Doctorate Degree in Medical Sciences.

Do you have a passion to not only conduct research and publish medical innovations but pursue scientific work as well? Then a Doctorate in Medical Sciences is the program for you!

The full-time doctoral/PhD program in Medical Sciences is 180 ECTS credits and offered in English. The program focuses on scientific work and completing a dissertation. You also learn transferable skills, such as presentation skills and writing scientific studies and papers.

The program concludes with a "defensio" (oral defense) of your dissertation in which you present your research study and findings in a public setting and open the topic up for discussion. Graduates of the Doctorate Degree program in Medical Sciences are conferred with either the title Dr. scient. med. or PhD. The degrees differ in accordance with the following criteria:

The Dr. scient. med. required:

  • Successful completion of all of the courses as outlined in the curriculum
  • Successful completion of the dissertation / defensio.

The PhD requires:

  • Successful completion of all of the courses as outlined in the curriculum
  • Successful completion of the dissertation as part of a study / defensio
  • An article as a first author published in an international, highly ranked, and peer-reviewed journal.


Page Content

Key Facts

Degree / PhD


6 semesters


180 credits


English (Level C1)





What Makes Your Doctorate in Medicine at the JKU Special

  • You can choose to graduate with the academic title, or a PhD
  • You can opt to conduct interdisciplinary research at the JKU. In addition to the Faculty of Medicine, the Johannes Kepler University also has faculties and schools in the fields of law, social sciences, business, engineering, computer sciences, natural sciences, and education.
  • The scientific community here in Linz is as young and innovative as your medical degree program at the JKU (method-centered learning, modular structure, virtual MEDSpace, etc.). You study and conduct research in an environment that is not only open to new approaches, but open to your ideas as well. We interact eye-to-eye and support regular communication with fellow students and faculty members. 
  • We support our gifted junior researchers' talents on an individual basis. You also have a unique opportunity to present your own research findings in front of a large audience during Kepler Science Day. Click here to take a look at the past 2022 Kepler Science Day.
  • If you work part-time, the doctoral program has been organized in a way that facilitates your job to a small extent. If you work while studying in the program, you will have to expect extend your duration of studies.

The Medical Doctorate Degree Program at the JKU

As part of the doctoral program, students are required to successfully complete a total of 180 ECTS credits as follows:

  • Dissertation incl. the defensio (140 ECTS credits)
  • Mandatory Subjects (34 ECTS credits)
    • Fundamentals of Scientific Research and General Skills (17 ECTS credits)
    • Dissertation Topic: Dissertation colloquium, Interim Report I & II, Literature Clubs (17 ECTS credits)
  • Supplementary academic credits (6 ECTS credits)

As Part of the Doctorate/ PhD Medical Sciences Program, You Will Learn How to:

  • independently plan and carry out internationally recognized research studies
  • publish research findings in internationally recognized journals and present these findings to an interested public in an easy-to-understand way
  • conduct professional discussions with fellow scholars and scientists in English and hold presentations at international conferences and symposia

Your Career Prospects

Successful completion of the doctorate degree program is a prerequisite to pursuing an academic career at universities or a universities of applied sciences, at centers of excellence, or at other non-academic research institutions, particularly to work towards a PostDoc/Habilitation and/or a professorship position.

A PhD in science is considered advantageous in support of pursuing a career in industry, particularly senior research and development positions at pharmaceutical companies and in the biotech industry.

Register to Enroll


  1. Applicants must hold a Diploma or Master's degree in Human Medicine / Dentistry / Engineering / Natural Sciences, or a comparable academic degree considered equivalent in scope and content to the above-mentioned degree programs..
  2. Applicants should contact a member of the Doctoral School (PDF), opens a file at the Faculty of Medicine at the Johannes Kepler University Linz and submit an initial concept of your research idea. 
  3. If your concept is considered pertinent and feasible - and you have found a dissertation supervisor (usually the main supervisor) - the provisional supervision agreement, opens a file can be signed. The agreement is a prerequisite to enroll in the doctoral degree program.

