Doctoral Studies

PhD Theses

The professors of the Section for International Law and International Relations supervise PhD theses in the area of public international law. The prerequisites are an adequate qualification of the candidate and a suitable thesis topic which has to be agreed upon with the intended supervisor. Proposals about thesis projects can be discussed during their respective office hours.

As a general rule for accepting to supervise a PhD thesis, Professors Binder, Kriebaum, Marboe, Nowak, Reinisch and Wittich require any candidate to first successfully pass the joint “Seminar in International Law” (SE380034). In this seminar, each candidate has to present his/her thesis project, followed by a discussion. The seminar aims at evaluating whether the topic and the method chosen are suitable for a doctoral thesis. In case of a positive evaluation, the doctoral project will be accepted for supervision. All seminar participants will receive detailed feedback on their doctoral project, even if supervision of their thesis is declined.

The seminar is held every semester as a block seminar on one or two days at the end of the semester (ie, December in the winter semester/May or June in the summer semester). The research proposal should be sent until one month before the presentation in the seminar to Ms Katharina Erhart ( Each candidate will have to present his/her research project (appr. 20 minutes), followed by a discussion and feedback from the professors. The research proposal should include the following elements:

  • title page with topic, name and academic degree of the author, home university;
  • table of contents;
  • a written outline (3,000-5,000 words) of the research project: It must in particular contain the research question, the methodology to be applied, and the current state of scientific research on the topic;
  • bibliography (at least 3 pages);
  • a copy of your Master’s degree in law (or equivalent).

In view of the large number of applications only research projects which are particularly well elaborated and researched have the chance of a positive evaluation. In addition the University’s general admission criteria to the PhD program have to be fulfilled:

The prerequisite for admission to the doctoral studies at the Law School of the University of Vienna are (a) the completion of the diploma study of law in Austria, or (b) the completion of an equivalent study of law at a recognized institution of higher (post-secondary) education in Austria or abroad, if need be after supplementary exams. In practice, only law graduates who have passed additional tests in Austrian civil and public law are admitted to doctoral studies at the University of Vienna’s Law School. As Austria is a German speaking country, most of these subjects are taught in German. The exams can, however, be made in English. It usually takes about one year of preparation to pass these exams.

The PhD program comprises a period of 3 years.