DOCTORAL PROGRAM FOR MEDICAL SCIENCES. Curriculum. Medical University of Graz

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1 DOCTORAL PROGRAM FOR MEDICAL SCIENCES Curriculum Medical University of Graz Version 13 History of Resolutions and Revisions Version Date of resolution 1 Date of approval 2 Summary of revisions / date Effective date Implementation of the three-year doctoral program Editorial changes Submission of dissertation agreement / interim report Revision of the table of courses, 5 (3) newly added 6 (3) Process submission for dissertation agreement, 6 (4) and (5) newly added Implementation of English language in training activities and thesis, and introduction of peer reviewed publication as requirement for acceptance of the thesis Editorial changes Responsibility for correctness of content and linguistic and graphic design lies with the committee/institution/person in charge of the publication for the MTBI. (at end of each page) 1 A decision of the Academic Board for Doctoral Programs 2 Approval of the Senate Effective date: Oct. 1 st, 2015 Page 1

2 1. Goals and Qualification Profile (1) The Doctoral Program for Medical Sciences serves to equip students with the skills for conducting independent research so that they may contribute to the advancement of the medical sciences. It aims to bring about future generations of research scientists in the fields of medical and natural sciences. (2) Doctoral students will obtain the skills for independent academic work in a research field of the medical sciences. Due to the comprehensive and in-depth training program they will be able to formulate independent research projects based on current issues in medicine, carry them out independently, and through their findings, expand the knowledge base in the field of their specialty. Doctoral students will also be able to engage in critical analysis, evaluation and development of current scientific theories and new concepts in the medical sciences. They shall be regarded as young professionals in the medical sciences who are contributing to the development of medicine in both academic and non-academic fields of activity. 2. Admission Requirements (1) The completion of a degree program in Medicine or Dental Medicine, or of a relevant scientific or technical degree program/master s program is required for admission to the Doctoral Program for Medical Science. (2) As outlined in Paragraph 1, admission may also be granted if an equivalent degree program had been completed at a recognized Austrian or foreign tertiary educational institution. The equivalence shall be determined by the Rector during the admission process. (3) Persons who fulfil the admission requirements pursuant to 2 para. 1 or 2 shall be entitled to apply for one of the topics for doctoral theses announced as part of the Doctoral Schools ( 4). The Rector of Studies via the Dean shall decide on the allocation of the topic to the applicant, upon proposal by the faculty of the Doctoral School to which the topic is assigned. 3. Duration The Doctoral Program for Medical Science comprises of 6 semesters full-time study, but may where required be completed extra-occupationally. 4. Doctoral Schools (1) The Doctoral Program for Medical Science at the Medical University of Graz is organized in Doctoral Schools. Doctoral Schools are departments that are responsible for the delivery of highquality training programs in accordance with the curriculum. This includes in particular the design of course content. Effective date: Oct. 1 st, 2015 Page 2

