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Your Doctorate in Physics at TUM

With around 450 ongoing doctoral projects, we offer a wide range of possibilities for a doctorate in a dynamic and innovative department. Doctoral studies at TUM are characterized by teamwork, interdisciplinarity and independent thinking, valuable assets for any successful career.

Doctoral candidate at Walther Meissner Institute
Doctoral candidate at Walther Meissner Institute. Photo: Ch. Hohmann/NIM

Starting a Ph. D. Project

Have you finished your Master studies with above-average results? Are you thirsty for knowledge and keen to discover something new? Then you have found the right place, the Physics Department of TUM!

The first step in our traditional model

The first step to start your doctorate is to find a supervisor among the professors of our department and to find together a research topic. Being part of the research group of your supervisor, you will receive guidance and support with your doctoral project. Since the individual scientific research is the key part of any Ph. D. project enbedding into a research group with supervisor and colleagues with similar interests is important. Hence you apply for Ph. D. positions in the research group fitting your scientific interest best – not at an anonymous school.

The Physics Department with the Department Graduate Center Physics provides the organisational framework for the doctorate with a flexible program to support your research. As an alternative you may in principle become a member of another (thematic) graduate center.

Having found your supervisor and research topic, the application procedure runs through the central online platform Doc-GS. Please keep in mind that the Physics Department issues the degree Dr. rer. nat. for all successful Ph. D. students. You can find more information on the application process and the required documents at the TUM Graduate School – in addition please keep in mind the additional remarks below.

After completing the online registration in DocGS hand in the documents at the Dean’s Office.

additional remarks on the application to enter the doctoral candidacy list

You want to become Doctor of natural sciences (Dr. rer. nat.)

The Physics Department will not issue other degrees than Dr. rer. nat. Hence you should avoid choosing a different degree in DocGS.

Supervision Agreement

Future members of the Department Graduate Center Physics may find the required supervision agreement on the pages of the Faculty Graduate Center Physics. You only need to add the actual supervision agreement to your documents (the FGC-PH signature can be obtained by the Dean’s Office lateron). You safe-keep the project yourself and continuously review and update it with your supervisor.

Sollten Sie Mitglied eines anderen (thematischen) Graduiertenzentrums werden wollen, so wenden Sie sich für weitere Informationen dorthin.

E-Mail Address

If possible give your TUM E-Mail address in DocGS. In contrast to others you may keep this (at least as forwarding address) for the rest of your life.

If you do not yet have a TUM account please contact your group’s secretary to get a guest account. If you will pursue your Ph. D. at an external institution (e. g. a Max-Planck institute) your TUM guest account can be issued by the Dean’s Office Physics.

Foreign Degrees

All degrees from foreign universities will be reviewed by the TUM examination office within the processing of your application to enter the doctoral candidacy list. In this way you get an authoritative answer if your degree is recognized already ate the beginning of your Ph. D. project. TUM does not charge a fee for the review process any more.

We thank you for your understanding that we cannot answer questions on the recognition of foreign degrees outside the review process. You may check the anabin database (in German) on the classification of foreign universities and degrees in relation to the German system yourself.

„Direct Track“ from a Master Program

Talented students can continue the Master's research phase seamlessly with a doctoral project, speeding up their academic career. If you do not have a Master's degree, you may choose this track on your way to a doctoral degree from the Physics Department of TUM. The "Direct Track" combines the advantages of the traditional model with the speed of a "Fast Track" – without the disadvantages like a (formally) missing Master’s degree.

Students interested in the "Direct Track" apply for a regular Master program in Physics. You may still use the advanced studies in the first year to become familiar with the research groups and find the perfect group for your science interests.

During your Ph. D. Project: Extensive Qualification Program

The core of your doctoral studies is your research work in collaboration with your group and other research partners. Additionally, our Department Graduate Center offers a wide range of opportunities for subject-related and interdisciplinary qualification. The TUM Graduate School supports our Department Graduate Center.

As member of the Faculty Graduate Center Physics you may find an individual status page on your qualification program in section Membership and Qualification Program. Using this status page you need to report all your passed qualification elements to the FGC-PH administration according to §8 2. a)–d) PromO.

No direct entry into DocGS!

Members of the FGC-PH please refrain from entering "Leistungsanträge" into DocGS! Data from the Physics database will be copied to DocGS in the future. Keep in mind that "Leistungsanträge" not in conforming to the quality standards of Physics Department will be rejected!

