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Preliminary Remarks

(1) This curriculum conforms to the provisions of the framework curriculum for structured doctoral programs in the Humanities and Social Sciences as well as interdisciplinary doctorates (Doktorat neu), approved by the University Senate on 23 April 2009 and published by the University on 11 May 2009.

(2) The curriculum is also based on the faculty's experience with procedures developed within the framework of the Initiativkolleg "The Sciences in Historical Context" (2006-2010), as well as the DK-plus Program "The Sciences in Historical, Philosophical and Cultural Contexts" during the first grant period (2010-2014).

Statement of Purpose

The curriculum of the DK program “The Sciences in Historical, Philosophical and Cultural Contexts” is focused on the development and coordinated interdisciplinary discussion of research in history, philosophy and cultural studies of the sciences, as well as the acquisition of additional skills needed for later professional success.

The formal gathering around which the DK program is centred is the weekly Colloquium. Leadership of the Colloquium will rotate among the Faculty members throughout the period of the DK program. Care will be taken to assure that historians, philosophers and natural scientists take proportionate roles in Colloquium leadership.

Doctoral students and associated doctoral students in the DK program are required to attend the Colloquium (DoktorandInnenseminar) whenever they are resident in Vienna (2 ECTS credit points). Additional ECTS credits (total 5 ECTS points) are awarded when a doctoral student presents a report or comments on a presentation by a visitor. Such a presentation or commentary must be made at least once a year. In addition, a one- or two-day workshop may be held each year, or more frequently as desired and feasible. Languages of instruction will be German and English.

Duration & Phases

The doctoral program will last six semesters (eight semesters in case of research or study visits abroad, see below) and will be divided into three phases:

Phase I: Introduction, Orientation, Topic Formulation and Development (2 semesters);

Phase II Research, Chapter Presentations, Professional Skills (2 to 4 semesters); and

Phase III, Dissertation Completion and Final Examination (2 to 4 semesters).

Acquisition of professional skills (to be fixed in a Dissertation Agreement between doctoral students and their supervisors) may begin in Phase I and continue into Phase III (see below). Research or study visits abroad totalling one semester or more may be integrated into Phase II, and will lengthen the respective curriculum period accordingly.

Phase I: Introduction, Orientation, Topic Formulation and Development (2 semesters)

During this phase doctoral students are expected to achieve two goals: (1) to acquire or supplement basic knowledge of methods in the history and philosophy of science and of the knowledge area about which they expect to do their research; (2) to develop and present an elaborated exposé for a dissertation project.

Phase I, Part One: Methods Seminars

Goal (1) is to be achieved via attendance and satisfactory performance in two methods seminars, to be offered in sequence:

“Recent Approaches in History of Science” (offered in WS 2014-2015 by Profs. Ash and Sachse) (2 hours, 6 ECTS credits, the norm for seminars in history);

“Classic Works and Recent Studies in Philosophy of Science” (offered in SS 2015 by Profs. Stadler and Nemeth, with participation of Prof. Kusch) (2 hours, 5 ECTS credits, the norm for seminars in philosophy).

DK students who have already completed course work with comparable content may be released from this requirement on an individual basis, upon application.

Additional seminars or other course work from the relevant sciences may be prescribed to DK students by the Faculty in consultation with the DSPL (director of doctoral studies) in the relevant disciplines and/or the supervisor on an individual basis as needed.

Phase I, Part 2: Presentations in Colloquium

Goal (2) will be reached by developing and presenting the concept for a dissertation project (topic, approach, methods, existing literature, sources) in the program’s weekly Colloquium (see above), first in abstract form (1st semester), and then in the form of a detailed dissertation prospectus (2nd semester). Prospectus defences must be public as required by the “Doktorat neu”.

A draft prospectus (Exposé) must be submitted by the beginning of the 2nd semester of the program (1 March 2015). The draft prospectus (Exposé) will then be presented and discussed in the Colloquium (and also before the Doctoral Advisory Board of the relevant University Faculty, if required) during the 2nd semester, then revised and submitted in final form by the end of the semester (30 June 2015).

