committee and the "Richtlinie der Leuphana Universität Lüneburg zur Sicherung guter wissenschaftlicher Praxis und zum Verfahren zum Umgang mit wissenschaftlichem Fehlverhalten" [Guidelines for Ensuring Good Academic Practice and Dealing with Academic Misconduct at Leuphana University of Lüneburg"] or Ethics Guidelines on the pages about Research at Leuphana.


You will be awarded the title of doctor if your thesis is accepted and your doctoral defence is successful.

The overall grade of your doctorate is based on the evaluation of both your thesis and your doctoral defence. The thesis is worth three quarters and your doctoral defence one quarter of your final award.

The following doctoral levels are awarded:

  • excellent ("ausgezeichnet", summa cum laude; 0 to 0,5)
  • very good ("sehr gut", magna cum laude; 0,6 to 1,5)
  • good ("gut", cum laude; 1,6 to 2,5)
  • satisfactory ("befriedigend", rite; 2,6 to 3,5)

Requirements for Leave of Absence

You can obtain leave of absence up to the end of the re-registration period - within one month after the start of lectures in exceptional cases - upon written application. 

Even during leave of absence, you remain a member of Leuphana University Lüneburg and maintain student status. However, you are not authorised to perform work and assessments in this time. Semesters spent on leave are not recognised as semesters of the programme.

In each degree programme, leave of absence is permitted for full semesters only and generally for a maximum of two consecutive semesters only. Leave of absence for the first semester of the programme and preceding semesters are NOT permitted!

Exception: leave of absence for 4 semesters
If you wish to be on leave of absence for more than four semesters during the duration of study of a degree programme, you must provide proof of an important reason. Important reasons are in particular:

  • health reasons,
  • period of study spent abroad,
  • completion of an internship provided for in the curriculum or in the Examination Regulations that is not part of the degree programme,
  • activity in academic or student organisations,
  • family reasons (e.g. pregnancy/child rearing).

Fees during leave of absence
Pursuant to section 1 and 3 of the Studentenwerk Regulations of 14/05/2014,  Leuphana University Lüneburg charges only the Studentenwerk contribution.

Under certain conditions, you can apply to the Studentenwerk for exemption from the Studentenwerk contributions. For information on this, please contact Studentenwerk OstNiedersachsen, Munstermannskamp 3, Lüneburg, postcode 21335.

In the case of applications submitted later, the semester contribution that has already been paid is reimbursed only if the application is received by Student Services before or within one month after the start of lectures. In addition to the application, the student card, if already issued, including the semester ticket and all confirmation documents must have been received within the period indicated above.

Withdrawal of leave of absence
Leave of absence can be withdrawn up to one month after the start of lectures.

Form: Application Leave of Absence

Contact person in Student Service

  • Maire-Linda Grünewald

Leuphana Card

The Leuphana Card is your cafeteria card, your library card and has a payment function for printouts and photocopies. All students enrolled at Leuphana can use the card. Learn more at: Leuphana Card

Printing Costs

Unfortunately, Leuphana University cannot subsidize the printing costs for the publication of your thesis. If necessary, you can find support through the service point "Electronic Research Funding Information (ELFI)". Leuphana University has subscribed to ELFI for its members.
From the campus network or via a VPN tunnel to the Leuphana network, the service is therefore fully available for targeted research

Programme Student Council

The Programme Student Council is a student body and represents the interests of doctoral students of all faculties. In addition, the Programme Student Council organises various events for networking among doctoral students. Information on these activities can be found in the newsletter of the Programme Student Council, which can be subscribed via myStudy, or on their website.

Doctoral students can contact the Council members via the following e-mail address:

Publication of the Doctoral Thesis

Your thesis must be published within one year of your successful doctoral defence and thus the completion of your doctorate. The form and number of deposit copies to be submitted to the library depends in part on whether your thesis is cumulative or a monograph. You will find the exact provisions governing publication of your thesis in the Doctoral Regulations.

Please also note the publication information on the library pages, where you will also find the form for submitting electronic theses.

The library will issue you with proof of publication once you have submitted your deposit copies. To receive your doctoral certificate, please submit the proof of publication to your dean's office. The issue of your doctoral certificate signals the end of your doctoral studies and entitles you to use the title of doctor.

Contact Library

  • Karen Heckmann

Recognition of external credits

If you wish to have credits obtained in classes at other institutions recognised towards your doctoral programme, please submit an application to the spokesperson of your doctoral research group.

