- What is Docata?
Docata is the online tool for doctoral procedures at the University of Hamburg, through which all doctoral procedures at the Faculty of Law will be administered, from the application for admission to the conclusion of the procedure.
Please note that the application via Docata is only possible if the admission-relevant documents (an overview can be found here) are complete.
- I do not fulfil the admission requirements regarding the seminar certificates or the exposé.
If you do not have an exposé relevant to admission or if you cannot present the required seminar certificates (a seminar certificate allows you to be admitted to doctoral studies, provided that all other requirements are met), you can enroll as PhD candidate under „Rechtswissenschaft - Studienvorbereitung (Propädeutikum)“ for two semesters in order to use the library or attend the seminars.
- How do I enroll as PhD candidate under „Rechtswissenschaft - Studienvorbereitung (Propädeutikum)“?
For further information please visit: Dokumente, Service und Kontakt : Rechtswissenschaft : Universität Hamburg (uni-hamburg.de)
- How do I find a supervisor for my doctoral project? And when?
The professors in the Faculty of Law decide which PhD students to supervise themselves and then officially agree to supervise their doctoral program. We suggest contacting the professor of your choice by email or getting in touch with the departmental office of the area in which you wish to do your PhD to arrange an appointment with them.
Please note that you should already have identified a supervisor for your studies before submitting your application for admission to the Office of the Doctoral Committee. It is not possible to embark upon a course of studies before finding a professor who has agreed to supervise your doctorate.
- Do I need to supply certified copies of my supporting documents?
No, it is sufficient to upload your documents directly onto Docata when you apply.
- What is a confirmation of supervision letter? What does it need to include?
The confirmation of supervision letter (“Betreuungsschreiben”) is a document signed by a professor which confirms his/her willingness to supervise a student’s doctoral dissertation and to accept the associated responsibilities as prescribed by the Faculty. There is no specific form for this letter, which can be issued by the professor or a departmental office.
- What is a supervision agreement? Is there a template?
A supervision agreement (“Betreuungsvereinbarung”) defines the relationship between the doctoral student and their supervisor. This agreement is signed by both parties. Generally, a version of the agreement is provided by the supervisor. A template for this agreement can be found at: https://www.jura.uni-hamburg.de/forschung/promotion/wichtige-dokumente.html
- Do doctoral candidates have to be enrolled?
Yes, doctoral candidates must enroll as doctoral students at the University of Hamburg. Enrolment must have taken place no later than one month after the admission has been issued.
If enrolment is not applied for within the period stipulated in the notice of admission to the doctoral procedure or a requested extension period, admission to the doctoral program expires.
- How long must I remain enrolled at the university?
Doctoral students must remain enrolled until their disputation. This is due to the fact that you will be using various services of the university in Hamburg for your doctoral activities (from the semester ticket to the use of the library).
- Which doctoral degree regulations apply to me?
The doctoral degree regulations dated 7 July 2010 apply to all doctoral students who started their theses after 22/12/2010. Please feel free to contact the Office of the Doctoral Committee if you are unsure which doctoral degree regulations apply to you.
The doctoral degree regulations for the Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law can be found here: https://www.jura.uni-hamburg.de/forschung/ambsl/programm/rechtsgrundlagen.html
- Can I do my doctoral studies in a different language? Must my thesis be written in German?
Your thesis can be written in German or English, and there is also the possibility of writing it in other languages, too. If you are going to write in a language other than German or English, you will need to discuss this with your supervisor first and prove that you have the required language skills.
- What do I need to show to prove my language proficiency? (only for overseas applicants)
Applicants who have graduated from a university or similar establishment in a different country and whose first language is not German but wish to complete their doctoral studies in German must prove they have the required language proficiency by passing the German language examination for university entrance (Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang – DSH) or provide another equivalent qualification (DaF test, telc Deutsch C1, Goethe-Zertifikat C1).
