The training programme, the written thesis work and its defense, should generally be completed within three years. The programme may occasionally be extended to four years, especially for those students involved in fieldwork, long stays abroad and/or implementing novel techniques or approaches.
The scientific contributions made by the students in the course of their PhD studies are summarized in a written thesis, which will be evaluated by two independent external reviewers. Since a published track record is crucial for any further scientific career, rapid publication of the candidate’s results in reputable peer-reviewed, and sometimes high-profile journals is a primary goal and a joint responsibility of both student and supervisor. Thus, a cummulative thesis is strongly favored, consisting of multiple publications (where the candidate is the first author of at least three publications) and a general introduction chapter (which provides the synthesis of the thesis topic).
The PhD proceedings are concluded by a public thesis defense, consisting of a scientific talk covering the work performed by the student towards the degree, followed by a discussion with the audience and an (open) examination by a committee. After successful completion of all educational activities, including writing the thesis and thesis defense, the students will obtain a PhD Degree conferred by the University of Vienna.