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

All information about cotutelle programmes and a range of useful documents such as a checklist and a template cotutelle agreement can be found 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 persons in Student Service

A - K: Melanie Maselkowski | Phone: 04131-677-1407
L - Z: Daniel Syska | Phone: 04131-677-1409


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 persons in Student Service

A - K: Melanie Maselkowski | Phone: 04131-677-1407
L - Z: Daniel Syska | Phone: 04131-677-1409


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 Dissertation

In the case of a cumulative doctorate, the dissertation is submitted in the form of at least three specialist articles or manuscripts and a framework paper. The framework paper serves to embed the specialist articles and manuscripts in the research question. The quality requirements for a cumulative dissertation correspond to those for a monographic dissertation.

The concrete minimum standards for cumulative dissertations at Leuphan can be found in the respective doctoral regulations of your faculty. Some faculties additionally specify these in guidelines for cumulative dissertations for the requirements of the respective subjects and doctoral degrees.

The decision for or against a cumulative dissertation often depends on the subject area and should be discussed with your supervisor.

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 persons in Student Service

A - K: Melanie Maselkowski | Phone: 04131-677-1407
L - Z: Daniel Syska | Phone: 04131-677-1409


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.

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.

** PhD Network - Network for PhD Courses **

The Ph.D. Network is a cooperation between German (including Leuphana) and Danish universities and research institutions, as well as the Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik in Croatia.

The common goals are the establishment, development and consolidation of a network for doctoral programmes. The network offers a mutual exchange of information on activities in the field of doctoral education via the website, which also provides access to these activities. No financial obligations arise from participation in these activities. The partners of the network support each other in raising funds for the expansion of further cooperation.

An overview of the courses offered for doctoral students can be found here:

Form Recognition for External Credits

Contact persons in Student Service

A - K: Melanie Maselkowski | Phone: 04131-677-1407
L - Z: Daniel Syska | Phone: 04131-677-1409


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.

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

Since you are enrolled at Leuphana as a doctoral student, Leuphana's Student Services is the service institution that is available for questions regarding enrolment, re-registration, extension of admission, leave of absence and exmatriculation.

Contact persons in Student Service

A - K: Melanie Maselkowski | Phone: 04131-677-1407
L - Z: Daniel Syska | Phone: 04131-677-1409


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.