The application form must be accompanied by appropriate proof of successful participation from the external institution and brief written confirmation from your supervisor. This must show that the work to be recognised has contributed to your academic/scientific development as a doctoral student in terms of skills and expertise. Applications can only be approved if the external achievements are at least comparable with those required at Leuphana.

Please submit approved applications for recognition to Student Services.

Please note: credits obtained as part of a Bachelor or Masters degree cannot be recognised.

Form Recognition for External Credits

Contact person in Student Service

  • Maire-Linda Grünewald

Replace Student ID

In the event of theft of your student card/SemesterTicket, a copy of the report to the police is to be submitted; in all other cases, reasons must be given.

The application must be signed by hand. It can be handed in in person at the Information Office or posted.


When the application is submitted, € 5.00 in cash in processing fees become due.

Issue/delivery of new semester tickets/student cards

A new SemesterTicket / student ID card can be issued immediately to you in person if your old card is stolen. In all other cases, the new card will be sent by post to the address provided once your application has been processed.

Form: Application for Reissue a Student ID

Contact person in Student Service

  • Maire-Linda Grünewald


If you already study at Leuphana University of Lüneburg and wish to continue your studies here, you need to re-register. You must be enrolled in order to submit work/study and sit assessments.

Re-registration is possible only within the set re-registration period. This is

  • in January/February for the summer semester and
  • in June/July for the winter semester.

The exact dates are indicated in the information section on your student ID card and are also provided on these pages. All enrolled students also receive a re-registration alert by e-mail (sent to Leuphana e-mail accounts only).

If you do not re-register by the deadline by transferring the semester contribution, you will be sent a payment reminder and will be charged for the delay (current fee €15.00). If you do not re-register within the stated period then, you will be de-registered.

When making the transfer, please make sure to state your student ID number, followed by your surname and first names. Please ensure that the number you provide is actually your student ID number (7 digits) and not an applicant number or an lg number. This makes it easier for us to identify you. Only once the complete contribution has been received, will you receive your student card.

Please note

When you enrol at Leuphana, you will be given a student e-mail address ( All key information will be sent to this address.

Leuphana will use this account and this account only to send you information related to your studies.

Contact person in Student Service

  • Maire-Linda Grünewald

Research Data Management

Leuphana's Research Data Management Service offers professional handling of research data in all phases of the research process. It provides consulting and support services, an infrastructure for archiving and publishing research data (PubData). In doing so, it follows the Leuphana Guidelines for Archiving Research Data.

Reviewers' Committee

The reviewers’ committee assesses your thesis and your thesis defence. It consists of three members and is appointed by the doctoral board no later than upon submission of your thesis i.e. upon commencement of the doctoral assessment process.

Certain formal criteria apply to the composition of the reviewers' committee and to its members. These include:

  • The first reviewer (your supervisor) must come from the relevant field.
  • All members must be academics or scientists working and qualified in the general field of the thesis.
  • At least two members must be professors or assistant professors or have completed a habilitation.
  • At least one member of the reviewers’ committee must be a member of the faculty that is to award the doctorate.

You will find further requirements in your Doctoral regulations.

Semester contribution

Semester contribution

The semester contribution must generally be paid each semester. The first transfer is necessary after admission to the doctorate. Currently, the semester fee consists of the following items:

  • Studentenwerk contribution: 106.00 Euro
  • Student Body contribution: 186.35 Euro
    (Semester Ticket: 167.35 €, incl. Kulturticket, Stadt-RadRadspeicher and 19.00 € contribution towards student council and administration)
  •  Administrative contribution: 75.00 Euro
  •  Summe: 367.35 Euro

A reduced semester contribution applies to doctoral students who receive a scholarship from public funds:

  •  Studentenwerk contribution: 106.00 Euro
  •  Student Body contribution: 186.35 Euro
(Semester Ticket: 167.35 €, incl. Kulturticket, Stadt-RadRadspeicher and 19.00 € contribution towards student council and administration)
  •  Summe: 292.35 Euro

In order to be able to claim the reduction, you must submit proof of your scholarship to the Student Service (a copy of your scholarship approval is sufficient here).

Transfer of semester contribution

If the semester contribution arrives on Leuphana University Lüneburg’s account by the deadline, you are enrolled and later re-registered. By paying the contribution, you declare that you want to begin or continue your degree programme. The day on which payment is received on the university account counts, the so-called value date. Please ensure that the correct amount is transferred and that the reference is indicated correctly and in full. In the case of a re-registration, please indicate your matriculation number (7 digits) as a reference. If you are enrolling, you must provide your applicant number (9 digits). Your surname and first name follow afterwards in each case.


for a re-registration: 1234567, Smith, John  or

for an enrolment: 123456789, Smith, John.

