For questions related to completing doctoral studies, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Compulsory Matriculation and Enrollment
If you’re completing a doctorate at the University of Zurich, you must be enrolled during your entire doctoral studies. This compulsory matriculation requirement applies throughout, up to and including the semester in which your PhD thesis is published. Once you have received your provisional final records you can apply for a leave of absence for the duration of the publication phase (you apply via the student portal).
However, in the semester of publication you must seek regular matriculation.
The legal bases of compulsory matriculation are the Ordinance on Admission to Studies at the University of Zurich (Verordnung über die Zulassung zum Studium an der Universität Zürich (VZS) and the Admission Regulations (ZR).
If you cannot show that you have been matriculated at UZH throughout, please write to email@example.com at least four weeks before you apply to defend your PhD.
When it comes to completing your doctoral studies please also note that you must be enrolled in the right degree program (doctorate under PO 2006) and the right PhD subject.
Your choice of supervisors is subject to the Authorization for Examinations and Supervision at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Co-supervisors outside the faculty or the University must be approved by the Graduate School Vice Dean of Studies before you apply to defend your PhD. To this end your principal thesis supervisor must send an informal application addressed to the Vice Dean of Studies to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Privatdozents and adjunct professors must likewise be approved by the Graduate School Vice Dean of Studies. Please apply using the form for supervision/review of the PhD thesis by privatdozents or adjunct professors of the University of Zurich Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences: Betreuung/Begutachtung der Dissertation durch Privatdozentinnen/Privatdozenten oder Titularprofessorinnen/Titularprofessoren der Philosophischen Fakultät der Universität Zürich; German only. (PDF, 182 KB)
Preparing Your Application to Defend your PhD Thesis
Submitting your PhD thesis to the supervisors
Please send a copy of your PhD thesis direct to your supervisors. Please agree the deadline for submission and the type of binding direct with your supervisors.
Applying to Defend Your PhD Thesis
Your last chance to defend your PhD under PO 2006 is in Spring Semester 2019.
You must apply to defend your PhD Thesis within the following periods:
- Spring Semester 2019: 16 January 2019 to 15 July 2019 (defense by 31 July 2019)
The application deadlines are legally binding. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted. No exceptions will be granted.
When organizing your PhD defense please also note the following points:
- Specify the desired date for your PhD defense in your application. Please note that this must be in the semester in which you are applying to complete your doctorate.
- Your application is valid once you have received a personal confirmation of acceptance from the Office of Student Affairs. The Office of Student Affairs will send this confirmation once the accuracy of all the information and the proof that the necessary requirements have been met have been checked.
- Final arrangements for your PhD defense must not be made until you have received confirmation of acceptance.
- The reviewers must be present at your PhD defense. For this reason you should make sure to choose a date where everybody can be present in person.
You must apply for your PhD defense via Online PhD Admin Services. Before applying, please note the following section about "Documentation and Information".
Documentation and Information
Please have the following information and documentation ready for your application:
- Your licentiate diploma
- Thesis Acceptance Slip (PDF, 136 KB) (German only) signed by your principal thesis supervisor.
- Signed Pledge (PDF, 111 KB) (German only)
- Signed form for supervision/review of the PhD thesis by privatdozents or adjunct professors of the University of Zurich Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (PDF, 182 KB)
- A curriculum vitae (only full name and date of birth required); may not contain any information or other wording giving the impression that doctorate has already been legally conferred (e.g. Dr., Dr. phil., PhD, doctorate)
- Name of the co-examiner ("Beisitz"). The co-examiner must have at least completed their own PhD defense and be employed at UZH in the semester the PhD defense is held. A connection to the department or institute makes sense but is not required. The co-examiner may not be a supervisor as well.
- Desired date of PhD defense
- If applicable, approval for the faculty- or University-external co-supervisor, signed by the Vice Dean of Studies
Until the publication of your thesis you must keep the originals of the following forms in a safe place: Thesis Acceptance Slip, Pledge and form for supervision/review of the PhD thesis by privatdozents or adjunct professors of the University of Zurich Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
You must apply to defend your PhD via Online PhD Admin Services.
