PhD Union/Study Matters/FAQ

Curricula and Doctoral Schools

What are the curricula for the doctoral program?

In principle, there is only one curriculum for the doctoral studies at TU Graz, which is valid for all doctoral students. However, there is the doctoral program in technical sciences (Dr. techn.) as well as the doctoral program in natural sciences (Dr. rer. nat.). However, both curricula are worded identically except for the title with which one graduates.

Which curriculum is currently valid for my doctoral program?

You can find the current curricula in TUGrazOnline or on our link list. Which curriculum you are currently subject to can also be found in TUGrazOnline under My Degree Programme.

What are Doctoral Schools?

Each PhD is assigned to a Doctoral School according to its research and task area. While the same curriculum applies to all PhDs at TU, each doctoral school has its own statutes. These may contain additional regulations, for example, regarding the doctoral school's own courses or publication practice. You can find the available doctoral schools on the TU website or on our link list.

Admission requirements

I have attended the diploma/master program XY. Can I now start my doctoral studies at Graz University of Technology?

In principle, of course, yes. However, the most important thing is to find a supervisor for your dissertation at Graz University of Technology who agrees to your project. Furthermore, you may have to take some exams if your previous studies do not fully meet the requirements of the doctoral program. Your contact persons are first and foremost your supervisor, and subsequently the dean of studies.

I have studied at a university of applied sciences. Under which conditions can I write a doctoral thesis at Graz University of Technology?

There are several regulations issued by the responsible Federal Ministry that govern the admission of graduates of universities of applied sciences to doctoral studies:

Admission to doctoral studies is partly possible without conditions and for some UAS programs under the condition of additional courses, which extend the doctorate by two semesters to four years. Please have a look at the regulations mentioned above. If your FH degree program is not included in any of the lists, it is basically up to the dean of studies to decide on admission.

Enrolment and status reports

What do I have to do at the beginning of my doctoral studies?

  • You must enrol as a doctoral student at the Registrar's Office at the Old Campus.
  • You must sign an educational agreement at the dean's office.
  • You must create a list of courses that your supervisor approves and submit it to the dean's office. It includes those 8 semester-hours of subject-specific basic courses that you plan to attend. However, it can usually be changed later without any difficulties.

Do I need a supervisor before I start my studies?

In the educational agreement, which is handed in at enrolment, you must specify a supervisor, i.e., you need the confirmation of a habilitated person at Graz University of Technology right at the beginning of your studies that he/she will supervise you. In principle, the University Act stipulates that anyone who fulfils the requirements set out in the curriculum may study and that the university must provide a supervisor. However, the practice at the TU Graz is different.

What is a status report and when or where do I have to submit it?

The status report must be submitted annually by all PhDs to the dean's office. However, this is currently handled differently by the dean's offices, there are currently no general rules. As a rule, the report is one A4 page long and must be approved by the supervisor. The report should provide information about the progress made during the past year. Publications, stays abroad, participation in conferences, summer schools, etc. should also be mentioned.

What do I do if I am working on the side and do not really have content for the status report yet?

You must write the status report anyway, and your supervisor must approve it as well. If there are reasons for little progress, they must be mentioned. In any case, no one will hold this against you.

Financing of doctoral studies / scholarships

Are doctoral students paid?

Most doctoral students at Graz University of Technology are also employed by the university, i.e., they are paid via the TU budget or via third-party funds. However, when looking for funding for his or her dissertation, there are also some scholarships available. A good overview of scholarships is provided by the central Austrian database for scholarships and research funding ( There are also funding opportunities from the TU Graz, such as the scholarship for short-term scientific work, which can be used to cover travel and accommodation costs.


What are subject-specific basic courses?

According to the curriculum, each doctoral student must complete 8 semester-hours of subject-specific basic courses. These courses must be agreed upon in advance with the supervisor. A corresponding list must be submitted to the dean of studies at the beginning of the program, who will then approve it. In principle, the dean of studies can also credit external courses, summer schools, or similar. We strongly recommend a preliminary clarification about the crediting with the dean of studies.

What is Scientific Methods?

This seminar is intended to familiarize doctoral students with scientific practice. The exact course is regulated differently from doctoral school to doctoral school. In some of them crediting of other seminars (e.g., of the TU Internal Continuing Education) is possible, in others it is excluded! Information about this can be obtained from the dean of studies or the coordination team of the respective DocSchool.