Applicants wishing to complete their studies in English must provide evidence of having achieved level B1 in English in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) or provide another equivalent qualification. If the doctoral procedure is to be carried out in another language pursuant to Section 7 subsection 2 or Section 11 subsection 2 of the doctoral degree regulations (Promotionsordnung, PromO), the doctoral committee will determine which requirements and documentary proof of language skills will be needed.
- Do I need to have published any work in order to be admitted into the program?
You do not need to have published any work to be admitted into the program. If you have published any works, please provide a list of them alongside your other doctoral studies application documents.
- What does the research proposal involve and how long should it be?
Your application for admission should be accompanied by a description of the aim of the doctorate and a justification for its potential contribution to the current state of research, the objectives and study methods to be used for the academic research and a detailed time frame and schedule for the research proposal.
There is no fixed number of pages or length for the proposal. From experience, most applicants tend to write a doctoral proposal that is 10 to 15 pages long.
- Which seminar certificates are accepted?
As part of the application for admission to a doctorate program, certificates (“Seminarscheine”) for two seminars on law must be submitted with a minimum overall grade of– “fully satisfactory” (vollbefriedigend).
Students can be admitted into the program after having completed only one seminar on the condition that a second seminar participation certificate is submitted at the latest along with the dissertation.
For the purposes of doctoral studies, these seminars refer to advanced seminars and not the introductory seminars held at some universities during the first semesters of study before interim examinations. Examination results which contain an oral component as well as a written examination will be admitted as seminar certificates.
- Can other achievements be credited or accepted in place of seminar certificates?
If you would like to have other achievements recognized as a seminar certificate, please submit the application to the office of the doctoral committee before submitting the application in Docata. In case of recognition you will receive a confirmation to upload in Docata.
The following alternative achievements will be accepted in place of an advanced seminar certificate:
a) Publication (sole authorship) of a specialized article in an academic journal, Festschrift or edited volume or authorship of commentaries as long as they correspond in scope and quality to the written component of a seminar certificate. In the case of co-published volumes, evidence of the share of the document written by the candidate will be required.
b) Participation in a Moot Court
c) Another degree in addition to law which was successfully passed with an above-average grade at a different university or academic higher education institution and resulted in the awarding of a Diploma, Master’s degree, Magister, Staatsexamen (state examination) or equivalent degree.
d) Written work completed for universities in a different country can be submitted to the doctoral committee for equivalence. The doctoral committee will make the final decision on whether the work submitted is of an equal standard.
- Can my Schwerpunktbereichsschein be accepted instead of a seminar certificate?
A Schwerpunktbereichsschein alone (consisting of a term paper, written examination and oral examination in the focus area) will not be accepted in lieu of a seminar certificate as it is already included as part of the exam grade (meaning it is relevant to admission to the University) and therefore would not qualify as part of the dual approval requirements to be accepted for studies at the University. In cases where candidates have also completed an oral presentation which has been accepted as equivalent to a seminar certificate (in addition to the term paper on the focus area), this can be accepted as an alternative to a seminar certificate in accordance with the doctoral degree regulations. However, documentary evidence will be required.
- What is a Studienbuch (study record book/transcript)? What happens if I no longer have one?
A Studienbuch documents the entire course of your studies and records the grades for all the modules you complete successfully, as well as your enrolment and withdrawal from studies.
If you do not have your Studienbuch, you can also submit course completion certificates from the different modules you took or alternatively a summary in the form of a transcript.
Your Studienbuch will be returned to you upon successful admission if requested.
- Enrollment at the University of Hamburg and admission to doctoral studies at the faculty - isn't that the same thing?
First you apply for admission via the online tool Docata. With the admission to doctoral studies at the faculty, you will receive all information for the obligatory enrollment at the University of Hamburg here.
Enrollment must take place no later than one month after admission to the doctoral program.
For further information please visit: Dokumente, Service und Kontakt : Rechtswissenschaft : Universität Hamburg (uni-hamburg.de)
- Do I need to notify any changes in my contact details?
