Rules and Regulations, Doctoral Studies Program Biomedical Sciences

Doctoral Studies Program Biomedical Sciences at Dahlem Research School (DRS) of Freie Universität Berlin

Preamble

By virtue of section 14, paragraph 1 no. 1 and 4 of the Partial Basic Regulations (Teilgrundordnung) dated October 27, 1998 (FU Memoranda No. 24/1998) in conjunction with section 74 of the Berlin Universities Act in the State of Berlin (Berliner Hochschulgesetz – BerlHG) as amended pursuant to the public announcement of the new version dated February 13, 2003 (GVBl. page 81) as amended by law on July 12, 2007 (GVBl. page 278), the Joint Committee for the doctoral studies program Biomedical Sciences of the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Biology, Chemistry and Pharmaceuticals (JC) issued the following Academic Rules and Regulations for the doctoral studies program Biomedical Sciences at Dahlem Research School of Freie Universität Berlin on June 24, 2008 ·):

Content

Section 1        Area of Validity

Section 2        Components and Objective of the Doctoral Studies Program

Section 3        Admission Requirements, Application and Selection Procedures

Section 4        Selection Interviews

Section 5        Structure of Doctoral Studies Program, Standard Study Period, Languages of Instruction

Section 6        Organization of Doctoral Studies Program, Competent Authorities

Section 7        Student Workload

Section 8        Academic Research Project

Section 9        Subdiscipline Doctoral Studies Related to the Doctorate Subject, Teaching and Learning Courses

Section 10      Acquiring Skills in the Subdiscipline Knowledge Transfer

Section 11      Acquiring Skills in the Subdiscipline Research Management

Section 12      Acquiring Skills in Foreign Languages Relevant to the Subdiscipline

Section 13      Reporting Obligations, Dropout and Completion of the Doctoral Studies Program

Section 14      Commencement

 

Appendix 1: Sample Curriculum and Overview of the Requirements in the Subdisciplines and Modules

Appendix 2: Supervisor Agreement (Sample)

Appendix 3: Template for the Certificate

Appendix 4: Template for the Transcript of Records


Section 1:  Area of Validity

These Rules and Regulations govern the admission prerequisites, application and selection procedures, as well as the requirements for the content, structure, goals, organization and performance requirements for the doctoral studies program Biomedical Sciences (Doctoral Studies Program) at Dahlem Research School (DRS) of Freie Universität Berlin. 


Section 2: Components and Objective of the Doctoral Studies Program

(1) The doctoral studies program consists of academic research, with special emphasis on writing a dissertation, and academic course work as defined in section 9, paragraph 1 and sections 10 through 12, and the elements of the supervisory program.

(2) The objective of the doctoral studies program is to promote excellence in academic research by providing excellent doctoral education for outstanding researchers. Both the academic program and the course requirements pursuant to section 9, paragraph 1 and sections 10 through 12 as well as participation in the supervisory program offered are designed to achieve this objective. In addition to conveying academic skills, the doctoral programs shall also aim to impart key general qualifications, especially in the fields of knowledge transfer, research management and foreign language skills.The doctoral studies program is designed to prepare students in particular for academic positions at universities, research institutes as well as other research-related management positions in private and public institutions and civil society.


 Section 3:  Admission Requirements, Application and Selection Procedures

(1) The application deadline is February 1 of each year for the following summer semester and August 1 of each year for the following winter semester. Typically, the date set to begin the studies program is April 1 of each year for the summer semester and October 1 of each year for the winter semester. In justified exceptional cases, applications may be considered at another time if it is deemed possible and reasonable to commence studies at this point in time and provided that two university professors involved in the doctoral studies program give their approval.

(2) The JC shall appoint a management committee (MC), which shall be responsible for selecting applicants. The members of said committee shall be appointed by the chairperson of the JC on behalf of the Executive Board of the University for a term of two years. It shall consist of the following members:

- The Representative for the doctoral studies program as the committee chair

and

- Two additional university professors from each department involved in the doctoral studies program

as members with voting privileges

as well as

- One student enrolled in the doctoral studies program from each department involved in the doctoral studies program in an advisory role. 

