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Doctoral Procedures in the Department of Earth Sciences

The study and examination office of the Department of Earth Sciences is responsible for all administrative aspects of the doctoral procedure.

You can find all information regarding the doctoral procedure below.

To register for the doctorate, the following documents must be submitted:

  • Supervisor agreement doc
  • Application for admission (there is only a german vision of it) doc
  • Dissertation schedule signed by the supervisor (if the supervisor is not a full-time university professor, then the signature of a full-time university professor must also be obtained)
  • If the dissertation is to be written in English, sufficient knowledge of English must be confirmed by the supervisor
  • CV
  • Declaration concerning the doctorate regulations doc
  • Degree certificates (B.Sc., M.Sc., or diploma) with grades and modules listed, constituting 300 ECTS in total (certified copies or regular copies accompanied by the originals)

The documents can be handed into the Study and Examinations Office during office hours or sent by mail. The Study and Examinations Office will obtain the approval of the chairperson of the doctoral committee.

Please also observe the Doctorate Regulations of the Department of Earth Sciences (in German only)


Once the chairperson of the doctoral committee has approved your application, you will receive an admission letter from the Academic Affairs and Examinations Office. It usually takes around 1-2 weeks from approval to sending the letter, although it may take slightly longer during vacation periods.

You will need the letter of admission in order to enroll as a student. Please also read the information on the relevant Freie Universität websites carefully.



Should the regular doctoral study period be exceeded by more than a year, you will need written confirmation from your supervisor(s) in order to stay enrolled at Freie Universität. The confirmation must state the length of the planned extension and a brief summary of the reason. It should be submitted by regular mail or email to the Academic Affairs and Examinations Office.

The dissertation must be submitted to the Academic Affairs and Examinations Office in three bound copies. If you have more than two examiners, you must submit a corresponding number of additional bound copies.

In all cases, you should also submit an electronic copy on a CD.

Once you have submitted the copies, the chairperson of the doctoral committee shall officially pass a resolution appointing the examiners. The bound dissertation must therefore not contain any reference to the identity of the examiners. Instead, a loose sheet with the names of the examiners should be inserted into each copy but should not be bound into it.

You can find the steps to follow after submitting the dissertation here.

Once you have submitted your dissertation, please note the following deadlines in relation to the oral examination (Disputation):

- The resolution on appointing the examiners by the chairperson of the doctoral committee can take 1-2 weeks.

- The examiners’ reports are usually submitted within six weeks.

- The mandatory consultation period for the dissertation, where it is available to be viewed at the Academic Affairs and Examinations Office, is 14 days following the submission of the examiners’ reports and their suggested grades.

- Following the mandatory consultation period, the members of the doctoral commission decide whether or not to accept the dissertation.

- The Disputation may take place ten days after the dissertation has been accepted

The dissertation is published at the University Library of Freie Universität Berlin. The Academic Affairs and Examinations Office sends an imprimatur to the University Library as soon as the Disputation has been passed and it has received all the documentation relating to the examination.

If the doctoral commission requires the candidate to make revisions to the dissertation, the imprimatur will not be sent to the Library until these requirements have been met in full. In this case, the Academic Affairs and Examinations Office requires confirmation from the chairperson of the doctoral commission that the requirements have been met.

Links to more information

Related Links

In order to obtain your doctoral certificate from the Academic Affairs and Examinations Office, you will need a statement of receipt from the University Library that they have received and published your dissertation. You will need to pick up your certificate in person. Please check with the Academic Affairs and Examinations Office that your certificate is ready before going to their office.

Temporary special provisions in relation to the doctoral degree

How will the measures put in place by the university to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus affect the doctoral degree procedure at the Department of Earth Sciences?


Admission documents must be sent by postal mail (not email) or submitted via the letterbox next to Room A013 on the ground floor of House A. They must include the original signatures of the doctoral candidate and their supervisor(s).

Certificates of previous degrees obtained at the Department of Earth Sciences at Freie Universität Berlin can be submitted as scans or photocopies. Certificates of degrees obtained at any other university, whether in Germany or abroad, must be submitted as certified copies when you submit your application for admission.

The letter of admission will be sent by postal mail to the address provided on the application form.

Submitting the dissertation

Please note that it is currently not possible to visit the office in person at any time.Your dissertation must be submitted as a PDF by email to geopruef@zedat.fu-berlin.de. At the same time, the original must be sent by postal mail to

Freie Universität Berlin
Fachbereich Geowissenschaften
Malteserstr. 74-100, Haus A
12249 Berlin.

The date when the email is received serves as the date of submission.

NOTE: When you send the email with the dissertation as a PDF attachment, you MUST also include your consent form confirming that...

  • The dissertation and the grades received may be sent by email to the professors and other members of the Department of Earth Sciences who hold a doctoral title;
  • The examiners’ reports may be sent by email to the members of the doctoral commission;
  • Any position statements submitted by professors and other members of the Department of Earth Sciences who hold a doctoral title may be sent by email.

The dissertation will not be forwarded to your examiners and no further steps will be taken until your consent form has been received by the doctoral degree office!

Oral examination (Disputation)

All oral examinationsshall be held entirely via video conference by agreement with the members of the doctoral commission.

Every member of the commission must agree that the examination may take place in this format. They may confirm their consent by sending a short email to this effect.

We recommend in the strongest possible terms that the official systems provided by Zedat for Freie Universität Berlin should be used for the video conference, i.e., either Cisco WebEx or FU-Meeting.

When holding the oral examination by video conference, there is no need for a monitoring officer to be appointed. The chairperson of the doctoral commission shall be responsible for checking the identity of the doctoral candidate.

Currently, oral examinations are not open to members of the public, but the doctoral candidate may, with the agreement of the doctoral commission, invite as many persons as they like to listen/watch the examination via the video link.


Once you have received a confirmation from the Dissertations Department at the University Library (Hochschulschriftenstelle) that your dissertation has been published, please get in touch with us via email to confirm your current address. Your certificate will then be sent to you via registered mail to be signed for.