Your contact details should always be up to date so that we can reach you in the course of your doctoral procedure or send you documents or communications. It is particularly important to have an up-to-date postal correspondence address and your email address.
Changes can be made directly by you on the online tool Docata.
- What do I need to do to extend the deadline to hand in my doctoral thesis?
In this case, it is sufficient to submit a request for an extension of the processing time on the online tool Docata. In addition, the consent of the supervisor must be submitted.
- What documents do I have to hand in when officially submitting the dissertation?
- Upload of the dissertation in Docata as well as two printed copies at the office of the doctoral committee.
- Summary of the content 2-fold
- Declaration and affidavit according to § 7 paragraph 4 PromO (digital only)
- Declaration in accordance with § 7 paragraph 7 sentence 2 PromO (that the text on the data carrier is identical to that of the typed version) (digital only)
- In which format must the dissertation be uploaded to Docata?
Your dissertation can only be uploaded as a PDF file.
- How must the dissertation be bound?
A glue binding is perfectly sufficient. A hardcover binding can also be chosen, but please refrain from choosing a ring binding or a folder.
- Does the abstract have to be submitted in German and English? How extensive should it be?
It is sufficient to submit the abstract in one language - this should be the language in which the paper was written.
Experience shows that the abstract should be between three and five pages long. It should be submitted loosely (i.e. not bound) together with the dissertation.
- When will my thesis be forwarded to the reviewers?
As soon as you have officially submitted your dissertation in Docata, your examination committee will be appointed by the chairperson of the doctoral committee. Your supervisor will be appointed as the first reviewer and as a member of the committee.
Both reviewers will be given parallel access to your dissertation in Docata with the request to prepare the review within three months.
Doctoral candidates will be notified of the appointment of the reviewers.
- Will I be informed about the receipt of the reviews?
You will be notified in Docata as soon as both reviews are available. You can view and download the reviews here.
- When will my disputation (oral defense) take place?
There are four central dates per year (January, April, June and October) for the doctoral candidates' disputations.
A date outside the central dates is possible. In this case, the doctoral supervisor would have to agree and set a date together with the other members of the examination committee.
- May spectators be present at my disputation?
If you have not objected to the faculty public, members of the faculty may also be present.
Your family members as well as friends may also attend. However, we ask you to arrange this with the examination committee before the examination.
- May I use a PowerPoint presentation for my disputation?
Yes, the faculty premises are equipped with the appropriate technology. If required, a laptop can also be borrowed from the information desk (with an existing B ID). Connection cables are also available from the service team.
- Do I receive proof that I have passed the oral examination (disputation)?
After the successful completion of the disputation, an interim certificate will be issued and made available to the doctoral students in Docata.
- Do I have to publish my dissertation?
Yes, you do; your dissertation needs to be published within two years after completion of your doctoral studies. If it is not possible for you to publish your dissertation within the specified time, it is possible for the chair of the doctoral committee to extend this period in response to a reasoned request.
Your thesis must be published in the same form as it is presented to the assessors as part of your doctoral studies. Any updated content or improvements you wish to make must be requested in writing and require written confirmation from your doctoral supervisor. This document must then be filed with the doctoral studies office. Any updates and improvements in the written dissertation as recommended by either one or both of the assessors are to be incorporated into your thesis.
The doctoral committee (in line with the requirements of the State and University Library) will specify how many copies of the printed or duplicate dissertation are to be supplied by the doctoral candidate. They will also specify if the printed versions can be replaced with alternative copies on other kinds of media.
You can find a document containing more information (Pflichtexemplare) at the following link: https://www.jura.uni-hamburg.de/forschung/promotion/wichtige-dokumente.html
- When can I use the doctoral title or when do I get the doctoral certificate?
A certificate or diploma for successful completion of a doctorate is not issued until all the requirements for the doctoral studies (including the obligation to publish and legal deposit) have been completely fulfilled.
- May I use the doctoral title before submitting the obligatory copies?