If postdoctoral academic employees are involved in the doctoral studies program, such shall nominate one member with voting privileges for each department that is involved in the doctoral studies program. The term of office of the members with voting privileges shall be for two years, while members in an advisory role shall serve for one year.

At least three votes must be cast by members of the MC with voting privileges in order for resolutions to pass. In the event of a tie vote, the Representative shall have the decisive vote. 

(3) The admission requirements are as follows:

a) A written declaration by the authorized Doctoral Committee stating that the applicant may be accepted in the doctoral studies program without further conditions and with no time limit;

b) Outstanding potential for academic performance and advancement;

c) All applicants who are neither native English speakers and who have earned the degree required for admission to the doctoral program at an educational institution with English as the language of instruction are required to submit proof of their proficiency in English equal to a B 2 level as defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) or proof of equivalent proficiency in English. The MC shall decide on equivalency on a case-by-case basis.

d) All applicants who are neither native German speakers and who have earned a degree at a university abroad or at an educational institution of equal standing abroad, shall be required to provide proof of their full ability to study in the language of instruction by having passed the German language exam required for university admission (DSH) with a grade of DSH 2 or equivalent proficiency in the language as defined by the rules and regulations governing the German language exam for university admission of foreign applicants at Freie Universität. The MC shall decide on equivalency on a case-by-case basis.

e) Submission of a tabular summary of activities and experiences gained thus far relevant to the doctoral studies chosen by the applicant;

f) A short, convincing justification for the candidate's motivation in applying to the doctoral studies program;

g) A letter of recommendation and a letter of acceptance with regard to a place of employment and supervision by the Supervisor pursuant to the relative doctorate rules and regulations;

h) A one-page summary of the planned dissertation project

as well as

i) A selection interview according to section 4, if required. 

4) Applicants are to submit a written application for the doctoral studies program to include the certificates of academic achievement according to paragraph 3 letters a) through h) to the chairperson of the MC by the application deadline defined in paragraph 1, sentence 1.

(5) The MC shall select applicants for admission to the doctoral program based on the written application documents and, as the case may be, based on the selection interview as described in section 4. The most qualified applicants may be permitted by the Selec­tion Commission to submit missing certificates and documents at a later date, or, in case of doubt, it may request applicants to supply additional information in written or oral form. The names of applicants deemed suitable for admission to doctoral studies shall be submitted to the Executive Board of Freie Universität Berlin (Applications and Admissions Department).

(6) Applicants selected for admission shall receive written notification stipulating deadlines for submitting confirmation of acceptance in writing and for enrollment. The places of candidates who fail to observe these deadlines shall be reallocated. Applicants that have been denied admission shall receive written notifications with reasons for the rejection.

(7) In the event that admission to the doctoral procedure has expired in accordance with the provisions in the Articles of Study Affairs (SfS), the acceptance to the doctoral studies program shall expire.


Section 4:  Selection Interviews

(1) After review of the application documents, the MC may invite applicants to participate in selection interviews.

(2) The invitation shall be considered to have been received in a timely fashion if posted no later than 10 working days prior to the date of the selection interview. Invitations sent to applicants residing in a foreign country shall be granted an extended period of notice as appropriate.

(3) The selection interviews shall be conducted by the MC.

(4) The selection interview shall be scheduled for 40 minutes and shall consist of a presentation on a subject chosen by the applicant in the field of research relating to the dissertation project, which shall be approximately 15 minutes in length, followed by a discussion.

(5) The selection interview shall be documented in a report stating the main reasons for the positive or negative evaluation of the applicant. 


Section 5:  Structure of Doctoral Studies Program, Standard Study Period, Language of Instruction

(1) The doctoral program shall consist of project-related and transdisciplinary academic elements (section 9). It shall also include general courses on knowledge transfer (section 10), and research management (section 11) and foreign language courses (section 12).

