Doctor of Philosophy Programme Biology

Faculty Faculty of Biology
Duration / ECTS-Credits 6 semesters / 180 ECTS-Credits
Academic Degree
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Qualification Level
Doctorate (Third Cycle)
ISCED-11: Level 8, EQF/NQF: Level 8
ISCED-F 0511 Biology
Mode of Study
Study Code
UC 094 xxx | UC 794 650 xxx
Information on the Curriculum (2009W) *
Language of Instruction German / English
Admission Requirements
Relevant diploma or master's degree or equivalent and Language Certificates

* Information on the Curriculum (2009W)

The complete version of the curriculum reflects the currently valid version of the curriculum. It is for informational purposes only and is not legally binding. The legally binding version of the curriculum, including any amendments, may be found in the University of Innsbruck Bulletins.

In order to determine which version of the curriculum is applicable in your case, see the Catalogue of Studies,
  available at:
  Section: Current Curriculum version.

University of Innsbruck Bulletins » (Click to open all University of Innsbruck Bulletins)


Relevant master's or diploma degrees at the University of Innsbruck:

Proof of general university entrance qualification:

With the exception of § 64 par. 5 UG 2002, the general university entrance qualification for admission to a doctoral programme shall be demonstrated by the completion of a relevant diploma programme or master's programme or another relevant programme of at least the same level of higher education at a recognised domestic or foreign post-secondary educational institution. To compensate for substantial subject-related differences, supplementary examinations may be prescribed, which must be taken by the end of the second semester of the doctoral degree programme.

The rectorate may determine which of these supplementary examinations are prerequisites for taking examinations provided for in the curriculum of the doctoral degree programme.

Modules and Dissertation

Compulsory Modules
15 ECTS-Credits
150 ECTS-Credits

Concept of the Dissertation
5 ECTS-Credits

Participation in Scientific Discourse
5 ECTS-Credits

Doctoral Thesis Defense
5 ECTS-Credits

The dissertation is a scientific piece of work which – in contrast to a diploma or master thesis – serves to prove the student's ability to cope with scientific questions in an independent way.

The dissertation topic has to show a meaningful relationship to one of the master programmes offered at the Faculty of Biology of the University of Innsbruck.

The dissertation can also consist of articles that are related in terms of subject matter or methods. The quality criteria mentioned in the curriculum are valid.

The student has to propose a team of supervisors, consisting of at least two people (dissertation committee), and to nominate one of them as the supervisor mainly responsible. It is permissible to propose supervisors (with the exception of the main supervisor) from subject‐related fields. In justifiable exceptional cases it is possible for students to propose only one supervisor.

The student has to communicate the dissertation topic and names of the supervisors in writing to the Director of Studies prior to beginning the work. Topic and supervisors are considered as accepted, if the Director of Studies does not veto them by means of a decree within one month after the receipt of the proposal.
Elective Modules
15 ECTS-Credits

Research Training
5 ECTS-Credits

5 ECTS-Credits

Scientific Writing and Publishing
5 ECTS-Credits

Scientific Basics/Core Skills of the Thesis Topic
5 ECTS-Credits

Generic Skills
5 ECTS-Credits

Qualification Profile and Skills

  • The Doctor of Philosophy Programme Biology belongs to the group of studies in the natural sciences.
  • Graduates are able to work on issues in the natural sciences on a high level of expertise and in an independent and creative way. They employ modern methods and integrate the current state of knowledge in the respective field.
  • Graduates are able to extend and evaluate biological issues as well as to interdisciplinary use the competences acquired.
  • Graduates possess scientifically well-founded theory- and method-driven key competences in order to solve problems. In particular, they have interdisciplinary competences that enable adapting to rapidly changing requirements. Apart from the acquisition of highly subject-specific and methodical competences, doctoral students train general scientific and communicative competences which are required for successful performance of a scientific profession, e.g. in the academic, private and public sector. These competences also include the ability to independently present and discuss scientific contents at national and international scientific events as well as to critically analyse own and other scientific results, concepts and experiments. Moreover, they acquire the ability to publish scientific results in suitable form (especially in international scientific journals).

Expected Learning Outcomes for the Doctorate

  • Graduates are able to solve problems scientifically well-founded and theory- and method-driven. This competence enables them to elaborate relevant issues scientifically and practice-oriented in their professional fields, such as scientific and managing activities in private and public companies and institutions.
  • The Doctor of Philosophy Programme Biology serves to develop and enable independent scientific work as well as to promote young scientists based on diploma and master programmes.

Future Prospects: Occupational Profiles and Career Opportunities

Occupational activities may include scientific and managerial careers in private and public institutions. In particular, this includes research and teaching activities at universities and other national and international research institutions. Doctoral or research projects can develop into programmes which are subsidized by recognized national or international research funding institutions and in which the main supervisor is involved as the project leader.

Information about examination regulations, assessment and grading

Examination regulations

The examination regulation is an integral part of the curriculum, detailed information can be found under the paragraph examination regulations.

Description of the applied grading system (including the grade distribution table) »

The grade distribution table is a statistical representation of the distribution of all successfully completed examinations in a given programme of study or subject (based on all registered students for the programme or subject). The grade distribution table is updated in regular intervals.

 Austrian grading
 Outstanding performance
= 100%


 Generally good, but with some errors
 Generally sound work with a number of substantial errors
 Performance meets the minimum criteria
 Substantial improvement necessary; requirement of further work

December 2021

Overall classification of the qualification

Not applicable
Explanation: An overall classification (mit Auszeichnung bestanden/pass with distinction, bestanden/pass, nicht bestanden/fail) – is awarded only for examinations that conclude a programme of study and consist of more than one subject (an examination of this type is not specified in the curriculum of this programme of study). 

Information about the Programme (in German only)

Forms (in German only)

Contact and Information

Examination Office
Standort Technikerstraße 17 Piktogramm barrierefreier Zugang

Dean of Studies 
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Birgit Weinberger Information portal for Biology Students of the University of Innsbruck 

Information for students with disabilities

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