Participation in courses for the acquisition of professional skills may begin during Phase I of the program (see below).

During the first year of study, at the latest by the end of the second semester of the program each doctoral student is required to submit an application for approval of his or her dissertation project to the director of graduate studies in the discipline in which he/she is enrolled (“Doktorat neu” § 4). Immediately upon acceptance of the specific proposal, a supervision arrangement (Dissertationsvereinbarung) will be formalized between the team of supervisors and the student („Doktorat neu“, § 5 (1)), in consultation with the Speaker of the DK. In this arrangement, a schedule of goals to be achieved – including methods acquisition, professional skills, and research progress - will be formulated. Progress will be monitored on a regular basis during the period of study by means of annual progress reports (as required in “Doktorat neu”) and the arrangement updated accordingly. These progress reports will also form the basis for the yearly mentoring meeting (Jahresgespräch) with the Speaker (required by the University’s Personnel Department), in which career development issues and possibilities are discussed.

Completion of all requirements in Phase I is required for contract extension beyond the first year of funding.

Phase II: Research, Chapter Presentations, Professional Skills

(2 to 4 semesters, depending on the timing of international research or study visits)

During this phase doctoral students pursue their research and writing either in Vienna or other locations (see “Additional Curriculum Features” below), and are expected to achieve three goals:

(1) Develop and deepen research skills by participating in a seminar, “Reading historical texts from the natural sciences” (offered in WS 2015-2016 by Profs. Müller and Sachse, 2 hours, 6 ECTS credits). In this seminar, students present texts that they have selected themselves from their research and offer their interpretations of these texts for common discussion.

(2) Present chapter or publication drafts, trial talks for conferences, or similar texts, as well as critiques of other participants’ presentations in the DK program Colloquium and/or one of the program’s workshops. Participation in international conferences and publication in peer-reviewed scholarly journals is strongly encouraged.

Chapter drafts of substantial length (ca. 50 pages) must be submitted during the 3rd or 4th semester, at the latest by 30. September 2016.

Additional chapter drafts (ca. 100 new pages) must be submitted during the 5th or at the latest during the 6th semester – latest submission date to be announced.

(3) Acquire – or continue to acquire - professional skills (for example: oral or written presentation, teaching, grant writing, scientific and scholarly publication) through participation in selected programs offered by the University’s Personnel Department or by other means, as specified in the supervision arrangements (Dissertationsvereinbarung, see above) between doctoral students and their supervisors.

Professional skills acquisition

With assistance and advice from experienced researchers, DK students learn to plan their own future research activities, including writing conference presentations or grant proposals, management of workplace resources and in certain cases help in the supervision of graduate students. In addition, students will acquire and improve communication skills by delivering seminar talks or other presentations in the departments of their supervisors, which will also ensure an active transfer of information among colleagues and to other students.

The DK program’s internet platform will allow students to share their progress, and they will learn the value of collaborative, multidisciplinary research. Additionally, this platform will contribute to the dissemination of results to the general public.

As an integral part of professional skills acquisition, students are required to attend and if possible to present a paper at a minimum of one conference or workshop in their field each year.

DK students are also encouraged to take full advantage of relevant offerings by the University’s Personnel Department; focused workshops within the DK program will be organized as needed.  

Qualification for teaching under the supervision of Faculty members may begin during this phase and continue in Phase III, via one of the following methods: (1) work as Teaching Assistant in courses offered by Faculty; (2) joint course offering with a Faculty member. Such teaching is explicitly permitted as part of the employment of doctoral students as University Assistants under the University’s collective bargaining agreement (Kollektivvertrag); however, actual employment in teaching is subject to the availability of funding from a relevant program of studies.

Research or Study Visits abroad are required as part of the DK program (see “Additional Curriculum Features”, below).

All PhD students are required to submit evidence of having completed visits abroad for a total of one semester (six months) by the end of their third year of employment in the DK program, in order to receive, upon application, a fourth year of funding from the FWF.