Bank details of Leuphana University Lüneburg:


RecipientLeuphana Universität Lüneburg
IBANDE26 2505 0000 0199 9169 17
BankNorddeutsche Landesbank Hannover
  • Matriculation number (or applicant number)
  • Surname, First name

Dispatch of documents

Within 14 days you will receive your student id card (incl. semester ticket) by mail. The registration or re-registration is now complete. Please make sure that the student service has your current POSTAL ADDRESS. You can change it at any time using the self-service facility in QIS. If your home address is identical to your postal address, you do not need to change anything. However, if your home address is e.g. in Munich and you would like to have the documents sent to another address (e.g. in Lüneburg), you can use this address as your postal address.

Please Note

You can only enrol or re-register if you have transferred the semester fee. Please note that the semester fee can change from semester to semester.

Contact person in Student Service

  • Maire-Linda Grünewald

Semester Ticket

Part of the semester contribution you transfer to the University before the start of the semester is used to finance the SemesterTicket. All students and doctoral candidates receive a SemesterTicket along with their student card for use of the local public transport. It can be used for regional trains throughout Lower Saxony and buses in the Lüneburg administrative district. The routes from Lüneburg to Hamburg, Lübeck and Bremen are also included.

Since April 2011, students have also been able to use the Leuphana University of Lüneburg SemesterTicket as a cultural ticket. Upon presentation of their SemesterTicket, Lüneburg students or doctoral candidates are entitled to remaining tickets free of charge (one per semester ticket) half an hour before the beginning of a performance at participating cultural institutions. The offer currently includes free entry to more than 800 events per semester throughout Lüneburg. Participating institutions include Theater Lüneburg; the churches of St. Johannis, St. Michaelis and St. Nicolai for concerts; Theater im e.novum; the East Prussian State Museum; Kulturforum Lüneburg e.V. and Literaturbüro Lüneburg e.V. Tickets to events by participating independent groups such as BachChor Lüneburg, the Halle für Kunst and the Leuphana Kunstraum are also included.

Signing up for classes

Students sign up for classes on doctoral courses on the web-based platform myStudy. myStudy is a web-based platform provided by Leuphana. This is where the course catalogue is published.

Please set up a myStudy account once you have been accepted so that you can register for classes. In your profile, enter the doctoral courses of your faculty as your programme of study and your doctoral research group as your subject. Your letter of acceptance will specify your doctoral research group.

Please note:

If you have already studied at Leuphana University of Lüneburg and have a myStudy account, please remember to update your profile and enter the doctoral courses of your faculty as your programme of study and your doctoral research group as your subject.

If you already have a myStudy account because you have a teaching post or are otherwise employed at Leuphana University of Lüneburg, please contact myStudy Support to arrange for the role "Student" to be added to the existing role(s) in your myStudy account.

myStudy guest access allows you to view the current course catalogue for Leuphana University and the courses offered in previous semesters before being accepted for a doctorate.


Student Service

Contact person in Student Service

  • Maire-Linda Grünewald

Supervision agreement

Throughout your doctorate, the supervisor named as first reviewer by the doctoral board upon your admission provides expert, academic guidance. He or she provides support on your journey to becoming part of the scientific community.

To ensure mutual expectations are clear and a transparent definition of the content and time to be covered and invested by the supervisor, you conclude a supervision agreement with your supervisor by the end of the first semester at the latest. This also serves to ensure the quality of the planning and implementation of your doctoral project.

You, as the doctoral candidate, your supervisor and the Dean's Office will each receive a copy of the supervision agreement.

Form Supervision Agreement

Thesis submission and duration of the doctoral assessment process

Once you have completed your thesis, you submit it and a number of other documents to the competent dean's office to start the doctoral assessment process. Doctoral students at the Faculty of Sustainability submit their documents to Student Services. You can find information on the documents to be submitted with your thesis in the relevant doctoral regulations in the “submission of the thesis” section.

Once you have submitted your thesis, the doctoral board will formally launch the doctoral assessment process and, if it has not already done so, appoint the members of the reviewers' committee. The reviewers have three months to assess the thesis. You will receive their reports at the end of this period at the latest, and your thesis will be available to be read by members of the University in the dean's office together with the reports.

If your thesis is graded as befriedigend [satisfactory] or higher, it will be accepted and your doctoral defence will be held at the end of the period for which your thesis is available to read.

The period between submission of your thesis and your doctoral defence is usually around four to six months.