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Cumulative Doctoral Thesis

The current Regulations for the Conduct of Doctoral Examinations for the Dr. phil. and the Dr. rer. pol. permit doctoral students – in agreement with their supervisors – to submit either

  • an unpublished or partly published monograph or

  • a cumulative thesis consisting of published and/or unpublished individual papers, which, as a whole, must represent an academic achievement equivalent to that of a monograph.

Some of the prerequisites a cumulative doctoral thesis has to meet have been included in § 7(2) of the regulations. Published papers must have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, unpublished papers must have been accepted for publication by peer-reviewed scientific journals. And in addition to the individual papers a cumulative thesis shall include a table listing the titles of the individual papers, an introduction, and connecting text which has to comprehensively interpret, assess and discuss the individual parts of the thesis.

The regulations do not define, however, according to which criteria the equivalence of a cumulative doctoral thesis with a monograph should be evaluated. This is why the department´s committees for doctoral examinations had to pass supplementary resolutions. Every cumulative doctoral thesis will be subject to an individual assessment upon submission. But in order to provide a guideline for doctoral students the commitees for doctoral examinations of our four institutes have determined specific criteria.

In any case, the competent committee for doctoral examinations will merely determine whether the cumulative thesis represents an academic achievement equivalent to that of a monograph. The decision on acceptance (and grading) or rejection of the thesis will be drawn by the doctoral commission, exactly as it were the case with a monograph. Doctoral students who wish to submit a cumulative doctoral thesis should therefore involve their reviewers and the further members of the commission at the earliest possible point in time.

Otto-Suhr-Institute of Political Science

  • Depending on their length three to five papers have to be submitted which can be classified as belonging to a common topic and which have to be connected by an introduction, joining parts and a conclusion.
  • All papers have to be either already published by a peer-reviewed journal or at least accepted for publication. Proof of publication and/or acceptance has to be presented upon submission of the thesis.

  • The majority of papers must have been written by the doctoral student as sole author.

  • In any paper that has been produced in co-authorship the contributions of the doctoral student and the co-author have to be clearly marked.

  • A co-author of one or several of the individual papers can not act as reviewer of the cumulative doctoral thesis. 

  • The majority of papers must have been published in or accepted for publication by journals dedicated to Political Science.  

Institute of Sociology

  • A cumulative thesis shall consist of at least four papers.

  • These papers have to belong to a common topic.

  • The papers must have been published or accepted for publication by an established peer-reviewed journal.

  • At least one of the papers must have been written by the doctoral candidate as sole author. In addition to that the doctoral student must be the main author of two further papers.

  • At least one of the reviewers of the cumulative thesis shall not be a co-author of any of the individual papers it consists of.

Institute for Media and Communication Studies

  • Content Requirements
    The dissertation can be written in cumulative form on the basis of already published or demonstrably accepted communication science publications. In this case, a conclusive overall concept must be submitted for admission to the doctorate. When the dissertation is submitted, the overall concept manifests itself in an umbrella document for the publications which have been submitted, which sets out the thematic and specialist as well as, if applicable, methodological context of the publications submitted and the link to the framework concept (see below).

  • Supervisor, Expert, and Examiner
    In the case of a cumulatively written dissertation, it is not possible to appoint a reviewer or examiner who has co-authored or co-published the submitted work or parts thereof.

  • Benchmarks of the Cumulative Dissertation
    The dissertation consists of three articles published or demonstrably accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals; at least one of the articles must be published in an English-language journal listed either in the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) or in the Arts & Humanities Citation Index (AHCI). The doctoral candidate must be the sole author of two of the articles and the first author of another article.
    In the sense of a conclusive overall concept, the essays that represent the cumulative dissertation must be thematically related. In the umbrella publication, the theoretical and methodological foundations of the research work, the synthesis of the findings, the essential innovations and conclusions as well as their significance for the doctoral subject should be presented. The umbrella publication should be at least 10,000 words long and should be attached to the written doctoral application together with the essays in bound form.
    The period between the date of publication of the most recent essay and the date of publication of the oldest of the articles included may not exceed six years. In the case of parental leave, the period shall be extended by two years per child up to a maximum of four years.

Institute of Social- and Cultural Anthropology

Subject Social- and Cultural Anthropology
  • The thesis shall consist of at least four papers.

  • At least two of the papers have to be written by the doctoral candidate as sole author. Moreover the doctoral candidate has to be the main author in at least one more of the remaining two papers.

  • The papers must have been published or accepted for publication by established peer-reviewed journals.

  • The topics of the papers have to be related.

  • The introduction, in which the papers of the cumulative thesis are comprehensively interpreted, graded and discussed, has to consist of at least 40 to 50 pages.

  • At least one of the reviewers of the cumulative thesis shall not be a co-author of any of the individual papers it consists of.

 Subject Visual and Media Anthropology
  • The cumulative-thesis consists of a written and a media-based part.

  • The number of the consisting papers has to be at least two.

  • The papers must have been published or accepted for publication by established peer-reviewed journals.

  • One of the papers has to be written by the doctoral candidate as sole author.

  • The introduction, which interprets, grades and discusses the papers of the cumulative thesis comprehensively, has to consist of at least 40 to 50 pages.

  • The scope of the media-based part is specified in the following way: candidates may submit
    - either a movie with a length of at least 45 minutes
    - or two short movies
    which have been directed by the respective candidate and received an invitation to an ethnographic film festival, a documentary film festival or to another relevant film festival.

  • At least one of the reviewers of the cumulative thesis shall not be a co-author of any of the individual papers it consists of.