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D-GESS doctoral studies / Detailed requirements

General requirements

  1. The department delegates to the doctoral supervisor the task of compiling, together with the doctoral student, a course of doctoral studies that is appropriate for the individual and the subject matter in accordance with the Ordinance on Doctoral Studies ETH Zurich dated 1 July 2008.
  2. For external doctorates, i.e. those to be undertaken outside the ETH Domain, a doctoral course of equal value should be compiled that is appropriate to the individual circumstances.
  3. It is the responsibility of the doctoral supervisor to monitor the evidence of credits gained during the doctoral course, and to ensure that any related documentation can be verified and that all the regulatory requirements have been met before the doctoral student registers for the doctoral examination.

Special requirements

  1. At least four credits should be gained by attending regular courses at ETH Zurich.
  2. Candidates who are not taking their doctorate in their original discipline must, depending on their previous field of study (social sciences/humanities or natural sciences/engineering), gain at least two credits by attending courses from the complementary discipline.
  3. One credit can be gained per conference for seminar papers or poster presentations given at non-ETH scientific conferences. Up to a maximum of two credits towards doctoral studies can be gained in this category.
  4. Attending summer schools and other continuing education programmes of a scientific nature can count for up to six credits towards doctoral studies. As a general rule of thumb, one-third of a credit can be accrued for each day of the course.
  5. Actively participating (e.g. by giving presentations, being co-examiners) in ETH or departmental seminars and colloquia can count for up to 0.5 credits per semester and up to two credits altogether.
  6. Actively helping with ETH courses (e.g. taking the lead in exercises/tutorials) can count for one credit per course and up to two credits altogether.
  7. Up to two credits can be gained by attending language courses.
  8. A maximum of half a credit per semester can be gained by being a member of one or more ETHZ committees. No more than two credits can be gained in this way.
  9. Work undertaken in order to meet any additional conditions imposed under the ETH Ordinance on Doctoral Studies cannot be counted towards doctoral studies.
  10. Work undertaken as part of the BA and MA or BSc and MSc courses cannot be counted towards doctoral studies.

Evidence of academic achievements

Evidence of academic achievements is required for the credits that have been gained as part of the doctoral course to be recognised. The evidence of academic achievements can be in the form of marks, assessments, i.e. passed/not passed, or confirmation (if possible in the form of a letter) that the doctoral student attended or helped with a summer school, course, committee, etc. As a general rule, all work that counts towards the course must be recorded in a way that is transparent, easy to understand and verifiable.

Exceptional conditions

Should there be any cases of difficulty in complying with the above recommendations, the Head of Department will decide, at the request of the doctoral student’s supervisor, whether specific work can count towards the doctoral course.

Progress reports

In addition to the annual progress reports referred to in the Ordinance on Doctoral Studies (Art. 15.3), the doctoral student and his supervisor have to draw up a progress report for the Doctoral Committee if the doctoral thesis is not completed after four years.

Zurich, 8 January 2009
Approved by the Rector:
Prof. Dr. Heidi Wunderli-Allenspach

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