Which doctoral programmes exist?

There are three doctoral programmes at the TU Wien, which only differ in the name of the degree, and are otherwise equivalent:

  • Doctor of technical sciences (Dr. techn.doctor/doctrix technicæ, E786): This is the most common doctoral programme and is intended for alumni of technical studies.
  • Doctor of (natural) sciences (Dr. rer. nat.doctor/doctrix rerum naturalium, E791): This programme is intended for applicants with science degrees.
  • Doktor of social and economic sciences (Dr. rer. soc. oec.doctor/doctrix rerum socialium oeconomicarumque, E784): This programme is intended for applicants with social or economic degrees.

Is the doctoral programme assigned to a certain to a certain scientific degree?

In the process of admission, the doctoral programme has to be assigned to a certain field of study. The ID of the doctoral programme (e.g. E786)  is then assigned to the respective field of study. For example, in technical physics (formerly programme ID E810), the complete ID will then be E 786 810.

Usually, the most convenient way to assign to a certain programme is to tell the department for studies your field of study. Another advantage of that approach is, that also the appropriate dean of studies is chosen.

Which doctoral programme will I be assigned to?

Unfortunately, there are no fixed guidelines, so this is decided at the point of admission on a case-by-case basis.

For alumni of the TU Wien, the department for studies decides, while for foreign students, the dean of studies has the last word. They usually apply the following criteria:

In most cases, alumni of the TU Wien will be assigned Dr. techn. (E786).

What do I need to consider before applying for the doctoral programme of social and economic sciences (Dr. rer. soc. oec.)?

This is in principle possible, though quite unusual in practice.

The reason is that your doctoral studies need to be assigned a field of study present at the TU Wien and you need a master’s degree that is related to that field. Since the TU Wien does not offer any master’s programme of economics, macroeconomics, or social sciences, which makes the admission process more complicated.

Furthermore, you need to find a supervisor related to your desired thesis topic. Eventually, you also have to take additional courses (see admission).

Which curriculum is applicable?

There is a common curriculum (in German) for all students of all three doctoral programmes.

Are the courses for PhDs held in English?

There are both English and German courses at the TU Wien. While almost all undergraduate courses are held in German, many graduate-level courses—which typically are the ones interesting for you—are offered in English (though to which degree depends on the field).

We recommend to check the language for each lecture of your interest before getting the dean of studies’ approval. If there is a course in German particularly interesting to you, you can also try to contact the speaker if they can offer the lecture (or at least the exam) in English instead.

Concerning the language of your PhD thesis, please refer to the FAQ item on the language of your thesis.

I have a degree from some other university. Can I enroll for a doctoral programme at the TU Wien?

Yes. The prerequisites are the same for alumni of the TU Wien and other universities, however you need to apply for admission at the admission office.

Additionally, you need find a supervisor for your thesis which is a Professor at the TU Wien (o. Univ.-Prof., a. o. Univ.-Prof., Assoc.-Prof. or Priv. Doz.).

Please note that that your doctoral studies need to be assigned to a field of study present at the TU Wien and you need a master’s degree that is related to that field. If you, e.g., want to enroll for the doctoral programme in the field of Chemistry, you need a master’s degree in Chemistry (or related).

I have a degree at a technical college (Fachhochschule, FH). Can I enroll for a doctoral programme at the TU Wien?

Yes, this is possible if the degree is related to a field of study present at the TU Wien. You can find the application form here.

In the case of admission, you might be required to do additional courses depending on the duration of your previous studies and the relevancy of your degree to your chosen field. You will find such requirements in your admission notice issued by the dean of studies.

There are some Austrian FH degrees that automatically admit you for the doctoral programmes (link in German). You may still be asked to do up to 60 ECTS credits of additional courses.

You can find more information at the department for studies, and the HTU office for foreign students.

I have completed a university course (Universitätslehrgang/Lehrgang mit universitären Charakter). Can I enroll for a doctoral programme at the TU Wien?

This has to be decided on a case-by-case basis. There is no legal guarantee for admission.

In the case of admission, you may be required to do additional courses up to 60 ECTS. You will find such requirements in your admission notice issued by the dean of studies.

Do I need a supervisor, a thesis topic, or a list of courses already at the point of admission?

No. However, we recommend you to look for a supervisor and a provisional thesis topic before enrollment.

Alumni of a foreign college or university will also need a written statement by a Professor (o. Univ.-Prof., a. o. Univ.-Prof., Assoc.-Prof. or Priv. Doz) at the TU Wien, proving the willingness to be your supervisor (Betreuungszusage).

How does a suspension of studies (“Beurlaubung”) work?

You have to apply no later than four weeks into the semester (sometime at the end of October or March, respectively). There is a form available at the department for studies.

Once you have suspended your studies, you do not have to pay any tuition fees. On the other hand, you are not allowed to do any exams. You do not change to the newest curriculum once you resume your studies.

Do I have to remain enroled in the doctoral programme for the whole duration of my studies?

No. You only have to be enrolled when starting your studies, at the point of your defense and whenever you want to take an exam.

Note that when you re-enroll, you automatically switch to the currently valid curriculum. 

If you are not enrolled there might occure the following disadvantages (without claiming completeness):

  • You won’t get E-Mails/Mails regarding your studies.
  • You are not allowed to vote the student representation.
  • If the curriculum is changed while you are not enrolled, some of your work might be lost/useless, due to changes in the curriculum.
  • Your thesis agreement might not be valid any more.
  • You don’t have any access to services by the university (like access to buildings, journals and file servers).
  • Conference fees may be perceptible more expensive.
  • You are not included in the insurance by the Austrian Students’ Association.
  • You don’t have any actuall student card, which might be needed for some discounts.
  • You might need it for residence title for specific purposes (like visa).

Is it possible to work beside the doctoral programme?

Yes, if you are able to complete the the required coursework worth 18 ECTS credits.

Note however that a doctoral thesis, particularly in technical science, is typically three years of full-time work. This means that working on it part-time and/or irregularily might lengthen this process significantly.

Do I have the intellectual rights in case of an invention?

If you are employed at TU Wien, the employer has to be informed about the invention. Currently, a one-time invention bonus as well as 35% from the net revenues are reserved for the inventor.

If TU Wien has no interest in the invention, private utilization is possible. For project assistents, the utilization rights of the project funder have to be respected as well. You can find more details in the message from the vice-rector for research regarding job-related inventions at TU Wien (german). For a thesis with interests of exploitation it is possible to apply for a publication suspension of up to five years( UG 2002 § 86 Abs. 2).

Can I send my application / CV to the Fachschaft Doktorat?

Please don’t.

We are the doctoral student representatives of the TU Wien.  We represent and offer support to (future) doctoral students, but we do not process your application.  We are not responsible for admission to the different programmes.

Please take a look at the dedicated section on our website, where we compiled a lot of information on the admission process. As a first step, you should try to find a supervisor for your doctoral thesis.

If you have any further questions, please let us know.

I am currently unemployed and thus not covered by a health insurance plan. What are my options for public health insurance?

If you are a legal resident of Austria, you are eligible for an insurance plan at the public health insurance  administration (“Gebietskrankenkasse”) of your federal state’s residence. Usually the monthly fee will be around EUR 370. However, as a doctoral student you are eligible for the student rate of around EUR 60 if you are still within the minimum of six semesters + four semesters of the doctoral programme.

Is there any age limit for starting a PhD?