Doctoral examination

Main content

Accordion. Press Tab to navigate to entries, then Enter to open or collapse content.



At least three potential dates should be agreed with the supervisor and co-examiners for the organization of the doctoral examination.

After receiving a written request or e-mail from the supervisor listing possible dates, the D-MAVT Doctoral administration will organize the time and place and a chairperson for the doctoral examination.

If the language of the doctoral examination is not English but German, please inform the D-MAVT Doctoral administration.

The D-MAVT Doctoral administration will then inform the doctoral student, the supervisor, the chairperson and the co-examiners of the exact date, time and venue for the doctoral examination. This confirmation will also state the deadline by which the doctoral student must submit the necessary documents.

The doctoral student will need to hand in the final version of the doctoral thesis to the supervisor and co-examiners at least six weeks before the examination so that they can draw up the evaluation report at least three weeks before the examination.


Registering with the D-MAVT Doctoral administration

The doctoral student will need to submit the following documents to the D-MAVT Doctoral administration at least three weeks before the date of the examination:

  • Registration form for the doctoral examination
  • Record of credit points attained at ETH Zurich (in the performance overview and study overview of myStudies)
  • The "Confirmation of course attendance” form, signed by the supervisor, for credit points acquired outside the ETH Zurich
  • A bound, hard copy of the doctoral thesis
  • A PDF of the doctoral thesis
  • A separate copy of thecurriculum vitae and a list of publications of the doctoral student; these should also be in the hard copy of the doctoral thesis
  • Doctoral students must ensure that their study achievements and the "Registration for doctoral Examination" form are authorized by the D-MAVT Doctoral administration and submitted to the ETH Doctoral administration at least three weeks before the examination

Registering at the ETH Zurich Doctoral administration

Rectorate's website (form)

Doctoral thesis

Please follow the formal guidelines of ETH Zurich when compiling the Doctoral thesis.

Cumulative doctoral thesis

The doctoral student may also submit a cumulative doctoral thesis, which is a thesis composed of several different publications. A cumulative thesis at D-MAVT must comply with the following conditions:

  • The doctoral candidate must be the primary author of all the publications.
  • The introduction must be comprehensive and cover the following: the principal issues, the methods applied, the relevance of the research work and how it contributes to specific themes.
  • There must be a detailed summary which integrates the findings of the various publications, offers suggestions for future research, and provides evidence of a clear approach to research.


The thesis supervisor proposes one or more co-examiners for each candidate. The following information must be submitted to the D-MAVT Doctoral Administration:

  • Name of the doctoral student
  • Name of the co-examiner proposed
  • Title, affiliation, institution, e-mail and curriculum vitae of the co-examiner proposed

The doctoral committee approves the co-examiners. The information will be presented at the Professors’ Conference and the Department Conference.


The supervisor and each co-examiner prepare a report on the doctoral thesis, which may be written in English or German. The signed report, both in original and in PDF form, must be sent to the D-MAVT Doctoral administration at least three weeks before the examination. The reports are confidential.

The report should contain the following information:

  • Short summary of the doctoral thesis
  • Evaluation of the scientific work and quality of the doctoral thesis
  • Recommendation or agreement with the research work.
  • Date of the report

In order to trace the author and the liability, the report must contain at least the following author contact details (Information sheet: Examiner and co-examiner reports):

  • Title, first and last names
  • University / research institution / company
  • Postal address, telephone number and email address

Board of Examiners

The Board of Examiners will be chaired by the Deputy Head of Department (the Delegate of Doctoral Affairs D-MAVT) or by former members of the Department Executive Board. The Board of Examiners comprises at least three independent experts: a chairperson, the supervisor, co-examiners, and a further ETH professor or an authorized co-examiner if there is a relationship of dependence between the supervisor and co-examiners.

If the thesis supervisor is a titular professor, then at least one elected ETH professor must be a member of the Board of Examiners.

An elected ETH professor must take part in the doctoral examination as a co-examiner when the thesis supervisor is either an emeritus professor, or is no longer working at ETH Zurich.

The minimum number of the Board of Examiners obliged to be physically present at a doctoral examination is the chairperson, the thesis supervisor and at least one of the co-examiners. Additional members of the Board of Examiners may take part via video conferencing. Doctoral examinations: Physical presence of the Board of Examiners.


Doctoral examinations at D-MAVT are open to the public. Audio and video recordings are not allowed.


The invitation to the doctoral examination is sent out at least ten days before the examination to those working at D-MAVT and gives details of the subject, time, place, the title of the doctoral thesis and the Board of Examiners.


The doctoral examination may be taken in English or German, by agreement with the chairperson.


The doctoral examination at the D-MAVT lasts for 90 minutes. The candidate’s presentation should take 30-40 minutes; the time remaining may be used for questions and discussion.

The date of the examination and the rooms allocated are published.


The Board of Examiners assesses whether a candidate has succeeded in the doctoral thesis and in the oral examination. The Board of Examiners then reports back to the Department Conference.

Repeat an examination

If the doctoral thesis has to  be re-worked or the examination has to be re-taken, details can be found in the D-MAVT Complementary Regulations on Doctoral Affairs.

Awarding the doctoral degree

On the basis of the Board of Examiners’ report, the Department Conference decides whether to award or withhold the doctoral degree.

Blumer Funds

The Blumer Funds reimburses some of the printing cost of the doctoral thesis. To apply for this, the Request of Reimbursement form must be submitted to Finances D-MAVT with the receipt of payment.

Page URL:
© 2017 Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich