Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


FAQ - Before Your Doctoral Studies

Do I have to be enrolled in order to pursue my doctoral studies at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering?


I want to enroll for doctoral studies. Whom do I contact?

You must submit an application for assessment of eligibility for a doctoral program to the Faculty in order to enroll in doctoral studies. Once you have received confirmation from our Faculty, you can take the admission letter to the Registrar's Office and enroll.

A supervision agreement is needed to submit the application for assessment of admission eligibility. I don't receive the agreement until after the training period. Is an inofficial confirmation sufficient, so that I can be allowed to enroll?

No, you need the supervision agreement. This means that you cannot enroll until, at the latest, after two years, which reflect the training period.

I want to re-enroll in doctoral studies, but I have already completed more than twelve semesters. What do I need to do?

You will need a letter by your supervising professor, in which the reasons for your surpassing the twelve semester mark are given and in which your re-enrollment is being endorsed. This letter must then be sent to our faculty's dean. If our faculty deems the reasoning sufficient, a letter for the Registrar's Office will be drawn up by our Office for Doctoral Studies and, after the dean has signed it, it will be sent there. Your supervising professor will also receive a copy of this letter.

What is the first thing I need to do in order to pursue doctoral studies here?

You need to find a professor at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering to be your supervisor.

How do I find a professor who will supervise me?

Please directly contact the respective professors. You can find an overview of all professors on our Faculty's homepage.

Do I need to present a German language certificate?

That isn't necessary, but you should discuss details with your supervisor.

Can I also drop documents in your mailbox?

Yes. The blue mailbox for doctoral matters is located on the first floor.

Can I get a PhD with my degree (program) from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering?

If you have a degree in a program that is not explicitly listed in our doctoral regulations under § 8 paragraph (6) or paragraph (7), your supervisor must fill out the Excel table available under the downloads for the purpose of focus verification. In this table, all modules from your Bachelor's and Master's program including credit points must be listed. The table is divided into three categories: "Engineering", "Mathematics/Sciences" and "No assignment". Based on the totals, it is easy to calculate in which area the focus lies.

For verification purposes, Excel-Tabel must then be sent to us by e-mail by your supervisor together with the module handbooks (Bachelor's and Master's), a short overview of your academic career, certificates (Bachelor's and Master's degree programs (incl. CPs) and arguments of the supervisor on the relevance and an assessment with reference to the completed Excel table (Why is the completed study program (Bachelor's + Master's) to be considered as engineering science or mathematics/sciences?

Please note that your supervisor must already perform the relevancy in advance, i.e. before you are possibly hired and before you submit the application for checking the admission requirements. If this is not done, it could happen that the doctoral committee rejects your admission.

In the assessment, your supervisor should note that a total of approx. 60% "engineering sciences" or "natural sciences" must be proved.


FAQ - During Your Doctoral Studies

What transcripts and documents are needed to assess my eligibility for admission to the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering?

You need the Diplom certificate and transcript or the Master's certificate and transcript along with the Bachelor's certificate and transcript. The documents must be officially notarized.

Documents from RWTH Aachen University do not have to be certified - it is sufficient if they are presented as originals.

Can I bring original documents for the Office for Doctoral Studies to notarize?

Yes, but this only concerns documents from RWTH Aachen University.

I have a non-engineering background but want to pursue a Dr.-Ing. degree nevertheless. What do I need to consider?

In this case, you will need a special evaluation pursuant to Section 8 (8) of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering doctoral degree regulations. Furthermore, you must acknowledge the specific requirements for admission pertaining to “non-engineers,” which can be found on our faculty website, by signing and submitting them.

I am an engineer and want to pursue a Dr. rer. nat. degree. What do I need to be aware of?

In this case, you will also need a special evalutaion pursuant to Section 8 (8) of the faculty's doctoral degree regulations.

The seminars that must be taken to fulfill the given requirements must be proposed by my supervisor as part of the mentorship agreement. Are there any guidelines to follow?