Phase III: Dissertation Completion and Final Examination

(2 semesters or more, depending on the timing of international research or study visits).

During this phase participants are expected to achieve four goals:

(1) Complete and submit the dissertation (for specifics see Doktorat neu §6).

(2) Receive approval of the dissertation by two external reviewers (Doktorat neu §6).

(3) Complete a final, public dissertation defense (Defensio) (Doktorat neu, § 7).

(4) Complete an exit interview with the Speaker, detailing goals set and achieved in research as well as skills acquisition.

DK program graduates are expected to present results from their work at a final conference to be held at the end of each funded Grant Period of the program.

Supervision and Examination

As stated above, dissertations carried out in the DK program will be supervised jointly by a historian or philosopher and a natural scientist or mathematician, in so far as this is feasible. The supervisors are expected to participate equally in this work. For administrative reasons only, one of the two supervisors will be designated „first” or „lead” supervisor. The names of both supervisors and the fact that the dissertation was completed within the framework of the DK program will appear on the dissertation’s title page.

As stated above, dissertations will be reviewed by two external reviewers. External reviewers may also serve as examiners in the final dissertation defense (Defensio), if this is feasible (specifically permitted in Doktorat neu, § 7 [1]).

In certain cases, to be approved by the Faculty, more than two external reviews may be requested or required.

Additional curriculum features

International Research or Study Visits by Program Members

International research or study visits lasting for a total of one semester are an essential part of the DK program. Doctoral students participating in the program are awarded additional funding for this purpose (see above). Such visits will generally take place during Phase II of the program.

Research or study visits abroad should be carried out preferably in collaboration with one of the program’s collaborating institutions (a separate listing of which is provided), but may be carried out elsewhere as well, depending on research requirements of the doctoral students themselves (see below). Combining research visits (to libraries or archives with source material relevant to a specific dissertation project) with study visits to collaborating institutions is encouraged. Continuous stays of up to one semester are encouraged, but it is also possible in principle to complete this requirement by combining separate research and study visits which add up to a total of one semester or more.

Exceptions from this requirement may be granted in unusual cases, on application by program doctoral students to the Faculty with supporting statements from their dissertation advisors. Students to whom exceptions are granted may receive no more than six semesters of funding from the DK program.

Research or study visits abroad can be organized and financed after appropriate consultation with the dissertation advisors in one of three ways:

(1) in the Erasmus program of the European Union, preferably in cooperation with one of the program’s International Collaborators (preference for Erasmus places is to be given by contract with the University);

(2) as a research or study visit within the framework of existing programs other than Erasmus, for example the University of Vienna’s existing exchange relationship with Duke University, or the MOEL Program sponsored by the Austria Research Association (Österreichische Forschungsgemeinschaft);

(3) as a research visit to a relevant location, for which additional funding is available via the University’s KWA (short foreign visits) program.

DK program participants will continue to receive their salaries while abroad, and travel funding will be provided by the DK program, unless external funding can be obtained. Additional living costs due to the necessity of maintaining dual residences may be funded on application to the Organisation committee (OK).

Visiting Scholars

Each semester visiting scholars from one of the program’s international collaborating institutions and other international visitors will come to Vienna for brief visits to present recent research and work intensively with program members.

univie: summer school - Scientific World Conceptions (USS-SWC)

DK program students will be invited to participate in the “univie: summer school – Scientific World Conceptions” (USS-SWC), an advanced seminar program offered each summer with visiting scholars from outside Austria. The program focuses on a specific topic for intensive interdisciplinary discussion each year. Places in this program will be reserved for DK program participants, with tuition either waived or covered by the DK program. Participation in one VISU session in the course of the DK program is required. Alternatively, DK program students may substitute another summer school or workshop program, if the topic of such a program is more relevant to their research. Applications for such substitutions must be submitted to the Organisation committee (OK) and approved by the Faculty well in advance.

DK Program The Sciences in Historical, Philosophical and Cultural Contexts
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University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0