Doctoral degree 

M&B program documents

M&B Confirmation / Transcript of Records / Diploma Supplement

In Germany, doctoral degrees are conferred by the faculties of universities (such as the Faculty of Life Sciences or the Faculty of Philosophy), not by individual university institutes or graduate schools such as the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. All doctoral candidates in our program, though they will receive their education and supervision (sometimes also their funding) through our school, will thus receive their doctoral titles and their doctoral documents from one of the faculties of one of the seven participating universities and institutions: HU Berlin, TU Berlin, FU Berlin, Charité Medical Faculty Berlin, U Potsdam, U Magdeburg, U Leipzig. (See below for information on doctoral titles and consult your faculty's webpages.)

Thus, the documents provided by the Berlin School of Mind and Brain (M&B) are not part of the official university doctoral paperwork and do not substitute the official university doctoral certificate (Urkunde). The Confirmation (of membership and completion of the doctoral program), Transcript of Records and Diploma Supplement document your time at M&B and pertain to the successful completion of the M&B research, education and training program.

Handing in your thesis and registering for the defense

Should you need a document listing the courses you attended and passed when handing in your thesis and/or registering for the defense, please ask for a confirmed list from Dr. Mende (coordinator of the education & training program):

After completion of the doctorate

To receive your M&B documents, please send the following to

(1) Your name as you would like it to appear on the documents;
(2) Your date of birth;
(3) The final title of your doctoral dissertation / thesis;
(4) The date when you handed in your thesis (preferably confirmed by the Faculty's administration);
(5) The date when you defended your thesis (preferably confirmed by the Faculty's administration);
(6) A document confirming your thesis defense;
(7) A document listing the courses attended and passed, confirmed by signature or issued directly by Dr. Mende (coordinator of the education & training program);
(8) Information whether you would like us to send you hard copies of the M&B documents; if Yes, your current postal address.

Official university doctoral degree / title / certificate

Doctoral candidates will be awarded the title typically conferred by the faculty in which they are enrolled, such as Charité Medical Faculty; Faculty of Life Sciences at Humboldt-Universität; Faculty of Philosophy at Humboldt-Universität; Faculty of Education and Psychology at Freie Universität, and others. Which faculty doctoral candidates choose for enrolment will typically depend on the affiliation of their main supervisors.

The exact requirements for the doctorate and final examinations (e.g., a monography or a series of peer-reviewed publications; regulations regarding reviewers and doctoral committees; thesis defense; the requirements for receiving the degree-confirming Urkunde; duty to publish, etc.) depend on the regulations of the respective faculty. Doctoral candidates should talk to their supervisors, carefully read the webpages of the faculty where they are registered, and/or make appointments with the faculty's advisors for further information.

Examples of doctoral degrees for candidates of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain: A biologist or a psychologist matriculated at Humboldt-Universität will be awarded a Doctor rerum naturalium (Dr. rer. nat.) or a Philosophiae doctor (PhD), a psychologist matriculated at Freie Universität will be granted a Doctor rerum naturalium (Dr. rer. nat.) or a Philosophiae doctor (PhD). Psychologists or biologists enrolled in the Charité Medical Faculty will be awarded a Doctor rerum medicinalium (Dr. rer. medic.), or a Philosophiae doctor (PhD), and doctoral candidates with a degree in medicine may be awarded a Doctor medicinae (Dr. med.). Doctoral candidates in a philosophy or linguistics faculty will be awarded a Doctor philosophiae (Dr. phil.).

A Philosophiae doctor (PhD) is not simply a translation of the German word for doctorate (as it is often mis-used in Germany), but in Germany (and elsewhere) the PhD title is a distinct doctoral degree and requires the participation in a structured education and training program such as provided by the doctoral program of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. If interested in a PhD degree you should discuss this with your supervisors and the respective faculty when registering for your doctorate.

All doctoral degrees listed above are highly respected nationally and internationally. Doctoral candidates should discuss their degree options with their supervisors as soon as possible after starting the doctorate.

Generally, doctoral theses (as monographs or published papers) may be written and defended both in German or in English. However, candidates should find out whether they will have to make a special application to their faculty for an English-language thesis and defense.


This page last updated on: 04 May 2023

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