Registering for the doctoral examination

Once doctoral candidates have written their dissertation, passed all curriculum-based courses, and fulfilled all other requirements, they can apply for admission to the doctoral examination. Each candidate must complete the following steps:

  • Submit a copy of the dissertation manuscript to each supervisor. The faculty does not bear any of the costs incurred in sending out dissertation manuscripts.
  • Submit a copy of the dissertation manuscript to the Student Administration Services of the Dean’s Office in person (during office hours or as arranged) along with the written application for admission to the doctoral examination and all details and documents specified in the information provided about registering for the doctoral examination.

Candidates should register for the doctoral examination at the latest four months before the desired oral examination date. Doctoral examinations cannot be held during master’s examination sessions. Doctoral candidates are admitted to the doctoral examination once their dissertation has been accepted by the supervisors. The Dean’s Office must be informed of their decision to accept or refuse the dissertation within the four months after the dissertation was submitted. The candidate will be provided with confirmation that the dissertation has been accepted and they have been admitted to the exam when they receive their examination invitation and schedule.

Exam organization and doctoral examination

The examination is held at the latest within two months of acceptance of the dissertation. Doctoral candidates must remain matriculated until the exam takes place. The examination is organized by the Student Administration Services of the Dean’s Office. The doctoral examination is accepted by the supervisor who is chiefly responsible; where possible, the other supervisors on the doctoral committee should always take part in exams. Examiners may participate via Skype upon request, provided that they are participating from a foreign country and that the first supervisor and the candidate attend in person. For an examiner to participate via Skype, all exam participants must provide informal, written consent to the Student Administration Services of the Dean’s Office. The candidate is responsible for the technology required. The Dean’s Office is usually able to provide the necessary devices and internet access. 

Doctoral examinations last for 60 minutes and are not usually open to the public (exceptions must be arranged beforehand with the Student Administration Services of the Dean’s Office). The exam includes a dissertation defense based on the evaluation report provided in advance. The defense starts with a presentation lasting around 15 minutes followed by a discussion, which can cover the wider subject area to which the dissertation belongs. Once the candidate has passed the doctoral examination, the examination chairperson confers the provisional doctorate. Until the doctorate becomes legally binding, the candidate may use the title Dr. phil. des. (Doctor philosophiae designatus).

Doctoral degree transcript and graduation ceremony

The degree transcript is presented at the graduation ceremony. Candidates who pass their exam between February 1 and July 31 attend the ceremony held the following September; candidates who pass between August 1 and January 31 attend the ceremony held the following March. Candidates who are unable to attend the ceremony in person may receive their graduation documents by post upon request.

Publication, doctoral certificate, and right to bear title

The doctoral process is not deemed complete until the candidate has fulfilled their duty of publication and the certificate has been presented. The candidate is obliged to deliver the dissertation in the format specified in the faculty publication guidelines within three years of the doctoral examination. The university library’s instructions for printing and binding dissertations must also be taken into account. Detailed instructions on how to publish dissertations in electronic format can be found in the E-Dissertation section of the university library’s edoc document server.

Once the candidate has fulfilled their duty of publication, the doctoral certificate will be issued, ideally within two months. The doctoral certificate entitles the bearer to use the academic title «Dr. phil.», or «PhD» in English. The doctorate will be announced in the Kantonsblatt Basel-Stadt.

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