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Graduate School of Life Sciences

Thesis Regulations and Submission


Please note that due to the change of our managing director and vacation times, there will be no thesis submission meetings or thesis submission possible from August 21st until September 29th.

You may nevertheless drop off your thesis and all accompanying documents as one package at our office (contact Sebastian Michel), but please be aware that the documents will not be reviewed until October and the doctoral/review procedure will only be initiated in October as well.

Please closely follow the guidelines for preparation of thesis submission and thesis submission on this page, as this will considerably speed up the process. For your convenience, we added a short guide  in addition to the check list.

We apologize for any inconvenience and hope for your understanding in this exceptional yet temporary situation.

Christian Wegener - Dean GSLS -

Decision by the Common Graduation Commission of the GSLS from 10th February 2022:

As decided by the GSLS Common Graduation Commission (“Gemeinsame Promotionskommission”) on 10th February 2022, the thesis may be prepared in the form of a monograph ("Monographie") or a manuscript/chapter-based compilation thesis ("Manuskript-/Kapitel-basierte Thesis"). Both thesis types are considered equivalent; there is no a priori difference in quality constituted by the choice whether a thesis is written as a monograph or as a compilation thesis.

Please refer to the Guidelines for the preparation of a doctoral thesis at the GSLS for details.

Please note that, in line with the new guidelines, from 1st April 2022 theses based on several published manuscripts no longer have to be approved by the Common Graduation Commission before submission at the GSLS office.

  1. Effective as of April 2022 new guidelines for the preparation of GSLS doctoral theses apply.
    You may choose between the classical “monography” and the “compilation” (chapter/manuscript) style. Please consult with your first supervisor/thesis committee before deciding on the format.

    Particularly in the case of compilation theses, don´t forget to include the forms describing your own contribution to the text, as well as to figures and tables in your thesis. If applicable, you may also use these forms when writing in monography style:

    Form Statement of individual author contributions and of legal second publication rights
    Form Statement of individual author contributions to figures/tables

    Please also check the updated guidelines for reviewers of GSLS doctoral thesis.

  2. Fundamental formatting regulations applying to both monography as well as compilation theses:

    • DIN A4, bound (soft or hard binding acceptable, double-sided printing accepted)
    • Numbered pages
    • Language: English (preferred) or German
    • Title page:
      - Thesis title in both German and in English language
      - Section (Biomedicine, Integrative Biology, Neuroscience, Infection and Immunity, Clinical Sciences)

      Names of all Thesis Committee members + Chairperson
                 Example Title page (English)
                 Example Title page (German)
    • List of contents (Inhaltsverzeichnis)
    • Summary in both German and in English language
    • Reference list (Literaturverzeichnis)
    • Publication list
    • CV – Original signature (after printing) required
    • Affidavit (eidesstattliche Erklärung) - Original signature (after printing) required
       Affidavit / Eidesstattliche Erklärung

  1. Make sure that you have fulfilled the requirements of the study program 'Life Sciences' and completed the study book (preferably electronically). Please remember that your primary supervisor must approve and sign the study book.
  2. At least 4-6 weeks before printing your thesis make an appointment for a thesis submission advisory talk with Heike Schrenk or N.N. to discuss the requirements for thesis submission, including all necessary documents, the graduation process and other formalities. A short guide can be found here.
  3. Check that your GSLS admission is valid at the time you submit your thesis.
  4. Check your thesis for compliance with the formatting regulations (see above) before printing.
  5. Prepare the following documents and forms which may take some time to complete and are required at submission:
  6. Fill in the template of the diploma supplement and send it to Heike Schrenk as a Word file. Please do not change the formatting of the template.

