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Doctoral School of Environmental System Sciences

The Doctoral School for "Environmental Systems Sciences" was implemented on 27.10.2011 from the rectorate as a faculty centre (according to § 15 of the organisational plan) of the URBi-Faculty. Since then, doctoral study programmes are handled by the institute of environmental systems sciences according to the general conditions of the doctoral schools – details within the updated founding charter for the doctoral school for "Environmental Systems Sciences" (download as pdf-file). All doctoral study programs undertaken before the winter term 2007/08 will be completed according to the old curriculum.

The study program itself is based on the curriculum of the natural sciences doctoral programme at the URBi-Faculty (published in the bulletin of the University of Graz, 30.g special number on 27.04.2016; english version) according to the senate of the University of Graz on 20.04.2016 and the curriculum of the interdisciplinary doctoral programme of the URBi-Faculty (published in the bulletin of the University of Graz, 30.f special number on 27.04.2016; english version) according to the senate of the University of Graz on 20.04.2016.

Head: Univ.-Prof. Dr.phil. Manfred Füllsack
Deputy: Univ.-Prof. Dr.rer.nat Gottfried Kirchengast

Information concerning registration


Advance-Agreement Supervision and Registration for the doctoral school
Agreement on supervision

My way through doctoral studies

Prior to Studies

Step 1: Preliminary Agreement


A preliminary agreement is needed between the doctoral student and the supervisor concerning supervision and the topic of the doctoral thesis. Supervisors must be professors of the relevant doctoral school at the URBI Faculty. The preliminary agreement simplifies subsequent procedures regarding admission to, and enrolment at, the doctoral school. The agreement needs to be recorded in writing using the form Application for Registration in Doctoral Studies. Here, apart from the names of the doctoral student and the supervisor, information must also be provided concerning the chosen study programme and chosen curriculum, together with a working title and abstract (in the form of a supplement) covering research aims and objectives. The agreement needs first to be approved by the directors of the relevant institute and of the relevant doctoral school. Subsequent to such approval, it may then be submitted to the Dean's Office of the URBI Faculty (i.e. to the Prüfungsreferat, Merangasse 18/EG) in order to await approval by the Dean of Studies responsible.

Application Form: Application for Registration in Doctoral Studies

Step 2: Applying for admission to doctoral studies.

Admission to doctoral studies is taken care of by the Admissions and Examinations Office (or Office of Academic Affairs) (Studien- und Prüfungsabteilung). To apply for admission you will need to supply proof of completion of a suitable master's degree, or equivalent, together with the completed and authorized form Application for Registration in Doctoral Studies. The latter is obtained from the Dean's Office of the URBI Faculty (i.e. from the Prüfungsreferat, Merangasse 18/EG).


First Semester of Doctoral Studies

Step 3: Drafting of a research proposal.

The research proposal describing the intended research project must contain the following:

  • Research aims and objectives
  • A detailed discussion of the relevant literature and state of research
  • A description of research methods
  • Benefits to be derived from the research and its impact on further projects
  • Research timeframe and schedule (doctoral studies take a minimum of 6 semesters)
  • A comprehensive bibliography

The relevance and feasibility of the dissertation project need to emerge clearly from the research proposal.

Step 4: Concluding supervision agreement and choice of mentor.

Only professors who are members of the relevant doctoral school may be chosen as supervisors. The same is generally true for mentors. Where necessary, a request may be made for other professors to act as mentor. However, the person must be suitably qualified, particularly with respect to the research field of the dissertation. It is the mentor's responsibility to provide doctoral

student and supervisor with suitable educational and advisory support, as well as to monitor the progress made on the research project. The form "Supervision Agreement on Doctoral Dissertation" has to be completed and signed, and together with the research proposal, handed in to the Dean's Office of the URBI Faculty (i.e. at the Prüfungsreferat, Merangasse 18/EG).

Click here for the form Supervision Agreement on Doctoral Dissertation

Applications for admission to the doctoral programme are then dealt with by the Dean of Studies on the basis of the documents received.

Step 5: Determination of obligatory and elective courses, and overall course selection.

