Universities of Applied Sciences receive right to award doctorates

Doctoral degree to be awarded in future by HAW doctoral association

Graduates of universities of applied sciences (HAW) in Baden-Württemberg have a new way to obtain a doctorate: in future, a joint doctoral association will be able to award the doctoral degree. On September 21, 2022, the Science Committee of the State Parliament gave its approval with a corresponding ordinance. The new right to award doctorates is to be promulgated in the official gazette in September.

In 2014, Baden-Württemberg was the first state to enshrine a clause in the Higher Education Act that makes it possible to give mergers of HAW the right to award doctorates. After the HAW in Baden-Württemberg have achieved top performance in the field of research in recent years, the Minister of Science has decided to now make use of this authorization.

Doctoral Center

According to the ordinance, the right to award doctorates will go to a university association comprising all state universities of applied sciences and the three church-operated universities in Baden-Württemberg. In the future, it will not be the individual university but the doctoral association that will award doctoral degrees to particularly qualified HAW graduates. A doctoral center will be established for professors who are particularly strong and active in research. This will enable uniform processes and quality standards and scientific exchange across university boundaries. According to its own information, HFT Stuttgart will be represented in this doctoral center by 12 professors.

Quality assured

The same quality requirements apply to doctoral studies in the HAW association as to doctoral studies at a university. Thus, written supervision agreements must also be concluded in the doctoral center and the applications for acceptance must be submitted to a college, the doctoral committee, for a decision. The core of the quality assurance is the temporary admission of the professors with the strongest research skills - proven on the basis of objective criteria - to the doctoral center. At the start of the center, there will be 223 founding members whose applications have been individually examined and reviewed. A scientific advisory board will also accompany the doctoral procedures and ensure that the evaluation, on the basis of which a decision will be made in 2029 on the extension of the right to award doctorates, meets the necessary quality standards.

"I am very pleased that the Science Committee's agreement to the legal ordinance opens up a new path for further academic qualification. Many young people will benefit from this. The universities involved will be further strengthened in their scientific work."

Theresia Bauer, Minister for Science, Research and the Arts

"Today, the HAW in Baden-Württemberg are taking the logical step within the science system that is commensurate with their development in application-oriented research. Our professors with the greatest affinity for and strength in research now have the opportunity to lead young people to doctoral degrees in their socially highly relevant projects and topics on their own responsibility and with quality assurance. This is also a strengthening and recognition of the regional innovation systems that have been established around the HAW locations."

Prof. Dr. Volker Reuter, Chairman of the HAW Rectors' Conference and of the newly founded PhD Association

Source: Press release HAW BW e.V.

Publish date: 26. September 2022 By Michaela Leipersberger-Linder ()