The Doctoral Program in Mathematics

This page mainly collects legal and organizational information on the doctoral program at the University of Vienna. There is a joint doctoral school of the University of Vienna and the TU Wien, called the Vienna School of Mathematics (VSM). Membership in this school is automatic for students that are hired on a pre-doc position announced via the VSM, for other students, membership is possible upon admission of the advisor.

The current relevant curriculum for a doctoral studies in mathematics is the "Doktoratsstudium der Naturwissenschaften und der technischen Wissenschaften". The current version of the curriculum is available here, but this is mainly for reference (it is in German and mainly contains formal regulations). 

The regular duration of the doctoral studies according to the curriculum is 3 years, but this is to be viewed as a guideline. The main formal prerequisite for the doctoral program is a completed master program in mathematics or equivalent background. The prerequisites for the doctoral program will be checked during the admission process, both from a formal and from a scientific point of view. The admission to all programs at the University of Vienna is handled by the central administration of the University and in our case the rules of the curriculum are uniform for all natural sciences. More information on the admission to doctoral programs can be found on this page of the Center for Doctoral Studies, which is the main point of contact concerning admission. In particular, for the admission process, you will need a confirmation of supervision from a faculty member who is capable of supervising PhD theses — so you will have to find an advisor before you can apply for admission. You will also have to provide a description of a PhD project. In our area, a rough description of the direction to be pursued during the doctoral studies usually is sufficient — please check with your (intended) advisor on this.

The doctoral program is structured in three phases, the entry phase, the research phase and the final phase.

  • The purpose of the entry phase is to formulate (jointly with your advisor) a concrete topic or project for your PhD studies. This phase should be completed within a year of starting with a public presentation of the thesis project in front of the Doctoral Advisory Board of the Faculty of Mathematics. Currently, the talks in the presentation are scheduled for 20 minutes with a subsequent discussion of up to 10 minutes. They should be accessible for a broader (mathematical) audience. In preparation, the candidate has to formulate, usually jointly with the supervisor, a research proposal that outlines the project. The aim of this presentation is to show that there is a plan for the project and how this fits into the scientific landscape rather than to provide scientific details. The public presentations take place several times per semester and are widely announced. If you and your supervisor agree that you are getting close to the presentation, please send a mail to containing the names of the student and supervisor(s) as well as a working title for the thesis project, stating that you will be interested in presenting in the near future. This help us in planning presentations and makes sure that you and your advisor will be involved in finding dates, etc. Via the SSC, you will also be informed about the forms needed to register for the presentation.
  • After a successful presentation, the thesis project is formally approved by the DSPL ("Doktoratsstuidenprogrammleiter"), who is the main person responsible for the Doctoral Program. Based on their approval and support of the DSPL, the student and the supervisor(s) formulate and sign a dissertation agreement ("Dissertationsvereinbarung") that contains the main information about the thesis project. You will be provided with the necessary forms after your successful presentation. The dissertation agreement also contains information about the coursework that has to be completed during the Doctoral Program. Before that agreement is signed, no decision can be made about the acknowledgement of courses. Please consult your supervisor when choosing courses during the entry phase of your studies.
  • Signing the dissertation agreement marks the beginning of the research phase of studies, during which the main academic activities are carried out. Apart from 24 ECTS of course work (for which specifications may be formulated in the dissertation agreement), the main task is the preparation of a monographic thesis. During the research phase, yearly progress reports, which form a part of the dissertation agreement, have to be provided.
  • Completion of the thesis marks the start of the final phase of the doctoral program. If your thesis is getting close to completion, please inform us via mail to so that things can be well coordinated as soon as possible. This is also a good time to read the more-detailed information on the final phase that is available here. The student and the supervisor(s) have to suggest three international experts on the topic of the thesis, who agree to take on the role of being referees. Via the DSPL, this suggestion is passed to the "Studienpräses" of the University of Vienna, who is responsible for the selection of two referees. The referees have to be contacted via the SSC to continue the process of announcing the public defense of the thesis, which is the final step in the doctoral studies that is coordinated via the SSC.