After consulting with your supervisor to confirm the subject area of your dissertation and the electives needed, complete the form 'Course Registration in Doctoral Studies' (Protokollblatt für das Doktoratsstudium). You need to complete this form in order to ensure in advance that the courses you intend to take meet the requirements for obligatory courses, elective courses, and, where relevant, interdisciplinary methods. When selecting courses, it is important to note that the courses chosen should essentially be from those offered explicitly for the doctoral studies programme. Courses suitable for bachelor's programmes are certainly not acceptable. The Dean of Studies has the final say concerning course acceptability.

After consultation with those responsible at the doctoral school, a number of other courses may be available for selection as electives.

Should you wish to use some other form of scientific or research activity (e.g. conference participation, research workshop participation etc.) in place of a regular elective course, please discuss the possibility with those at the URBI examinations office (URBI-Prüfungsreferat, Merangasse 18).

Form: 'Course Registration in Doctoral Studies / Humanities'

Form: 'Course Registration in Doctoral Studies / Natural Sciences'

Form: 'Course Registration in Doctoral Studies / Interdisciplinary'


Approaching the End of Your Studies

Step 6: Checking the validity of the dissertation title.

Any changes made to the title of your dissertation need to be reported immediately using the form

'Application for Change in Title of Dissertation'. Please also take into consideration the time in the examinations office which is needed to process the changes. Changes in titles need to be reported at least two weeks before the dissertation is submitted. Changes made independently, whether by the doctoral student, or (online) by the supervisor, are not permissible!

Form: Application for Change in Title of Dissertation

Step 7: Online registration and storage of dissertation.

Prior to submitting a hard copy of your dissertation, you must upload a digital copy, complete with abstracts, to the university system (UGO). To do this, click on the link 'Theses' on your UGO visiting card, and then click on the dissertation title. Follow the directions provided. Please note that the dissertation is uploaded as a PDF/A file. Note also, that abstracts should not exceed a length of 2000 characters (including spaces). In this respect, you should not rely on the figures stated in UGO since they are not always accurate. Thus, no matter what text length is stated in UGO, abstracts exceeding 2000 characters are not acceptable. Do not make any changes to the dissertation title provided!

Please note that the whole dissertation, and in particular, the title page, must comply with the specifications stated in the 'Austrian Standards on the Format and Binding of Academic Theses'. Sample title pages are provided on the website of the dean's office. These templates are provided for your use. Formatting, font size and type, can all be adjusted to suit your dissertation. The title page should be free of logos of any kind.

Cumulative Dissertation: A cumulative dissertation may be submitted in the interdisciplinary doctoral programme. However, for such a dissertation to be authorized by the Dean of Studies, specific criteria need to be met. These are:

  • Compliance with the 'Dean of Studies Guidelines on drafting a cumulative dissertation'
  • Compliance with the formal specifications set out in the curriculum (§ 7, paragraph 2)
  • For dissertations involving several authors, you must state as explicitly as possible what each author's contribution was, so that your own work may be clearly assessed
  • In cases where the work has not yet been published you need to provide proof of its current status, e.g. by means of an appropriate acceptance letter, or by means of a screenshot of the online submission system, etc.

Download: Austrian Standards on the Format and Binding of Academic Theses

Download: Sample title page for the humanities doctoral programme

Download: Sample title page for the natural sciences doctoral programme

Download: Sample title page for the interdisciplinary doctoral programme

Download: Dean of Studies Guidelines on drafting a cumulative dissertation

Step 8: Nominating supervisors.

In accordance with the curriculum, the thesis supervisor is also the thesis examiner. You therefore have the right to nominate at least one other person who should assess your work. Those in the interdisciplinary programme may nominate a third person to assess their work. Where possible, at least one of the additional examiners should be from outside the Karl-Franzens University. All examiners need to be suitably qualified.

You need to submit your proposal for further examiners, together with a hard copy of your dissertation, to the examinations office. To do this, you should use the application form 'Request for Doctoral Thesis Assessment'. We recommend that you consult the respective Dean of Studies, concerning the suitability of your nominees, prior to submitting your proposal.