  1. Make an appointment with Heike Schrenk or N.N. for the submission of your thesis.
  2. The following documents are required at the submission:
  • Copy of yellow study book and copies of course certificates (GSLS study program elements)
  • Copy of identity card or marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Current matriculation certificate OR civil service working contract OR certificate of good conduct “type 0” (see preparation for thesis submission)
  • Form Application form for the Conferral of a Doctorate at the Graduate School of Life Sciences
  • Form Confirmation by the Thesis Committee
  • Form Declaration Library
  • 8 bound copies of your thesis (1 for each committee member and the chairperson, 1 for the GSLS file, and 2-3 spare copies, which can be used for submission at the library after your defense)
  • Electronic PDF version of your printed thesis and, if applicable, supplemental material (CD or USB stick)

Upon successful thesis submission, you will receive a “Laufzettel”/process sheet, on which the process of graduation (starting with thesis submission) is documented by signatures.

You will need your Laufzettel again after your successful thesis defense when completing the publication of your thesis at the university library – so please don´t lose it!

After your submission, the thesis will be sent for evaluation. You should calculate approximately 10-12 weeks in total for the following steps (please be aware that a "summa cum laude" procedure may take considerably longer due to an additional evaluation step):

  • Submission process & sending your thesis to thesis committee members and chairperson: 1-3 days
  • Evaluation of your thesis by first and second reviewer: 4-6 weeks 
  • In case of grade 'summa cum laude' - External evaluation: at least 5 weeks, often longer  
  • Processing of the evaluations and grading of the thesis (thesis committee together with chairperson): 3-5 days  
  • Mandatory electronic display of the thesis within the GSLS: 2 weeks + 1 additional day  
  • Announcement of defense: at least 7 days prior to defense date 
  • Organisation of the public defense:
               - Please be aware that you are responsible for organizing the defense date with your thesis committee incl. chairperson
               - We will continue to support hybrid defenses                      
               - Please refer to the current regulations for GSLS doctoral defenses for details

Please note: Final arrangements for your defense should only be made once your thesis has entered the electronic display phase. We can only confirm the details of your defense once your thesis has been accepted by the members of the GSLS at the end of the electronic display. We will inform you as soon as your thesis has been put on electronic display and assist with the preparation of your defense.

Doctoral Certificate

  • Right after your successful defense you will receive your preliminary certificate/”Zeugnis”. This is not the final doctoral certificate and it does NOT grant you the right to carry the title "Dr. rer. nat." or "PhD" yet.
  • It takes approximately three weeks for the university to prepare the embossed final certificate signed by the president of the JMU, which will officially grant you the title. We will hand out your final certificate together with the diploma supplement signed by the GSLS Dean.
  • Please note that we can only hand out your final certificate once we have received the notification from the university library that the publication of your thesis is complete (library signature on the “Laufzettel”/Process sheet).


Publication of the thesis via “OPUS” at the University Library

Please note: The publication via OPUS can only take place AFTER your successful defense!

The following steps are required (see information on the University library website):

  1. Submit five bound copies of your thesis to the Central University Library at Hubland together with your “Laufzettel”/Process sheet. You are welcome to use any leftover copies from the graduation process. You can collect those at the GSLS office after your defense.

  2. Complete the Publication Contract (Veröffentlichungsvertrag) and either send it to the university Library by email, or hand it in together with the 5 bound copies of your thesis.  You can find the different types of licenses on the License FAQ – please check with the library staff in case of questions. The most common licence is CC BY-SA.

  3. Upload the electronic version of your final thesis in the OPUS system through the University library website.

    • For data privacy reasons, please remove your CV from the thesis version to be published – insert blank pages instead
    • Don´t include any electronic signatures in thesis version to be published
    • You can complete the electronic submission from home
    • Please note that the upload alone DOES NOT publish your thesis - the thesis is only published once all formalities (submission of 5 physical copies and publication contract) have been completed additionally
  4. For doctoral theses which contain unpublished data or pending patent applications:
    If this applies to your thesis, it is very important that you additionally submit an application for temporary non-publication of a dissertation:

    Antrag auf vorläufige Nichtveröffentlichung  (German)
    Application for temporary non-publication (English)
    Please submit the completed form to the library either with the five physical copies of your thesis or by email.

  5. Once all formalities are successfully completed, the library will sign for the receipt of your thesis on the “Laufzettel”/Process sheet and send it back to the GSLS office. 

Important: The GSLS office requires the signature of the responsible person at the University library to be able to hand out your doctoral certificate and diploma supplement.