Yes, the course requirements to be fulfilled must amount to at least eight credits, or 8 SWS, and have to be chosen from among the list of examination subjects found on the faculty home page. One subject must be from the group of fundamental subjects, while the other subject, or subjects, may be chosen from either fundamental subjects or technical subjects.

How can I register for the exams I still have to take?

Take the letter you received from our faculty to the different institutes. They will have received a copy from our doctoral studies office and will thus be already informed. You will be able to take the exams; and afterwards you will receive a notification from them whether you passed or not. This transcript of grades must then be forwarded to our Office for Doctoral Studies.

Can I take the exams before the Faculty Council/Council of Elders have made a decision?

This path of action is highly irregular. Should the Faculty Council or Council of Elders not accept the particular subjects but reject them, you will have taken the exams in vain.

Is a new certificate of good conduct needed for the application for admission to the doctoral examination, even though one was submitted when I was first hired?

No, in that case, a confirmation issued by the personnel department of the RWTH Aachen Univerity is sufficient. If you are not employed here at the university anymore, however, you will have to apply for a new certificate of good conduct and then submit the issued certificate and receipt along with the application for admission to the doctoral examination here at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering Office for Doctoral Studies.

To which address should the certificate of good conduct be sent?

Please use the general postal address of the Office of Doctoral Studies:

RWTH Aachen University
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
Office of Doctoral Studies
52056 Aachen

What are obligatory copies of relevant pre-publications?

What is meant by that are any copies of pre-publications that are connected to your dissertation, that is to say where parts of your dissertation are published beforehand. Please come to an agreement with your supervising professor if you are unsure about this. Pursuant to Section 5 (3) of our faculty's doctoral degree regulations your mentor has to advise the dean of any pre-publications.

Does the faculty require abstracts in English as well as in German in my dissertation?

Yes, our faculty requires abstracts in both languages – no more than a printed page in length each. The mandatory copies of your all dissertations (preliminary and deposit copies)must contain these abstracts.

Where in the dissertationen do the abstracts have to be placed?

You can decide for yourself whether the abstracts shall be at the beginning or at the end in the your dissertation.

Pursuant to Section 17 (1) of the doctoral regulations, the candidate must give the dean a copy of the dissertation to be published in order to receive approval for publication. What exactly do I need to submit?

Since the dean of our faculty cannot check all dissertations, the procedure is slightly different; you talk to the reviewers and incorporate their requests for changes into the dissertation, after which you can publish the deposit copies in print.

I have completed the mandatory copies, what is the next step?

First you hand in one printed and one electronic copy at the university library. With the certificate you receive there, you then submit an electronic copy to the doctoral office. We will then forward the electronic version to the reporters, who must confirm its accuracy on a form. Only then can the doctoral certificate be issued by the doctoral office of our faculty. This will then be sent to you via registered mail.

Are there any formal requirements from the university library regarding deposit copies?

Yes, you can find the relevant information on their website. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the staff of the department "Services for Scientific Publishing". 

How long will it take to get my doctoral certificate?

That depends on when the reporters return the forms they received, confirming the dissertation is correct, to the Faculty's Office for Doctoral Studies. The dean and rector must then sign the certificate. The whole process takes around four weeks.

Can I also pick up my doctoral certificate?

Yes, just let us know when you are dropping off the dissertation copy at the Office for Doctoral Studies.

Can I also put documents in the mailbox at your office?

Yes. The blue mailbox for doctoral matters is located on the first floor.

Yes, you will automatically receive an English transcript with the original certificate. A translation of the complete text is not possible, the following must remain unchanged

  • the degree awarded
  • the subject of the thesis (except for English titles)

The grade is provided in the Latin - and therefore internationally common - form.

In principle, the German certificate represents the original. The English version is recognizable as a partial translation. The English Transcript will have original signatures, but will not contain a seal.