Please note that the Dean of Studies has the right to appoint further examiners if deemed appropriate.

Application form: Request for Doctoral Thesis Assessment

Step 9: Submission of hard copy

As soon as your supervisor has verified the uploading of the digital version of your thesis to UGO, you may then submit the hard copy versions to the examinations office of the URBI Faculty (at Merangasse 18/EG). When submitting your thesis you need the following:

  • Four identical hard copy versions of your thesis, or, in cases where 3 examiners have been appointed, five identical copies. The hard copies must be identical to the digital version registered on UGO. You must sign the formal oath at the beginning of each hard copy. No scanned signatures are acceptable.
  • A completed and signed version of the application form Request for Doctoral Thesis Assessment
  • Five abstracts in German, and five in English. If the dissertation was written in some other language, then you need a further five abstracts in the same language as the full text. Each abstract should fit comfortably on one A4 sheet of paper, and should be identical to the version registered in the online system UGO. The abstracts should be enclosed separately.
  • A current CV, signed by the candidate
  • Current transcript ( a printout from the online system UGO)
  • Where necessary: a well-reasoned 'Request to restrict access to thesis'
  • If not previously dealt with, a completed course record (see Step 5)


Until further notice, the following process applies to the submission of dissertations:

After submitting your thesis electronically via UGO, please wait for the approval of your supervisor.
Afterwards, please send the completed submission form by email to urbi.dekan(at)uni-graz.at

Until further notice, your thesis will be evaluated on the basis of the electronic version submitted in UGO. However, the bound papers, as well as the original form and the necessary enclosures, must be submitted as soon as the regular exchange of parties is resumed.

A formal examination of all the documents begins once they have arrived at the Dean's Office (i.e. the examination of title page, compliance with Director of Studies guidelines, curricula guidelines, publication guidelines, etc.). An employee of the Dean's Office will contact you should any inconsistencies be found. If everything is found to be correct, the thesis is released for assessment by the Dean of Studies, checked for plagiarism, and passed on to the examiners in both hard copy and digital form.

As soon as all examiner reports arrive at the Dean's Office, and have been confirmed by the Dean of Studies, the grade for the dissertation is entered in the online system UGO. From this point on, the author of the dissertation is allowed to inspect the examiners' reports.

Application form: Request for Doctoral Thesis Assessment

Application form: Application for Restriction of Access to Thesis

Step 10: Submission of course record. See also Step 5.

In order to complete your doctoral studies you need to submit a full record of courses completed to the examinations office. In principle, you can do this at any time. However, it must be done at the latest by the time you submit your thesis to the examinations office.

Download: Course record for the humanities doctoral programme

Download: Course record for the natural sciences doctoral programme

Download: Course record for the interdisciplinary doctoral programme

Step 11: Registration for final oral examination (viva voce).

In order to be admitted to the viva candidates need to have received a positive assessment in other components of their studies, i.e. they need to have passed the necessary course components, and to have received a positive grade for their written thesis. Candidates must register for the viva using the form 'Registration for final Oral Examination'. This form must be submitted to the Dean's Office at least 3 weeks before the intended examination date. There is a prior announcement period of 2 weeks. The viva registration becomes void should any of the preconditions (e.g. receipt of examiner reports) not have been met 2 weeks before the intended examination date and a new date has to be arranged. Please note when arranging an examination date that the official period for thesis appraisal is four months. This period begins from the date of full thesis submission to the examinations office.

As a rule, the doctoral candidate is responsible for arranging the time and location of the viva. Please contact the Dean's Office if you need help in finding a suitable room. Travel costs incurred by external examiners will not be covered by the faculty. However, where necessary, and assuming that all members agree, there is the possibility that one member of the board of examiners may participate via Skype.

Application form: Registration for Final Oral Examination (the doctoral viva)

Mario Perner

Dekanat der Umwelt-, Regional- und Bildungswissenschaftlichen Fakultät

Phone:+43 316 380 - 8045

Mo, Di, Do, Fr: 09:00 bis 12:00Uhr

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