(2) The standard study period shall consist of six semesters.

(3) The languages of instruction in the doctoral studies program shall be English and German. 


Section 6:  Organization of Doctoral Studies Program, Competent Authorities

(1) With the consent of DRS, the MC shall appoint a Representative who shall be responsible for conducting the doctoral studies program as well as a Deputy to the Representative, both of whom are to hold the office for a term of two years respectively. Each department involved in the doctoral studies program shall alternate in turn in nominating the Representative and his/her Deputy.

(2) The Representative shall conduct the day-to-day business of the doctoral studies program. In particular, the Representative shall be responsible for academic coordination. The Representative shall report to the DRS with regard to how the doctoral studies progressed over the course of the previous academic year.

(3) The Representative shall ensure that individual students are assigned, with their consent, to a supervisory team, which shall typically consist of three, however a minimum of two individuals. The supervisory team shall include the Supervisor of the dissertation project and at least one other faculty member from the doctoral studies program. Depending on the assessment by the first two supervisors, a third member should be added as another faculty member that has expertise relevant to the subject matter or outside of the subject matter of the doctoral studies program. In justified exceptional cases, a supervisor may be called upon from an institution outside of the university.  At least two members of the supervisory team must be university professors. One member of the supervisory team must be a member of DRS.

(4) Based on the project related portion of the doctoral studies program and with the consent of the student and the Representative, the supervisory team shall define the scope and length of time dedicated to the courses of in-depth study to be completed by the student, taking into consideration the measures stipulated in sections 7 through 12.

(5) Acceptance into the doctoral studies program requires the persons involved to sign a supervisor agreement as shown in Appendix 3, which shall stipulate the duties and obligations of both the student and the supervisory team. The signed agreement shall be taken on the respective file.


 Section 7: Student Workload

(1) The workload scheduled for the student to successfully fulfill the requirements of the academic study program in compliance with section 9, paragraph 1 and sections 10 through 12 as well as complete the supervisory program of the doctoral studies program can be found in Appendix 1.


 Section 8:  Academic Research Project

(1) The academic research project pursuant to section 2, paragraph 1 above shall serve to prove the student's ability to perform independent research.

(2) The curricula of the project-related portion of the doctoral studies program shall in general be based on the object of research of the supervisors and department members of the doctoral studies program.

(3) The results of the student's own research project are generally to be published in several written publications in sophisticated international academic magazines recognized for the evaluation system. The publications may also be accepted by the supervisory team if a manuscript was approved for publication or a manuscript was submitted for publication that the supervisory team categorized as being acceptable. The student is to be the original author of each publication.

(4) Typically to be included within the research project shall be a study period at another suitable research institution, either in Germany or abroad. The location, frequency and length of time of such study periods shall depend on the amount of progress achieved in each particular case.


Section 9:  Project-Related Doctoral Studies, Teaching and Learning Courses 

(1) The project-related part of the doctoral studies program shall include in particular the teaching and learning courses listed below: 

(a)   Interdisciplinary presentation seminars

Participation in organized seminars conducted by university professors aimed at providing students with the ability to acquire the skills necessary to present and professionally discuss their own and research projects and findings and those of others in English, especially such skills extending beyond their own area of research.

(b)   Advanced project-related and interdisciplinary lectures or seminars

Participation in advanced project-related and disciplinary lectures and seminars aims at providing the students with the ability to acquire the knowledge and skills listed in section 2, paragraph 2 that are necessary for successful research projects. It shall be coordinated with the supervisory team which of said lectures and seminars the student is to attend.

Pursuant to the sample curriculum (Appendix 1), students are to complete a total of 266 hours of such lectures and seminars as defined in sentence 1, letter (b). The Representative shall determine a list of lectures and seminars offered and list such in Freie Universität Berlin's Catalog of Names and Courses (NVV) under a dedicated heading. 

