History and Mission

The hallmark of doctoral training is original research. The doctoral phase was however also defined as the "Third Cycle" in the context of the European Higher Education Area ("Bologna Process"), extending higher education beyond the first (Bachelor) and second (Master) cycle. The "Third Cycle" concept implies "structured doctoral training". Scientific and transferable skills training, as well as supervision and mentoring are provided at some institutional level and for all doctoral students. Individual doctoral projects are embedded in the broader context of research training groups or similar interdisciplinary programs.

The University of Würzburg was a trend setter with respect to structured doctoral training in Germany. In 2003, the University founded the "International Graduate School”, starting with faculty spanning programs in biology and medicine. Since then, the concept of Graduate Schools sustained by several faculties each was extended throughout the university. As a consequence, the International Graduate School changed into a holding under the new name “University of Würzburg Graduate Schools” (UWGS). Four self-governed Graduate Schools are currently united in this organisation (see Fig. above).

The holding has the status of a Central Scientific Institution (“Zentrale Wissenschaftliche Einrichtung”) of the University. It sets and controls general standards, develops regulations for the operation of all Graduate Schools and safeguards a coordinated development. At the same time, the UWGS assumes operative functions concerning all Graduate Schools.