What Do I Need to Complete my PhD?

Curriculum of PhD Studies

Please note: Use your student's e-mail address (STUDMAIL) for any communication with the Study Management.

1. Lectures & Courses

Fundamentals of scientific research in doctoral studies (2 SWH)

Introduction to the research topic of the respective PhD program (1 SWH)

Fundamentals of scientific research and general skills: 4 SWH in total/at least 2 courses; e.g.:

  • Scientific Presentation Skills
  • Scientific Writing
  • Biostatistics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Bioethics
  • Basic and Advanced Methods in Biomedical Research
  • Summer School in Complementary Skills
  • Summer School in Complementary Skills – Career Development
NOTE: If students have not completed a corresponding course in their preceding study program, a course on the basics of biostatistics with a scope of 2 SWH shall be completed as part of the doctoral degree program.

Dissertation seminars: summing up to a minimum of 8 SWH; e.g.:

  • Technical workshops
  • Doctoral studies retreats

plus at least 2 practical courses; e.g.:

  • Animal handling and basics in mouse experiments (Haemmerle)
  • Molecular pathology (Hoefler, Kashofer, Vesely)
  • Proteomics (Birner-Gruenberger)
  • Radioactive methods in biochemistry (Haemmerle)
  • Functional characterization of animal models of metabolic liver diseases (Fickert)
  • Physiology and pathology of excitation-contraction coupling in the heart (Sedej, Holzer, Rainer)
  • Metabolic Phenotyping (Madl)
  • Developing grantsmanship (Prokesch, El-Heliebi, Madl, Sedej)
  • Recombinant DNA and RNA Methodology (Kratky, Radovic)
  • Cellular Ca2+ imaging: from the bulk to the subcellular level (Graier, Malli)
  • Precision medicine and immunooncology (Pichler, Klec)
  • Nutrient signaling; metabolic regulation of gut - liver & adipose tissue metabolism (Moustafa, Vujic, Schweiger)
or equivalent, practical courses of other PhD programs at the Med Uni Graz (e.g. MolMed, DK-MOLIN or the BioTechMed-Graz PhD Program.
Courses taken at other universities or study programs require recognition by the Dean of Study Affairs.

Literature clubs and guest lectures (8 SWH)
Please use the attendance list and submit it to

Project presentations (1 SWH)
The first 2 active attendances at scientific retreats of the DK-MCD are accounted as project presentations; any further active attendance is accredited as dissertation seminar.
The scientific retreats are the main networking events the DK-MCD and platform to establish interaction and exchange. Thus, we expect our students to attend it as often as possible!

Public Presentations
During the course of the program, three public presentations shall be prepared and presented for example at the Doctoral Day of the Med Uni Graz or at national or international conferences.
Active participation in at least 1 Doctoral Day of the Med Uni Graz is mandatory.
Conference presentations must be recognized by the Dean of Doctoral Studies (application by e-mail to

Electives: A total maximum of 4 SWH of fundamentals of scientific research and general skills, dissertation seminars and/or literature clubs and guest lectures may be completed as electives, taking into consideration the thematic context of the doctoral thesis and the scientific depth appropriate to the doctoral degree program. Electives can be chosen from MEDonline or may be completed at any postsecondary educational institution. They are subject for approval by the Rector of Studies in a recognition procedure after a positive statement has been obtained from the spokesperson of the doctoral program.

2. Reports

Dissertation Agreement (1st semester)

Presentation of the Dissertation Topic and the Working Plan (1st semester)

1st and 2nd Progress Report (3rd and 5th semester)

3. Publication(s)

At least one publication has to be accepted in an internationally approved peer-reviewed journal (SCI listed) with the student as first author.

4. PhD Thesis / Dissertation

Please see

The submission of a cumulative dissertation is permissible in particular and justified cases, but only after consultation with the Dean of Doctoral Studies and in compliance with the “Guidelines for the Preparation of a Dissertation”.

Prerequisites for submission of the thesis:

  • successful completion of all courses according to the Curriculum of PhD Studies (incl. recognition of external courses and/or public presentations if required; timely confirmation with the Study Management is recommended)
  • at least one paper arising from the research published, or accepted for publication, in an SCI-listed journal with the candidate as first author
  • valid enrollment to the PhD studies (enrollment always applies until the end of the registration deadline of the following semester (March 31 / October 31)

Submission of the thesis in MEDonline:

  • in PDFa format via MEDonline (no bound copy required)
  • abstracts in English and German are required to be filled into the online form
  • Assessor A/internal in the form corresponds to the supervisor; the other assessors are the members of your Thesis Committee.
  • Eligible reviewers are scientists who hold a teaching qualification (venia legendi) or a comparable qualification within the field of the dissertation, if they are not subject to any kind of conflict of interest, and if they are affiliated to a university other than the Medical University of Graz. The supervisor and members of the Dissertation Committee must not serve as reviewers of the dissertation. We recommend seeking their agreement to act as evaluators and confirm their availability at the proposed time of submission beforehand.
  • Submission of the online form: It contains the signed consent for publication, signed assessment of the completed dissertation, first author publications as requested in the form, written comments from all co-authors (checklist 1d), permission to reproduce the material from the copyright holders (if required - checklist 4), restriction of use – if required (to be submitted with supervisor statement). The thesis will not be processed unless the completely filled form has been submitted.
  • Restriction of Use: If required, the student can apply to the Study Rector for exclusion of the thesisfrom publication for 2-5 years if important legal or economic interests apply.
  • Subsequently, the thesis is checked for fulfillment of prerequisites for submission, formal requirements and plagiarism.
  • The two reviewers are appointed by the Study Rector and receive the thesis for assessment by the Studies department. The assessment of the dissertation must be completed within two months and the thesis be graded as "successfully completed" or "unsuccessfully completed" (with minor or major revision possible).

5. Final Comprehensive Oral Examination

Please see

You may begin planning your final comprehensive oral examination after submitting your dissertation.

  • For the three examiners the same criteria apply as for the reviewers of the thesis with the exception that one of them has to be affiliated to the Medical University of Graz. This internal examiner is also the head of the examination committee (filled in and signing twice in the form sheet).
    The 2 external examiner can be the evaluators of the thesis but it is not mandatory.
    The proposed Examination Board will be approved and nominated by the Studies Rector.
  • Submission of the completely filled registration form for the PhD final comprehensive oral examination: at least 2 weeks before the proposed exam date by STUDMAIL or in person.
  • It is the duty of the student to agree with the examination board on the date and time of the exam and organize a suitable seminar room.
  • Please note that it is only possible to take the final comprehensive oral examination after the positive assessment of all course examinations as well as the dissertation have been submitted in MEDonline. The exam date will only be approved if both reviewers have positively evaluated the thesis and send their assessments.
  • For the examination regulations, please see the Curriculum of PhD Studies.

6. Completion of the course of study

Please see

Your graduation documents (diploma, notification of the award of an academic degree, diploma supplement and transcript of records) will be issued after successfully completing the final comprehensive oral examination and after the original examination protocol has been submitted to the Studies Management.
To apply for your graduation documents you need to submit the completely filled online form, including the Confirmation of No Outstanding Books or Fines and the Statistical Survey for Graduates Survey.

Due to a change in the Education Documentation Ordinance (UHSBV), graduation certificates will be officially signed and transmitted electronically from 01.10.2023. They will replace the previous issuance in "paper form".