Doctoral Program

All doctoral researchers at SCIoI must complete the teaching program. The curriculum consists of core courses (mandatory for all) and elective courses to be agreed on with the supervisors.

The same applies for softskill courses (see below).

Credit distribution:

36 Months (6 Semesters)

180 ECTS (150 Doctoral Thesis, 30 Teaching Program)

The doctoral program is planned over 6 semesters or 36 months. It is recommended to complete the majority of the teaching requirements within the first four semesters.

Mandatory courses

1. Curricular requirement within the current cohort
  • PI Lectures (Ringvorlesung): 2 ECTS
  • Journal Club: 2 ECTS
2. Individual curriculum

To choose among the following subject areas, requirement that courses add up to 18 ECTS

  • Philosophical Foundations ECN block course: 3 ECTS
  • BCCN Winter School – Ethical Issues and implications for Society: 3 ECTS
  • Methodological Foundations (Lecture + Tutorial): 6 ECTS
  • Analytical Sciences (Lecture + Tutorial): 6 ECTS
  • Synthetic Sciences (Lecture + Tutorial): 6 ECTS

The individual curriculum should be discussed and determined between doctoral candidates and PIs.

3. Softskill Courses


Soft skill courses include seminars on scientific writing and presentation, time and conflict management, teaching skills, career planning, project management and the similar.


  • Good Scientific Practice

Additionally, doctoral candidates must choose at least 2 courses from the following areas:

  • Scientific Writing
  • Grant Application Writing
  • Teaching
  • Conflict Management
  • Scientific Presentation
  • 1 poster presentation on a conference can be credited as one course

The recognition of ECTS for soft skills must be approved by the supervisor of each doctoral student.

Courses are offered by the following programs and institutions:

  • Humboldt Graduate School HGS
  • Dahlem Research School DRS
  • Technische Universität Berlin TU-DOC

Zarifa Mohamad will provide regular information on upcoming courses via email as well as on the SCIoI website

4. Substitution / recognition of ECTS

The following general rules hold for substitution / recognition of ECTS:

All achievements must be proved by a certificate of participation or equivalent

  • 2 ECTS can be granted for a poster presentation in an international conference
  • 2 ECTS can be granted for an oral presentation in an international conference
  • up to 4 ECTS can be granted for teaching
  • up to 2 ECTS can be granted for organization of scientific events such as workshops in international conferences

Participation in summer/winter schools might alternatively be credited equivalently, but this needs to be approved by the doctoral committee prior to the Course.

Supervision agreement

All doctoral candidates and their supervisors will sign a supervision agreement, including a timeline/workplan for the Dissertation.

Doctoral Degree

Doctoral degrees are conferred only by the faculties of universities (e.g. Faculty IV – Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), not by individual university institutes or graduate schools.

Examples for doctoral degrees

A biologist or a psychologist matriculated at Humboldt-Universität will be awarded a Doctor rerum naturalium (Dr. rer. nat.), a psychologist matriculated at Freie Universität may be granted the same title (Dr. rer.nat.) or the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), while candidates in Computer Science at the Technical University may obtain the degree Doctor-Ingenieur (Dr. ing.)

Doctoral candidates will be awarded the title typically conferred by the faculty in which they are enrolled. Which faculty doctoral candidates choose for enrolment will typically depend on the affiliation of their main supervisor. Please discuss your degree options with your supervisor(s) as soon as possible after starting the doctorate.

Employment and Enrollment at different institutions

It is possible to be employed at one university and enrolled as a doctoral student at another institution. This may be the case if the doctoral candidate is hired at Humboldt-Universität but wishes to obtain the Dr. Ing. as conferred by the Faculty IV – Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at TU. In these cases, a TU Professor must sign the Application for admission (“Antrag auf Zulassung zur Promotion“). This does not affect the SCIoI supervision agreement.

Regulations for Doctorates (‘Promotionsordnung’)

The exact requirements for the doctorate and final examinations depend on the regulations of the respective faculty. Even within the same field, these regulations may vary depending on the time of your enrollment. Also, the same rules will not necessarily apply for e.g. psychologists enrolled at the TU or HU respectively.

Therefore, doctoral candidates should talk to their supervisors, carefully read the webpages of the faculty where they are registered, and/or make appointments with the faculty’s advisors for further information.

Generally, doctoral theses (monographs or a series of peer-reviewed published papers) may be written and defended both in German or in English. However, candidates should find out whether they will have to make a special application to their faculty for an English-language thesis and defense.