Admission Requirements

To enroll in a doctorate degree program in Medical Sciences, please provide the following documentation:

Submit the application for admission to the degree program online via MyAdmission, opens an external URL in a new window. You will also need a student applicant account. Detailed information about registration is available here.

Start Your Studies

Your Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) is required to supervise your dissertation and monitor your progress in an academic, scientific, and scholarly capacity from the very start.

Your three-person TAC team must include:

  1. The first supervisor (a member of the Doctoral School who holds a PostDoc/Habilitation);
  2. A second supervisor (must hold a PostDoc/Habilitation; if the individual is not associated with the JKU, submit a request, opens a file to the JKU Admissions Office);
  3. A third member, selected by the student in consultation with the first supervisor. The third member must hold a subject-related academic doctorate degree and actively work as part of another working group, or at another institute, or at another department along with the first and second supervisor.

Once a year, and part of a progress report, the candidate must hold a presentation about his/her progress in regards to the dissertation in front of the Thesis Advisory Committee. Once the progress report is documented and coinfirmed, it will be uploaded to Moodle as part of the Dissertation Colloquium, Interim Report I & II courses and the corresponding Doctoral School members will also have access


As part of the dissertation colloquium at the start of your studies, you will be required to present a comprehensive dissertation concept. The concept must address the following points:

  • The dissertation's objectives
  • the current state of science in the context of your dissertation
  • the research questions
  • the intended applied research methods
  • the schedule
  • the required financial and/or material resources
  • the required availability in regard to the research infrastructure
  • Information about the ethics review process
  • the members of your Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC)

In general, cumulative dissertations are acceptable. This requires a minimum of three original papers in first or co-authorship (for details, see the curriculum). The dissertation must also include the following aspects in a clear, concise, and comprehensible way:

  • An introduction including current state of the science
  • The overall research topic for each publication
  • A summarizing discussion pertaining to research findings as part of the individual publications
  • A reflection on the publications' scientific contribution to the field
  • A signature by the first and last author(s) to verify the doctoral candidate's respective share as part of the individual publication(s).

Once your team of supervisors has been confirmed, please notify the JKU's Office of Examinations and Recognition Services (PAS) in regard to the names of your first and second supervisor. Once you have successfully completed the dissertation colloquium by the end of the third semester (at the latest), you are required to finalize a dissertation agreement and submit the agreement to the Office of Examination and Recognition Services. Click here to access the required forms ("Doktorat neu").


Your dissertation must be reviewed by two faculty members who are not a member of the Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC). The  Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs will receive the reviews. You and/or your team of dissertation supervisors can provide the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs with a list of eligible and qualified reviewers.

The dissertation will be reviewed and evaluated as part of a defensio by an examination board consisting of three members:

  1. Your first or second dissertation supervisor
  2. A representative in the subject area (generally one of the reviewers)
  3. The spokesperson at your doctoral school, or an appointed representative

Your third Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) member may not be a member of the Examination Board.

The defensio is an oral defense of your dissertation as well as an opportunity to examine your ability to independently address scientific issues as part of your dissertation subject. The defensio begins with a 30-45 minute presentation by the candidate in regard to content and the dissertation's key findings. The presentation will be followed by a discussion of the topics covered during the presentation and, if necessary, other aspects as covered by the dissertation. The defensio may not exceed 120 minutes. All of the examination board members are required to be present.

The examination board will grade the dissertation immediately after the defensio is completed. The examination board will render its decision based on:

  1. a statement by the supervising team
  2. the two expert opinions/reviews
  3. the candidate's own conclusions following the defensio


Please note that in accordance with Study Law, the dissertation's ECTS credits (140) can only be awarded once after submission.

Any Questions?

If you have questions about the program or need help registering, please contact the JKU's Office of Student Information & Advising Services (SIBS). Our team at the JKU's Office of Student Information & Advising Services (SIBS), or your contact person for doctoral studies, will be happy to help you!