The Faculty of Law offers graduates the opportunity to earn a doctorate after successfully completing their studies. Depending on their subject preferences, interested lawyers can contact the faculty professors qualified in the respective subject areas. The guidelines are in the doctoral regulations of the faculty.

Please refer to the relevant overviews for information on the doctoral procedure.

Contact the Kiel University Student Services if you want to enrol in a doctoral programme. A prerequisite for enrolment is a confirmation from the Examinations Office that the requirements for acceptance have been met. Further information on doctoral studies at Kiel University can be found on the pages of the Graduate Centre.

The Faculty of Law honours the "newly graduated" doctoral graduates each year at its graduation ceremony.

Admission requirements (foreign students)

The doctoral requirements are under § 6 of the doctoral regulations (pdf).

In addition to a completed degree in law from a foreign university, the applicant must have proof of either:

  • a Master's degree at a law faculty of a German higher education institution with at least the grade "fully satisfactory" or
  • a foreign degree of equal value in terms of subject scope and specialisation with significantly above-average results

The Faculty Convention may grant exemption from the requirement of an equivalent foreign degree in justified and exceptional cases with significantly above-average grades.

The application for acceptance must be submitted in writing to the dean. It can be submitted either at the beginning of the dissertation or together with the application for admission to the doctoral examination. The following documents must be attached to the application:

Proof of a seminar paper evaluated with at least the grade "fully satisfactory” from the Faculty of Law at the Kiel University

  • The intended topic of the dissertation
  • Supervision agreement (form(pdf))
  • Proof of the foreign degree including evidence of its quality
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Declarations under § 9 Para. 2 No. 6, 7 and 8 PromO

Doctoral examination

The doctoral examination according to §§ 12 - 24 of the doctoral regulations (pdf).

Admission to the doctoral examination requires acceptance as a doctoral candidate. The application for admission must be submitted in writing to the dean. The following documents must be submitted together with the application:

  • Dissertation in duplicate
  • Declarations according to § 12 Para. 2 No. 2 and 3 PromO
  • Digital copy of the dissertation (preferably on CD-ROM or DVD)

After admission by the Dean's Office, two rapporteurs are appointed for the assessment of the dissertation, taking into account the dissertation topic. The first appraisal should be drawn up by the supervisor. If the rapporteur recommends the acceptance of the dissertation, it shall be made available for review by the professors of the Faculty of Law at the Dean's Office for three weeks. If there is no objection to the acceptance within the notice period, the Dean's Office shall admit the applicant to the oral examination (viva voce examination).

The viva voce examination shall be conducted by an examination board consisting of three members, of which the first rapporteur shall be a member. The doctoral candidate must be invited to the viva voce examination with at least two weeks' notice.

Generally, the viva voce examination lasts 40 minutes per candidate and consists of a disputation about the accepted dissertation. The disputation shall also cover the dimensions of European law, the foundations of law and the methods of its application. The viva voce examination begins with a dissertation presentation by the doctoral candidate, which may not exceed 15 minutes.

Completion of the doctorate

Completion of the doctorate is according to §§ 25 - 28 of the doctoral regulations (pdf).

After passing the doctoral examination, the doctoral candidate is required to have the dissertation copied. The dean’s office must be provided with 80 obligatory copies within one year. If a commercial publisher distributes through the book trade with an ISBN, the number of obligatory copies decreases to eight. The same applies for electronic publication within one year via the library of Kiel University; in this case, the files to be transferred to the university library must be in the format corresponding to its specifications (see MACAU).

The deadline for dissertations published in a series and edited according to academic criteria or in an academic publishing house, is two years. If published elsewhere, the period for publication is one year. If the deadline is not met, all rights acquired through the doctoral procedure shall expire.

The doctoral candidate is only entitled to use the academic degree of Doctor of Law once the doctoral diploma has been awarded to him or her by the Dean’s Office. This shall take place as soon as the obligatory copies have been delivered. The doctoral diploma may only be issued prematurely if the dissertation is to be published in a series edited according to academic criteria or in a recognised academic publishing house, and a corresponding publishing contract is submitted.

Layout of the obligatory copies

The following has to be on one of the first pages of the obligatory copies, or a cover page with the following wording must be enclosed:

Title of the thesis
Inaugural dissertation for the award of the doctorate of
the Faculty of Law of the Kiel University
Submitted by (name) from (place of birth)

The reverse page must contain the following information:

First rapporteur: xxx
Second rapporteur: xxx
Date of oral examination: xx.xx.xxxx

A brief curriculum vitae must be included at the end of the dissertation.

In the case of self-publishing, all 80 copies should be completed in this way.

For archiving reasons, the obligatory copies must be printed on non-ageing, wood-free and acid-free paper and bound in a permanently durable manner (no spiral binding, no staples, no metal rails or foil covers).

Contact persons at the Office of Studies & Examinations

Office hours:
Monday to Thursday, 9 – 12 Uhr