(2) Students shall be required to regularly attend and actively participate in all seminars scheduled during the academic study program with a curriculum as defined pursuant to section 9, paragraph 1 and section 1 through 10 and to also take advantage of the supervisory program offered.

(3) Courses offered by other graduate schools, including graduate schools abroad, research training groups of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) as well as such offered in the form of cooperation with the Max ­Planck Research Schools, Collaborative Research Centers or other collaborative research initiatives and doctoral programs of other universities, educational and non-university institutions with the right to confer doctoral degrees may be included in the doctoral studies program in so far as they integrate achievements of equal value regarding internal requirements and teaching methods.

(4) At least 50 percent of the credits provided for within these rules and regulations must be completed during the doctoral studies program at Freie Universität Berlin.


 Section 10:  Acquiring Skills in the Subdiscipline of Knowledge Transfer

 At regular intervals, students shall be required to present the results of their research work at academic symposia. In addition, each respective supervisory team shall provide appropriate opportunities to their students to communicate significant findings from their research field during lectures and seminars


Section 11: Acquiring Skills in the Subdiscipline of Research Management

Students shall gain experience in planning research projects and acquiring third-party funding and shall develop general skills in research management and organizing and coordinating academic activities.


Section 12:  Acquiring Skills in the Subdiscipline of Foreign Languages Relevant to Academia 

(1) Students who are not native German speakers are to provide certification of their proficiency in German pursuant to section 3, paragraph 3, letter c) and moreover are to acquire additional proficiency in German during the doctoral studies to the extent that they may be fully integrated in a German academic environment.

(2) Students who are not native English speakers are to provide proof of their proficiency in English pursuant to section 3, paragraph 3, letter c) and moreover are to acquire additional proficiency in English during the doctoral studies to the extent that they have the skills needed to communicate on an academic level both orally and in writing.


 Section 13:  Reporting Obligations, Dropout and Completion of the Doctoral Studies Program

(1) Students shall be required to give a report at least once a year on the progress and status of their dissertation projects in presentation seminars.

(2) Students shall be required to prepare a written report on the progress of their dissertation projects and on the courses, symposia and workshops they attended every six months.

(3) Based on the semi-annual reports, the supervisory team shall evaluate the student's progress.The supervisory team shall asses­s whether the student is making adequate progress both with respect to participation in the doctoral program and in his or her dissertation project. In particular, they must certify that the student is suc­cessfully meeting the requirements stipulated within the rules and regulations at hand. Said requirements involve fulfilling the research tasks in a timely manner, especially completing the dissertation on time and fulfilling the requirements of the academic study program within the timeframe including the curricula as defined in section 9, paragraph 1 and sections 10 through 12 as well as taking advantage of the supervisory program. If the results of the evaluation are negative, the Representative of the doctoral studies program shall be notified accordingly in writing.

(4) Based on the overall opinion of the supervisory team, the Representative of the doctoral studies program shall make a decision on whether the student may remain in the doctoral studies program and, depending on the outcome, may take steps to expel the student from the University.

(5) Any written documents relating to the students shall be filed in their respective doctoral file.

(6) Generally, after a period of 18 months, the supervisory team shall conduct an intermediate evaluation; said evaluation may be conducted in conjunction with the third semi-annual report.  The intermediate evaluation shall focus on the content of the research projects and courses completed up until the respective period of time. In the event that the results of the intermediate evaluation are not positive, said evaluation may be repeated at another date, which is to be determined by the supervisory team. Should the evaluation again be negative, the Representative shall be notified of the results in writing and at this time steps shall be taken to exclude the student from the doctoral studies program and, as the case may be, expel the student from the University.

(7) Graduation certificates and transcripts of records (Appendices 3 and 4) shall be issued to students who successfully complete the doctoral studies program in accordance with the academic rules and regulations stipulated within this document.


 Section 14:  Commencement 

These rules and regulations shall take effect one day after being published in the Memoranda (official register of Freie Universität Berlin). 


*) These rules and regulations were confirmed by the competent senate office in charge of universities on July 4, 2008.