As soon as the doctoral committee receives notification that the obligation to publish has been fulfilled (pursuant to Section 13 of the Doctoral Degree Regulations (Promotionsordnung), it will immediately grant permission to use the title of Doctor. Permission to use the title of Doctor may also be granted earlier in cases where a contractual agreement with an appropriate publishing house to distribute the doctoral thesis is submitted.
- What supporting documents are required so I can use the title of Doctor before my thesis is published?
You must submit an informal application by e-mail in which you briefly justify your application. A copy of the publishing contract must also be submitted.
- To whom are the deposit copies sent?
All twelve obligatory copies go to the office of the doctoral committee, from where they are forwarded to the reviewers and libraries.
- Is there a graduation ceremony?
Once a year, the Faculty of Law of Universität Hamburg holds a doctorate graduation ceremony. The event offers doctoral students the opportunity to officially celebrate the successful completion of their doctoral studies. Invitations will be sent out to doctoral candidates in plenty of time from the Office of the Doctoral Committee.
- Will the doctoral certificate also be issued in English?
Yes, the doctoral certificate can also be issued in English upon request.
- Can a disputation be conducted digitally?
It is possible to conduct a digital oral examination via video conference where the examination and doctorate regulations provide for an oral examination in digital form. It takes the place of an oral examination in attendance.
This has been possible at the local faculty since mid-May 2020.
- What technical and organizational requirements must be met in order to hold an online defense?
You may use videoconference tools that comply with data protection requirements (e.g., ZOOM or Microsoft Teams). During the examination, video and audio transmission only may be used; chat functions may not be utilized.
Doctoral researchers and examiners must have the technical equipment required to participate in a videoconference. This means they must have a computer, notebook, or tablet equipped with a camera, a microphone, and a stable Internet connection.
Doctoral researchers must have a room available to them in which they can be alone for the examination. Doctoral researchers and examiners must ensure there are no interruptions (telephone calls, visitors, etc.) during the examination. The camera and microphone must be switched on at all times.
- Do I have to identify myself for the online defense?
At the beginning of the video conference, doctoral students must show some form of identification (ID card, passport) and a student ID to prove their identity and student ID number, respectively. The identification and student ID numbers will be documented in the examination record.
- Can the disputation be recorded?
A recording of the examination by the doctoral students and the examiners is not permitted. The doctoral candidate will be informed of this at the beginning of the examination by the chairperson of the examination committee.
- How do you deal with extraordinary events?
Should the Internet connection fail during the examination, the examination should be continued as soon as possible provided that the doctoral researcher and the examiner(s) conclude that the connection failure will not affect the examination results and can thus be disregarded.
The examiners determine whether technical difficulties have irremediable and relevant consequences for the examination. Such difficulties may occur, for example, if there are irrevocable interruptions, overlapping discussions, or several delays that render fluid discussion impossible.
If technical failures cause irrevocable damage, the examination will be halted and will be considered as not carried out.
A date to retake the examination must be agreed with the doctoral researcher. The retake may occur directly after the first unsuccessful attempt.
- What are the costs?
Doctoral students have to pay a semester contribution of approximately €339. This includes a public transport pass, which entitles you to use Hamburg’s entire public transport network free of charge for a semester. This contribution may be refunded under certain circumstances as appropriate. More information can be found here.
- Can the semester public transport pass (part of the semester contribution) be refunded?
Yes, but only in cases where you are unable to use the ticket, e.g. because you live very close to the University or you are studying abroad for a term. In such cases, you can apply for a refund of the proportion of the semester contribution which is used to finance the semester public transport pass. You will need to contact the Studierendenwerk (Student Services) to make the application. Click on the following link for more information: https://www.studierendenwerk-hamburg.de/studierendenwerk/en/finanzen/aktuelle_infos/
- What about living costs?
According to the German weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT, living costs for a student in Hamburg are around €942 a month, which includes rent, food, clothing, travel costs, stationery and leisure activities, etc. (see living-costs calculator).