Earning a Doctoral Degree

The Faculty of Biology confers the academic degree “Doctor of Natural Sciences” (doctor rerum naturalium – Dr. rer. nat.) in recognition of an academically significant doctoral thesis (dissertation). If desired, the candidate may alternatively be awarded the title “Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Biology”.
Over the past few years, more than 70 candidates annually have earned their doctorates at the Faculty of Biology after successfully completing their doctoral examinations.

All regulations pertaining to doctoral study are provided in the Doctoral Examination Regulations of the Faculty of Biology. We urge our doctoral students and their respective supervisors to read and follow them carefully!

There is a two-step process for gaining admission to the doctoral programme:
1) First, you must seek admission to the doctoral programme by applying to the Doctoral Examinations Office of the Faculty of Biology (no later than six months after commencing your doctoral project).
2) After the Faculty of Biology grants you admission, you must enrol as a doctoral student with the Student Admissions Office of the University of Münster (WWU).
Please note: You must be enrolled as a doctoral student for at least six semesters before you can register for the doctoral examination.
Your enrolment at the University of Münster can only be processed after you have been officially granted admission by the Faculty of Biology.

The requirements for admission to the doctoral programme are:

1. statement by a doctoral committee agreeing to supervise your dissertation
2. proof of the necessary academic skills and cross-disciplinary key qualifications

As a rule, this certificate confirms that you have attained advanced academic qualification (higher than a bachelor’s degree) following completion of a research-oriented degree programme lasting at least eight semesters in a mathematical/natural scientific subject (e.g. biology, biotechnology, biomedicine, biochemistry, biophysics, bioinformatics, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science etc.). Candidates who have completed another relevant course of study (e.g. biological or chemical engineering, pharmacy, agriculture, medicine, food chemistry, veterinary medicine, ecotrophology etc.) are also eligible for admission but may be required to complete preparatory doctoral courses prior to commencing their studies.

The doctoral examination board is responsible for admitting candidates to the doctoral programme.

Please visit the website of the Doctoral Examinations Office for important information on:

• admission requirements
• doctoral regulations
• funding opportunities
• proper completion of a doctoral project (e.g. admission)

The Faculty of Biology established the structured doctoral programme (SDP) BioSciences in 2020. All newly admitted doctoral candidates are automatically granted membership to the programme as long as they are not already a member in one of the following thematically oriented structured doctoral programmes:

Cells in Motion (CiM) Graduate School and International Max Planck Research School - Molecular Biomedicine (IMPRS-MBM)

Münster Graduate School of Evolution (MGSE)

Otto Creutzfeldt Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience (OCC)

DFG Research Training Group 2220 on “Evolutionary Processes in Adaptation and Disease” (EvoPAD)

Dynamic Cellular Interfaces CRC 1348

You can find additional professional training seminars and advice services on the pages provided by the faculty coordinator for cross-disciplinary graduate support and career planning.

Click here to view the differences between the old (2007), new (2019) and amended (2020) doctoral examination regulations.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the doctorate can be found here

We wish you success with your doctoral project!


Die Habilitation dient der förmlichen Feststellung der Fähigkeit, ein wissenschaftliches Fach selbstständig und verantwortlich in Forschung und Lehre zu vertreten. Mit der Habilitation erwirbt der Habilitand/die Habilitandin die Lehrbefugnis (venia legendi) in dem Fach, für das die Lehrbefähigung ausgesprochen wird und das Recht, die Bezeichnung „Privatdozent/Privatdozentin“ zu führen. (vgl. Habilitationsordnung §1)

Die für eine Habilitation im Fachbereich Biologie notwendigen Unterlagen können Sie hier herunterladen:

Merkblatt zum Habilitationsersuchen (Voranfrage)
An update of the information sheet on requests for habilitation will follow shortly

Für Ihr Habilitationsvorhaben wünschen wir Ihnen viel Erfolg!

Apl. Professur

Der Fachbereich Biologie kann habilitierten Angehörigen und Mitgliedern des Fachbereich die Einstellungsvoraussetzungen nach § 36 HG erfüllen und in Forschung und Lehre hervorragende Leistungen erbringen, die Bezeichnung „außerplanmäßige Professorin“ oder „außerplanmäßiger Professor“ verleihen.

Die Ordnung des Fachbereichs 13 Biologie für das Verfahren zur Verleihung der Bezeichnung „außerplanmäßige Professorin“ / „außerplanmäßiger Professor“ vom 21. Februar 2019 finden Sie hier