Organizing the PhD Defense, Note Sheet, and Expert Report
Defending a PhD: organizational matters
Only once your application has been accepted and confirmed you can make final arrangements to defend your PhD. Doctoral candidates must organize their PhD defense themselves in consultation with their supervisors and the co-examiner.
When you are organizing your defense, please note the following points:
- The date of the defense must be in the semester you are graduating in (Spring Semester between 1 February and 31 July, Fall Semester between 1 August and 31 January).
- All reviewing supervisors must be present in person at your PhD defense. A video conference (for example via Skype or Facetime) with your supervisors is no substitute for personal attendance and is therefore not permitted.
- The co-examiner takes minutes which must be submitted to the Degree team at the Office of Student Affairs along with the other documentation.
- The co-examiner must have at least completed their own PhD defense and be employed at UZH in the semester the PhD defense is held. A connection to the department or institute makes sense but is not required. The co-examiner may not be a supervisor as well.
Note sheet and expert report
Following registration for graduation the Degree team at the Office of Student Affairs sends the note sheet direct to the principal thesis supervisor.
Please also note the following points:
- The entire note sheet must be filled out, with a classification and citation included, and signed by hand by all present (including the co-examiner).
- At least two signed expert reports must be produced (electronic signature permitted). One of these expert reports must be written by a professor of the University of Zurich Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Expert reports under PO 2006 must contain an identical classification and citation. Please make sure that the date of the expert report is not earlier than the date of the PhD defense.
- All reviewers must be present in person at your PhD defense.
- The co-examiner must bring the expert reports in person, along with the note sheet, to the Office of Student Affairs, Degree team (or place them in the mailbox in front of SOC 1 108).
- If the doctorate is part of a cotutelle de thèse – a doctoral project conducted in a formalized arrangement between two universities – all the regulations and provisions of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences apply. Here the co-examiner may be from the other university.
Dispatch of provisional final records
The Degree team at Office of Student Affairs will send the provisional final records to graduates by mail within a few days after submission of the necessary documents.
Publishing Your PhD Thesis
Deadline for publishing and extensions
To earn a doctorate under the Regulations for Obtaining the Doctoral Degree at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of the University of Zurich (PO 2006) the PhD thesis must be published within three years after the provisional final records are issued. Publication before receipt of the provisional final records is not permitted for the doctorate. If you are unable to meet the deadline for publishing you must apply for an extension via Online PhD Admin Services.
Please note that you can use the title of doctor (Dr. phil.) only once you have published your PhD thesis and have received confirmation of your doctoral degree. In addition, the publication itself must not contain any information or other wording giving the impression that the doctorate has already been legally conferred at the time of publication (for example, «Dr. phil.», «got their doctorate» etc.).
ZORA (Zurich Open Repository and Archive)
With the entry into force of the new regulations of PromVO 2019 in August 2019, doctoral students under the regulations of PO 2006 and PVO 2009 are also permitted to publish their PhD thesis on ZORA. This publication must incorporate the revision requirements prescribed by your supervisors.
The thesis will be published by the Degree team at the Office of Student Affairs. You are not permitted to publish your thesis on ZORA yourself. Any duplicates will be removed by the Office of Student Affairs.
Publication on ZORA replaces publication as an e-PhD thesis or publication with a publisher, meaning that printed copies are no longer required.
Upon application, publication of the full text on ZORA can be blocked for three years. This enables you, in the interests of your academic or scientific career, to attempt to have your thesis published by a publisher, independent of the procedure for obtaining a doctoral degree. If it is necessary to block the full text for more than three years, an extension of the blocking period can be requested after three years. If you are able to present a publishing publication or a publishing contract within the three years, this is a sufficient reason for blocking the dissertation on ZORA for an unlimited period of time. Unlimited blocking can also be applied for in the case of other legal restrictions (e.g. regarding image rights).
Please apply for publication with your PhD thesis transformed into an integral PDF-A (archivable PDF, please find instructions below) via Online PhD Admin Services.
