FAQ - Doctorate



Why should I do a doctorate?

A doctorate promotes intellect and strengthens one’s personality. The complex study achievements to be made during a doctorate challenge and encourage strategic thinking. Yet the doctoral degree also serves as a career driver. As a general rule, working in academia always requires completed doctoral studies. Moreover a doctoral degree can be helpful for activities in companies, too. For example, a doctoral degree is mandatory for activities in the fields of natural science (e.g. as a chemist or biologist). In other areas, a doctoral degree promises better chances in achieving management positions.


Why should I do my doctorate at the Open Institute?

The Open Institute provides good research and study conditions and encourages scientific and technical interchange among all doctoral students. The research demand on the part of many companies allows to combine universitary and industrial research in an optimum manner. Each doctoral student has the opportunity to do their doctorate at one of the Open Institute’s partnership universities in English, German, Russian, or Polish. During their doctoral studies doctoral students have the chance to incorporate their doctoral accomplishments into a Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) program and obtain this certification. What is more, all accomplishments to be made in relation to a doctorate at the Open Institute are offered on a single-source basis, including specifically opportunities to attend scientific conferences and workshops, as well as opportunities to publish peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals. Similarly, doctoral students can participate in coaching measures during their doctoral studies already, for example for career development.


Are the doctorate opportunities provided by the Open Institute state-recognized/accredited?

All doctoral programs offered by the Open Institute in collaboration with its partnership universities are state-recognized and accredited, respectively.


In what departments can I do my doctorate?

The Open Institute primarily provides opportunities for pursuing a doctorate in the departments mentioned below: - Business, Management & Law - Medicine, Health & Social Science - Humanities - Engineering & IT - Media, Communications & Culture


Which doctorate opportunities does the Open Institute offer?

The Open Institute offers both structured doctoral programs and individual doctorate opportunities, leading to the degrees of “Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)“ or “Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)“ in the respective field.


What is the difference between a DBA and PhD?

Both degrees are equivalent on an international scale – both in terms of status, reputation and international recognition. They only differ with regard to the orientation of goals. While DBA candidates must provide proof of several years of work experience and therefore seek to use the degree to achieve senior management positions, PhD candidates tend to focus on continuing an academic career. What is more, DBA candidates conduct research on real economic problems, whereas PhD candidates are required to identify and fill a research gap by developing new theories and original scientific approaches.


How is a DBA program typically structured, and what do I have to accomplish?

A DBA program is compact and modular in structure. A well-designed approach allows to achieve progress and results quickly. Due to its flexible design, a DBA program can be incorporated into the everyday professional life. In addition to writing a thesis, further requirements include attending online seminars, conferences and workshops, solving case studies, as well as writing and publishing scientific papers.


How is a PhD program typically structured, and what do I have to accomplish?

PhD programs are optionally offered both on a structured and individual basis. While structured PhD programs start on a predetermined date, individual PhD programs can be started at any time. The first step is to create a proposal comprising forty to fifty pages which will be presented to the doctoral examination board following the positive recommendation of the reviewers. The next task is to create the final PhD thesis using the proposal. In addition to writing the PhD thesis further requirements include attending online seminars, conferences and workshops, as well as writing and publishing scientific papers.


Am I free to choose the thesis topic myself?

Yes. You are free to choose the thesis topic yourself. However, it must meet the requirements of a doctoral program.


Are there any compulsory attendance events?

Yes. On average, attendance events take place two to three times per academic year, mostly online.


Which examinations must be taken during the doctoral program?

While DBA programs mostly involve module exminations and conclude with a disputation, PhD programs typically involve an admission examination, a proposal examination, and a defense.


How and where do exminations take place?

In smaller examination formats examinations are mostly taken online. A disputation or defense usually takes place as an attendance examination.


What happens if I fail an examination?

As a rule, study materials are well-designed, such that proper exam preparation is ensured. Should an examination be failed just the same, it can be repeated up to four times.


Can previous doctoral achievements from another educational institution be recognized for a doctoral program offered at the Open Institute?

Yes. Doctoral achievements from other educational institutions can be recognized for doctoral programs offered at the Open Institute. For this purpose, even prior to enrollment in a doctoral program, it is possible upon presentation of relevant documents to confirm which of the previous doctoral achievements can be recognized.


How can I obtain further information on my desired doctoral program?

Further information on one’s desired doctoral program will be provided by the Open Institute’s support team, which can be reached by email or telephone.


How can I enroll for a doctoral program, and which documents do I have to submit?

In addition to the enrollment form, the following documents must be submitted: idendity card or passport, curriculum vitae, graduation diploma, previously obtained diplomas and diploma certificates. All documents of students within the European Union must be submitted in notarized form. Students outside the European Union also require an apostille in addition to notarization. In the event that further documents are required, applicants will be notified accordingly.


When can I start my doctoral program?

Structured doctoral programs typically start at the beginning of the semester. Individual programs can be started at any time.


What is the duration of the doctoral program?

The standard period of study for a doctoral program is two to four years.


Can I shorten my doctoral studies?

Yes. In the event that previous doctoral achievements have been made at other educational institutions, they can be recognized, thereby shortening the standard period of doctoral study.


Am I required to undergo selection or admission test procedures to be admitted to doctoral studies?

Usually selection or admission test procedures are not provided for in doctoral programs. However, some doctoral programs do provide for admission tests, which involve a brief presentation of the doctorate’s subject matter.


Who supports me during my doctoral studies when it comes to administrative questions?

In the event of administrative questions arising during studies, assistance will be provided by the Open Institute’s support team, which can be reached by email or telephone.


Who supports me during my doctoral studies when it comes to academic matters?

Support in academic matters during doctoral studies will generally be provided by the respective supervisor.


How many hours of study should I schedule per week?

Each doctoral student has a different working style – some work more quickly, others more slowly. As a general rule, one should schedule eight to twelve hours of study per week.


Can I reconcile my doctoral studies with my professional activity?

Taking up extra-occupational doctoral studies invariably pose major challenges. Thanks to individual support, flexible study opportunities and program optimization, one’s doctoral studies can always be reconciled with one’s professional activity.


What do the fees for a doctoral program at the Open Institute amount to?

Fees for doctoral programs at the Open Institute vary according to partnership university, doctoral program, program duration, and recognition of previous achievements. Prior to enrollment, however, all tuition fees will be displayed fully and transparently as well as agreed upon with binding effect.


Are there any other costs in addition to program fees?

Apart from fees for the doctoral program, further fees may be incurred for the recognition of previous doctoral achievements. Should such fees be incurred, they too will be fully and transparently displayed as well as agreed upon with binding effect. Further additonal costs such as travel costs, internet and telephone costs, costs relating to the acquisition of additional or recommended literature, fees for participating at conferences and workshops, as well as publishing costs shall be borne by doctoral students themselves.


What are the languages I can undergo a doctoral program in?

All doctoral study programs are typically conducted in English. However, opportunities can be created to undergo the doctoral program in German, Russian, Bulgarian, or Polish. Another possibility may be that doctoral students do their doctorates in their native language upon separate request.


Are doctoral studies completed abroad equivalent to doctoral programs in my home country?

Yes. If a university is state-recognized in the country of residence as well as the chosen doctoral programs accredited, doctoral studies completed abroad are equivalent on an international scale.


What are the career prospects after successfully completing a doctoral program?

Career opportunities after the successful completion of a doctoral program are very good and usually better than in the case of conventional study programs. The average share of academics holding a doctoral degree in OECD countries amounts to 2%. The best career prospects exist for doctoral graduates in the field of business, medicine, social science, healthcare, and engineering.