What is the Seminar for Doctoral Students / What are the DocDays?

At least once during the doctoral studies, information about the work should be given at the Doctoral School's Seminar for Doctoral Students (often also called DocDays). It is important to ensure that a presentation is given that is as comprehensible as possible and that is fair to all participants of the Doctoral School.

Which soft skills courses can I attend?

In many Doctoral Schools soft skills are a part of the curriculum. We would like to draw your attention to the following institutions that offer such courses outside the walls of the TU:

Please pay attention to the handling of credits in your doctoral school, the dean of studies is responsible for this. In some DocSchools, for example, no language courses are credited.

Transitional provisions

I study at Graz University of Technology according to an old doctoral curriculum. When do I have to change?

In general: When a new curriculum comes into effect, all those who are subject to the expiring curriculum still have the minimum duration of study plus one additional year to complete their studies in the expiring plan. If you were required to take additional courses at the beginning of your studies (e.g., because you completed a UAS program), this period will be extended by the number of semesters that were additionally required of you. A voluntary change is of course possible at any time.

Doctoral thesis

Where can I find out which formal criteria my doctoral thesis must meet, i.e., printing, binding, etc.?

Basically, these criteria are determined by the respective dean's office. It is certain that two bound copies of the dissertation must be handed in, as well as that an affidavit must be included, which testifies that the dissertation has been written by the student.

Final examination and grading

What is the procedure for the final examination?

This is regulated very differently in the individual doctoral schools. You can find more information in the respective statutes of your DocSchool. The only general rule is that there is a presentation by the doctoral candidate as well as an examination part. There is a chairman of the examination board and two examiners.

What should I bear in mind when preparing for the exam?

Above all, the long submission deadlines must be considered! This is about 2 months. This means that the work must be submitted to the dean's office this period before the examination date.

How is the overall grade for the doctoral program composed?

The courses of the curricular part are combined into one examination subject. The grade for this is calculated as the average of the individual course grades weighted by the number of hours of the courses. The overall grade for the doctoral program is then the result of the grades for the dissertation, the final examination, and the curricular portion, with all three parts having to be positively evaluated. A distinction is awarded when at least 50% has been assessed as “very good” and none of the three grades is worse than “good”.

Study and employment

What employment relationships are there for doctoral students, what should be considered?

For doctoral students employed at the TU the following things must be considered: In general, one can distinguish between two types of employment; globally funded (paid directly by TU) and project staff (paid by third-party funds/projects). However, both groups have TU Graz as their employer. When taking up employment, a contract is signed with the TU Graz. This contract is limited in 99,9%. However, the duration of the contract, the payment and other points can vary considerably. It is advisable to read the contract carefully and, if necessary, to (re-)negotiate it.

Who is my staff representative?

All scientific staff members at TU Graz are represented by the Staff Council for Scientific Staff (BRwiss). Due to the sometimes very different contracts, it is advisable to consult the works council in this regard.

Am I obliged to teach?

While globally employed staff members are contractually obligated to teach to a certain extent, project staff members are not actually required to do so. If project employees are to teach, they would have to be paid additionally by the TU.

Can I claim compensatory time off?

Since scientific activities often require a lot of time, it is easy to accumulate overtime. However, if you try to get credit for this in the form of compensatory time, you may experience difficulties. Additional work during the dissertation is often listed under the term “scientific self-interest”. This leads to the fact that there is no claim to compensatory time or more money. It is advisable to talk to the head of the institute and try to reach an agreement that suits both sides.

What is TU Graz Mentoring and is it also aimed at doctoral candidates?

TU Graz Mentoring offers the opportunity for an active exchange with an experienced scientist who has already gained extensive knowledge and numerous insights at TU Graz. The mentor gives practical tips, imparts informal rules, and passes on personal knowledge as well as self-acquired experience. TU Graz Mentoring addresses the entire scientific staff and thus also doctoral candidates employed at TU Graz. More information is available in TU4U (only in German).


Who are my student representatives?

In your Doctoral School these are the student members of the coordination team. For the curriculum the StV Doktorat is responsible, better known as PhD Union ;)

Who is responsible for the curriculum?

The Curricular Committee of the Senate for PhD and Postgraduate Programmes.

Who is responsible for the statutes of my Doctoral School?

The coordination team of the respective Doctoral School.

Who is responsible for the admission to the doctoral program and for the creditability of courses?

The Dean of Studies assigned to your Doctoral School