There are three options for the publication on ZORA:
- immediate publication of the full text online, i.e. publicly available
- immediate publication of the full text in the UZH-internal web, i.e. only available with UZH shortname
- Blocking of full text for three years. After three years the full text will be publicly available
Option 3 is recommended if you attempt to have your thesis published by a publisher at a later time.
Please note: After the publication on ZORA the doctorate is completed. No further changes of the uploaded PhD thesis are possible.
Once your publication request has been approved, you do not need to take any further action. The Dean's Office, Study Degrees Team, forwards the dissertation to your main supervisor for approval. Your final documents will then be drawn up and your dissertation published on ZORA.
Publication with a Publisher
If you do not want to publish your PhD thesis on ZORA you can publish it with a publisher as a transitional solution. Before press, the print version of the PhD thesis, in particular the note in the publishing information, book cover and jacket text, must be approved by the Office of Student Affairs.
You must apply for approval online via Online PhD Admin Services. If you fail to obtain approval and the information in the printed version is incorrect or incomplete, the entire run must be corrected.
The entire print run must bear the following note in German or English in the publishing information:
«Die vorliegende Arbeit wurde von der Philosophischen Fakultät der Universität Zürich im Frühjahrssemester/Herbstsemester 20[..] auf Antrag von [..] und [..] als Dissertation angenommen.»
«This work was accepted as a PhD thesis by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Zurich in the spring/fall semester 20[..] on the recommendation of [..] and [..].»
If you publish your PhD thesis with a publisher you must submit two deposit copies to the Office of Student Affairs. You must also submit one deposit copy directly to the library of the institute or department offering the PhD subject.
Plagiarism assessment for publications on ZORA
For the publication of PhD theses on ZORA a standardized plagiarism assessment by the principal supervisor is required. UZH uses the plagiarism assessment software «Plagscan». The software examines whether there are text similarities with online sources or licensed specialized literature. Please note, the software is only a tool for the assessment. The final decision if there is any plagiarism in the PhD thesis or not has to be taken by the user, i.e. the principal supervisor.
Upon receipt of the publication application the Office of Student Affairs informs the principal supervisor via email about the required plagiarism assessment.
Guide for principal supervisors
- Open Plagscan
- Login via Shibboleth Login (Access: UZH shortname and password)
- Upload the PhD thesis and start the plagiarism scan. You can leave all settings for the assessment unchanged (default setting). Depending on the size of the document the assessment takes a few minutes to one day. The assessment will be executed on the server even if you go offline.
- View the results of the plagiarism scan. «Plagscan» marks potential plagiarism directly in your document and also in the sources. By clicking on the marked points, you get the references of other sources. The so-called «PlagLevel» indicates the percentage of potential plagiarism within your document. The «PlagLevel» as well as the markings in the text are supposed to support your own analysis. UZH does not specify a certain threshold value above which a PhD thesis is clearly plagiarism.
- Download the plagiarism scan (pdf of the analyzed PhD thesis) and keep it in a safe place.
- Delete the PhD thesis with the plagiarism scan in «Plagscan» and log out.
- Please confirm via email to email@example.com:
- You carried out the plagiarism assessment by using the software «Plagscan»
- There is no plagiarism in the PhD thesis
- You approve the publication of this PhD thesis.
Dispatch of Final Records
From the moment you submit deposit copies until you receive your final records it generally takes up to 8 weeks. First the Degree Office will send you confirmation of your doctoral degree, and then a few weeks later your diploma documents. The compulsory matriculation requirement applies until the doctorate is conferred (the date of the diploma).
You may only use the title of Dr. phil. once you have received confirmation of your doctoral degree.
To celebrate doctoral degrees every year the faculty holds a graduation ceremony to which friends and family members are also invited. The ceremony is open only to graduates who have published in the specified academic year.
The following date is planned for the next graduation ceremony:
Publication in fall semester 2019 and spring semester 2020: Probably on 30 October 2020.
Due to the current situation, the graduation ceremony will not be held as a face-to-face event. We are currently working on an alternative and will inform you about it in due time.