Completing your Ph. D. Project: Doctoral Examination

Doctoral Thesis ("Dissertation")

Having completed your research and the basic qualification program the doctoral examination process starts by submitting your doctoral thesis (see also FAQ about monograph vs. "cumulative"). The thesis has to be submitted to the examinations office of TUM. You need to apply for this by DocGS. You can find a list of the required documents at the TUM Graduate School’s website. In our department there is no restriction on the submission date – you are not bound by the department council’s schedule.

Remark on the dates of handing in and the final exam

At Physics Department your thesis submission date is not bound by the meeting dates of the council. But keep the following in mind:

Qualification program of TUM GS
As member of the Faculty Graduate Center Physics you need to provide the report on the qualification program in advance. We send this to TUM GS administration for your qualification elements to be imported to DocGS – only after this (usually within one wroking day after handing in the report to us) the section on submitting your thesis will be active in DocGS!
Members of other (thematic) Graduate Centers need to contact their graduate center to make sure that the qualification program is fully documented in DocGS and you may hand in the thesis.
earliest possible exam date
The deadline for the decision of the full-time faculty according to §12 S. 2 PromO was set to one week by the Dean. The deadline for the announcement of the oral exam according to §14 (2) PromO is one week. This results in the fact that the exam date can not be earlier than two weeks after all written reports from the examiners were received by the Dean’s Office!

After the examination office examined your documents they will be sent to the Dean’s Office. Here we start organising the final exam.

Reports, Acceptance (Rundlauf) and oral exam

Appointment of the examining committee and assessment

The Dean’s Office asks the supervisor (who is the first examiner) to suggest examining comittee members. The Dean can accept this suggestion or change the committee. The committee members and the candidate are informed on the appointment of the committee. Furthermore each member of the committee receives a copy of the thesis. The Dean’s Office requests the assessments and written reports. Ph. D. committees and exam dates are published in front of the Dean’s Office.

Acceptance of the Dissertation ("Rundlauf")

After a doctoral thesis has been assessed by all examiners as "passed" or better, the dissertation with CV and expert opinion is made available to the "Umlaufgremium" of the Department of Physics for acceptance in the virtual "Rundlauf" list within seven days. The "Umlaufgremium" consists of all full-time faculty, the honorary professors, and the TUM Junior Fellows of the Department of Physics. The dissertation is accepted if there are 20 statements to “accept” and no statement to “reject”, and the seven day deadline passed.

During the "Rundlauf" it is the candidates responsibility to actively seek the 20 "accept" statements. Apart from the classic "Rundlauf" from door to door during the current situation in the CoViD-19 pandemic virtual options for the "Rundlauf" are put to the test. To support the candidates there is a status page for their own "Rundlauf".

Oral Exam

Latest after completion of the roundtrip the candidate should organised the exam date (and place) with the examiners and submit the coordinated date to the Dean’s Office. The exam date needs to be at least 14 days after all reports were received by the Dean's Office (one week deadline for acceptance and one week notice period for the exam date). The Dean’s Office sends out the official invitation to examiners and candidate for the oral exam. Immediately after completion of the roundtrip the Dean’s Office forwards the required documents for the examination to the chair of the committee. After the oral exam the chair returns the completed documents to the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office forwards them to the central examination office.

Distinction „summa cum laude“

Please keep in mind that at Physics Department special rules for the distinction „summa cum laude“ (in German) apply. This needs to be taken into account for the exam date planning especially!

Publication of the thesis and final steps

Publication of the thesis

After the exam the title page of the dissertation needs to be accepted by the examination office. For this the candidate sends the completed title page (including committee members, submission adn acceptance date) to the examination office. The required data can be provided by the examination office of the Dean’s Office. Only the the thesis may be published. Publication may be done in either of the following ways:

Publication through a publishing house
You will need to submit six copies of your dissertation to the University Library with an ISBN.
Online publication
To do so, you can publish your dissertation electronically on mediaTUM, the TUM's media server.

You can find further information on the pages of the university library.

After publication of your thesis you will obtain a preliminary certificate about the completion of the Ph.D. process.


As soon as the final certificate is completed by the examination office the new Ph. D. is informed. The certificate is handed over in the Dean’s Office. Every scientist completing their Ph. D. within the last year at Physics Department of TUM will be invited to the ceremony at the Physics Day ("Tag der Physik") end of the summer semester.

TUM GS Certificate

Members of TUM GS receive an additional certificate on the qualification program. This TUM GS certificate with the Transcript of Records on the qualification elements is created independently to the Ph. D. certificate by TUM Graduate School. Your Graduate Center will inform you as soon as this is completed and can be picked up.

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