Bylaws Governing the Doctoral Degree §1

  1. The Department of Protestant Theology (06) of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University awards the degree of Doctor of Theology (Dr. theol.).
  2. Whoever has earned a Dr. theol. or a Dr. phil. in a theological discipline at a German higher education institution may no longer earn the degree of Dr. theol. in the Department of Protestant Theology.
  3. The Dr. theol. certifies that a special academic qualification has been achieved which surpasses the qualification earned through a Diplom or through state examinations or through ecclesial theological examinations.
  4. The requirements for the completion of the degree consist in the composition of a dissertation by the candidate as well as a disputation.

Prerequisites according to §3

  1. The completion, at an institution of higher education, of an academic course of study which is pertinent to the discipline. The usual degree is that earned through the Diplom examination in protestant theology or the First Theological Exam offered by the leadership of a Protestant church associated with the Evangelical Church in Germany. Comparable degrees may be evaluated and recognized by the Doctoral Studies Board. The Magister examination in theology is equivalent to the faculty exams offered by a department of protestant theology of a German university. The aforementioned degrees enable the possibility of doctoral study if the degree-programmes have been completed with a mark of at least 3.0 (“satisfactory”).
  2. In addition to the aforementioned degrees, the First State Exam for education at academic high schools (Gymnasium) as well as the M.A. degree in which the chief subject is protestant theology may also be accepted, provided that the mark earned in the subject-area of protestant theology is at least a 3.0 (“satisfactory”). In such a case, a supplemental course of study lasting a minimum of two semesters must be completed (see information concerning the supplemental course of study at the homepage).
  3. The Doctoral Studies Board makes decisions concerning the recognition of foreign academic degrees. If the board has any doubts or concerns, the board shall be advised by the International Office. The thesis committee may determine that a particular foreign degree will qualify as a prerequisite for doctoral study only if the applicant also completes a supplemental course of study and also passes a supplemental exam which accords with §4.
  4. An additional prerequisite for the Dr. Theol. is the submission of proof of membership within a church body which is associated with a protestant church or with a church body belonging to the World Council of Churches. The board may decide in exceptional cases that an applicant who does not belong to the aforementioned church bodies but who belongs rather to another Christian church or denomination may be admitted to the programme.

Admission as Doctoral Candidate §5

  1. Prior to submitting the application, the applicant will seek to define the topic of the dissertation and to find an advisor for the project—through the mediation of the Doctoral Studies Board, if necessary. Those eligible for consideration as advisors are: professors, professors in retirement, honorary professors of the Faculty of Protestant Theology, another person in the faculty, or a practicing academic in the same field who is employed elsewhere. The advisor is responsible for advising on the scholarship of the project.
  2. The applicant will submit an application for acceptance as a doctoral candidate to the head of the Doctoral Studies Board. The corresponding formula may be found on the homepage.
  3. The following documents—originals only—must be submitted along with the application:
    • Proof of sufficiently meeting the prerequisites for doctoral study according to §3
    • A description of the research project (Exposé) or a structural sketch of the planned dissertation; the latter may be drafted on the basis of an original provided by the advisor, if necessary.
    • Arrangement of the Advising Relationship. A corresponding formula may be found on the homepage.
  4. Upon acceptance, the applicant receives the status of a doctoral candidate; each doctoral candidate should already be matriculated at the university.

Information regarding Supplementary Studies

  1. The First State Exam for secondary education (Gymnasium)—and comparable degrees in education—as well as a Magister examination in theology—and comparable master’s degrees—will qualify as sufficient prerequisites for acceptance as a doctoral candidate (Dr. theol.), provided that the necessary examination received at least a mark of 3.0 (“satisfactory”).
  2. Persons with the aforementioned qualifications must complete a supplementary course of study lasting at least two semesters and must also pass a supplementary exam.
  3. Completion of the supplementary course of study will (see §3.2 of the Regulations for Doctoral Study [Promotionsordnung], Dr. theol.), as a general rule, be proven through two qualified semester certificates. In accordance with the current academic legal regulations, this means, as a general rule, proof of academic achievements totalling 60 CPs (corresponds to two semesters according to the Bologna Process guidelines). The following, as a general rule, are included in that total:
    1. 14 CP for two marked term papers (generally one completed within the area of specialization of doctoral study and one in a discipline determined by the Doctoral Study Board).
    2. 40 CP for supplementary language courses and language examinations.
    3. 6 CP for participation in three other courses.

    The completion of supplementary studies will be completed in the examinations office/dean’s office of the Faculty of Protestant Theology by providing proof of completion of the aforementioned requirements.

  4. The supplementary examination must be conducted (§3.2, Regulations for Doctoral Study (Dr. theol.) in all of the five main theological disciplines (20–30 minutes each). The Doctoral Studies Board may, as a general rule, remit the oral examination for the discipline in which doctoral study will be conducted and in individual cases may approve a motion to reduce the number of the areas subject to examination to no fewer than two. Beyond this, the determinations of the Regulations for Doctoral Study (Dr. theol.) remain in force.
  5. A certificate of completion of the supplementary examination will be provided. Following a formal request by the doctoral candidate, a certificate will be provided to one of the member churches of the EKD and will contain the marks for each of the four disciplines tested in the supplementary examination as well as the mark of the disputation. In many member churches of the EKD, this certificate serves as a substitute for the First Theological Exam and/or the Magister Theologiae as prerequisite qualifications for entrance into the preparatory internship for the pastorate (Vikariat).