Doctorate Degree in Medical Sciences.

Your vision includes conducting research and publishing medical solutions? Scientific and academic work is among your passions? Get on the right track with a doctorate in Medical Sciences!

The six-semester, English-language doctorate degree program in Medical Sciences is 180 ECTS credits. The program focuses on scientific/academic work and writing a dissertation. You will also learn transferable skills such as holding presentations, project writing, and writing papers.

You will complete your studies with an oral defense which includes a comprehensive oral examination as well as a presentation and "defensio" of your dissertation.

Key Facts

Degree / PhD


6 Semesters


180 Credits


English (level C1)




Full-Time / For Professionals

Academic Title

Graduates of the doctorate degree program in Medical Sciences will be awarded either the title of Dr. scient. med. or PhD. The degrees differ according to the following criteria:

The requires:

  • Successful completion of all courses according to curriculum
  • Successful completion of the dissertation
  • Passing the oral defense

The PhD requires:

  • Successful completion of all courses according to curriculum
  • Successful completion of the dissertation in a translational research project
  • Passing the oral defense
  • Publishing as the first author in an international, highly ranked peer-reviewed journal

Main Areas of Focus

The doctorate degree program in Medical Sciences focuses primarily on fundamentals and applying scientific research. As you complete your dissertation, you acquire expert skills in holding presentations, writing projects, writing papers.

As a graduate, you are qualified to

  • independently plan and carry out internationally recognized research projects.
  • publish research findings in internationally recognized journals and present them in a comprehensible way to an interested public.
  • hold professional discussions with other scientists in English and to present findings at international conferences.

Program Structure

As part of the doctorate degree program, students are required to complete courses totaling 180 ECTS credits in the following areas:


  • Dissertation incl. the oral defense (140 ECTS credits)
  • Mandatory subject areas (34 ECTS credits)
    • Fundamentals of Scientific Research and General Skills (17 ECTS credits)
    • Dissertation topic
  • Supplementary academic subject areas (6 ECTS credits)

Please note:

  • The curricular section of the doctorate degree program is part-time in order to better accommodate students who work.
  • The doctoral candidate's main supervisor must be a member of a Doctoral School (PDF) at the JKU's Faculty of Medicine.
  • The main supervisor must hold a post-doctorate/habilitation degree.
  • In addition to a main supervisor, the doctoral candidate requires a co-supervisor (who holds a post-doctorate/habilitation degree).

Additional information on these points is available in the curriculum.

Admission Requirements

  • A Diploma or Master's degree in human medicine/dentistry/engineering/natural or life sciences or a subject-related degree program considered equivalent in content and scope to the aforementioned degree programs

General admission requirements apply to the doctorate degree program in Medical Sciences:

Please apply via MyAdmission, opens an external URL in a new window. Information on how to apply you can find here.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I register for the Doctorate Degree in Medical Sciences?

You can enroll in the Doctoral Degree program in Medical Sciences all year round. However, it is recommended to enroll by the beginning of a semester in order to be able to fully take part in all of the lectures and classes.

How can I find my a dissertation supervisor?

Dissertation supervisors are organized as part of a so-called “Doctoral School”. You can download a list of members and their affiliation on the Doctoral Degree homepage.

Do co-supervisors have to hold a habilitation/post-doc?

No, but the co-supervisor should hold a scientific doctorate degree. is insufficient.

Do co-supervisors have to be associated with the JKU?

No, co-supervisors can be associated with any university. In accordance with § 7 Sec. 6 of the curriculum, one dissertation committee member should even be employed at or affiliated with an external institute or a different department.

Is it mandatory to have co-supervisors at the start of my Ph.D. program?

Yes, co-supervisors should be an active part of your dissertation from the start. They should be in a position to be able to provide you with support and academic advising.

What do I need to do for the class “Dissertation Topic”?

You will be asked to present your dissertation topic to your dissertation committee and talk about your work plan. Each student is expected to arrange the date and time individually with his/her supervisors. The student and the dissertation-committee can coordinate and choose the presentation format .

What do I need to do for the class “Doctoral Dissertation”?

Each semester, your supervisor is required to confirm the progress on your dissertation.

What are the required documents to complete the classes “Dissertation Topic” and “Doctoral Dissertation”?

To successfully complete the class “Dissertation Topic”, you need to fill out, sign, and submit ( the form: “Presentation of the Dissertation Topic and the Work Plan for the Dissertation Committee”. Please include the slides from your presentation, unless it contains confidential information. Please use the form “Progress Report” for the class “Doctoral Dissertation”. This form must also be filled out, signed, and sent via e-mail to:

Where can I find the form for the class "Dissertation Topic"? The courses “Dissertation Topic” and “Doctoral Dissertation” are offered each semester. Can I use the same blank forms or are there different forms for each semester?

You can use the same blank forms each semester.

How can I find my “Elective Courses”? Which gender-related class should I choose?

You can choose any gender-related class in the amount of a minimum of 3 ECTS credits in total.

Do I have to strictly adhere to the courses as outlined in the curriculum’s “Map of Study Subjects”?

No, this is only a suggestion as to how you can structure your program. Please note that some classes may be offered only during the Winter Semester or during the Summer Semester as stated.

How often do I need to take part in classes that have mandatory attendance requirements?

In this case, you are required to attend a minimum of 80% of the class in order to successfully pass the course.

Can I earn both titles – Doctor of Medical Science ( and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)?

No, you have to decide for one degree or the other and indicate your choice of degree in the application form prior being accepted to the program.

I applied for both the Doctor of Medical Science and Doctor of Philosophy programs. What do I have to do now?

You need to withdraw the application. If the application is not withdrawn, the JKU Admissions Office will grant admission to the PhD program and reject admission to the program.

What is the difference regarding academic titles between the Doctor of Medical Science ( program and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program?

In contrast to the, the Doctor of Philosophy program requires you to publish a paper in an international, highly ranked peer-reviewed journal as a first author in order to earn a PhD degree.

Can I switch from the PhD program to the program or vice versa?

Yes, you can switch between the PhD and program, even if you have not yet completed either program. Please contact the JKU Admissions Office.

I could not find the answer to my question in the FAQs. Who should I contact?

If you have a question regarding classes for your studies, please contact the Center for Medical Education:

If you have a general inquiry, please send an e-mail to:

Still Have Questions? 

Do you still have any questions about studying or need help with admissions? The JKU Offiice of Student Information & Academic Advising  (SIBS) or the contact person for the doctorate program will be happy to talk with you!