Doctoral Studies

  Newly graduated doctoral candidate celebrating © Thilo Vogel

With a doctorate, researchers provide evidence of their ability to conduct independent research. The professional qualification during the doctorate takes place at a faculty of RWTH Aachen University. RWTH is authorized to award doctorates. During the doctoral phase, the doctoral candidates are supervised and also acquire both academic and job-related skills.



  1. Doctoral candidates at RWTH Aachen University independently work on challenging new scientific findings and write them up in their thesis. The maxim of academic integrity applies here.
  2. Certain admission requirements must be fulfilled in order to be awarded a doctorate.
  3. The legal basis for this is Section 67 of the Higher Education Act of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Doctoral Studies As the First Step Into Professional Life

At RWTH Aachen University, doctoral studies are considered the first part of professional practice and are therefore mostly application-oriented. During the doctoral phase, doctoral candidates are usually employed as research assistants at institutes and gain professional experience.

They thereby qualify for a further academic career or the highly qualified job market outside academia. Doctoral candidates are supervised by recognized university instructors. They receive optimal support for their doctoral project with academic supervision that is appreciative, responsible, supportive, and upholds equal opportunity principles. Doctoral candidates are themselves primarily responsible for the success of their doctorate.

Doctoral positions at RWTH are advertised on the institute's website or in the list of RWTH's job openings.

RWTH Code of Conduct for Doctoral Studies

In the Code of Conduct for Doctoral Studies, RWTH commits itself to principles and standards for the design of the doctoral process. These guidelines help to ensure the quality of doctoral training and form the basis for continuous development.

Academic Integrity

Like all scholars working at RWTH Aachen University, doctoral candidates also pledge their academic integrity.

The Principles for Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice serve the goal of implementing the basic ethical principles of integrity and honesty in science and providing guidance in academic work.

As part of the doctoral qualification, young researchers are taught the principles of good academic practice that apply at RWTH Aachen University, taking into account the specifics of the subject cultures. This is provided, on the one hand, as part of the academic supervision and, on the other hand, by participation in continuing education courses, for example the online course or seminars of the Doctoral Academy.

If academic misconduct is suspected at RWTH Aachen University, the University Commission for the Investigation of Scientific Misconduct will investigate the matter. Anyone can turn to their faculty's ombudsperson for doctoral studies or special confidants in cases of conflict as well as in questions of suspected academic misconduct.

Supervision Agreement

The basis and guarantor for the quality of the doctoral process is a transparent supervision relationship between supervisors and doctoral candidates. The Supervision Agreement has established itself as an essential element of quality assurance. It enables supervisors and doctoral candidates to make their expectations transparent, to formulate objectives, and to monitor whether these are fulfilled. The Supervision Agreements vary according to the subject culture of the respective faculty.

Promotion Regulations

At RWTH, doctoral candidates are the responsibility of the respective faculty, which supervises them during the doctoral phase and is responsible for the entire doctoral process. This process is regulated in each faculty‘s doctoral regulations.

Interdisciplinary Qualification and Career Development

In addition to professional qualification and research on academic issues, doctoral studies at RWTH Aachen University also include the acquisition of professional skills. These include skills that are helpful for a successful doctorate as well as for the next career steps afterwards and that contribute to the further development of one's own personality. The RWTH Aachen University offers central workshop and consulting services at the Doctoral Academy under the umbrella of the RWTH Center for Young Academics.

As research assistants, doctoral candidates are also subject to the objectives of the staff development measures of RWTH. We want to inspire people to work at RWTH, enable them to expand their knowledge, make it useful for the future of society, and give them the opportunity to develop their potential and initiate new developments.


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