3 (2) Members of a Doctoral School are qualified university teachers (venia docendi certification), who are scientifically active within the respective field, and who act as supervisors for dissertations. The Dean appoints the members of a Doctoral School based on the recommendation of the spokesperson of the Doctoral School. University teachers from other universities may also become members of a Doctoral School. If the above conditions are no longer given, membership expires after three years. (3) The members of a Doctoral School shall select a spokesperson and a deputy spokesperson. The spokesperson is responsible for the internal coordination of the Doctoral School and represents the Doctoral School to the public. (4) The Doctoral Schools shall be established by the Dean upon submission of a scientific concept and a training program and after a statement has been obtained from the study committee. The assessment criteria for approving a Doctoral School shall be the achievement of a critical size, the thematic orientation, the scientific quality and the proponents experience in supervision. (5) Doctoral Schools can also be established in cooperation with other universities. In this case, the division of teaching responsibilities as well as other forms of collaboration shall be determined and defined within the framework of an inter-university cooperation agreement. (6) The spokesperson of each Doctoral School shall provide a yearly report to the Academic Board and the Dean for Doctoral Studies. 5. Courses (1) As part of the doctoral program, the following courses must be completed: a) Compulsory subjects: i. Fundamentals of natural science methods for physicians: Graduates with a degree in Medicine or Dental Medicine, must complete courses on the fundamentals of empirical work in medical and natural sciences (total - 4 semester-hours). ii. Fundamentals of medicine for natural scientists and technicians: Graduates of a degree program in the natural sciences or a technical degree program\master s program must complete courses on the fundamentals of medicine (total - 4 semester hours). The courses are intended enable students for medical-scientific work by providing a grounding in anatomy, physiology, immunology/pathophysiology, pathology and pharmacology as well as some knowledge of the major clinical specialties. iii. Fundamentals in science and general skills: 4 semester-hours shall be completed in chosen courses from the fields of scientific theory, ethics, use of statistical methods, methods for planning, documentation, evaluation, and (meta) analysis of medical studies and experiments, writing scientific papers, presentation skills, university didactic, scientific English, management of scientific projects, etc. iv. Dissertation Seminars: Effective date: Oct. 1 st, 2015 Page 3

4 6 semester-hours shall be completed in in-depth courses for doctoral students in a subject relevant to the topic of the dissertation. v. Literature clubs (critical paper review) and project presentation: During these seminars, (totaling 4 semester-hours), the relevant scientific literature and project reports are critically presented and discussed. vi. Presentation of the dissertation topic: A presentation of the dissertation topic and the work plan shall be prepared in the first semester for the Dissertation Committee. (total semester-hours). vii. Interim report to the Dissertation Committee: In the third and fifth semester, written interim reports shall be prepared and presented to the Dissertation Committee (total semester-hours). The spokesperson of the Doctoral School will forward the interim report and a written assessment by the Dissertation Committee to the Dean for doctoral studies. viii. Public Presentation: During the course of the program, one public presentations shall be prepared and held at an appropriate scientific conference, including the Doctoral Day of the Medical University of Graz, (total semester-hours). b) Electives: Courses may be completed as electives, taking into consideration the thematic connection with the doctoral thesis and a scientific depth appropriate to the doctoral degree program, and shall be approved by the Rector of Studies in a recognition procedure after a positive statement has been obtained from the spokesperson of the Doctoral School. (2) Successful completion of compulsory and elective subjects requires passing course examinations, and a pass grade in courses with continual performance assessment. The sum of all course examinations from compulsory and elective subjects represents the first part of the comprehensive oral examination. Table 1 Suggested semester schedule (SH. = semester-hours) SH 1. Semester Fundamentals for physicians or natural scientists 4 Presentation of dissertation topic and work plan before the Dissertation Committee 2. Semester 0.5 Fundamentals of science and general skills 2 Dissertation seminar 2 3. Semester Fundamentals of science and general skills 2 Literature clubs (critical paper review) and project presentation 2 Effective date: Oct. 1 st, 2015 Page 4

5 Meeting with the Dissertation Committee, interim report Semester Dissertation seminar 2 Literature clubs (critical paper review) and project presentation 2 5. Semester Dissertation seminar 2 Meeting with the Dissertation Committee, interim report 0.5 Public presentation (e.g. Doctoral Day) Semester Total 20 (3) At least 50% of the courses shall be completed at the Medical University. The interim reports and the public presentation must be delivered at the Medical University of Graz. (4) All courses shall be held in English. Exempted are courses with a thematic focus that requires German as scientific language. 6. Dissertation (1) With the dissertation, the student provides evidence of having acquired the ability to independently solve important issues in current scientific research. The dissertation must therefore represent an independent original work that the student has prepared and written on their own. The latter shall be confirmed by the student in a preamble to the dissertation. A cumulative dissertation, for example consisting of an introduction and of one or several publications is not acceptable. The student shall further confirm that the rules of good scientific practice, as set out by the Medical University of Graz, were observed during work for the dissertation and for the resulting publications. The dissertation shall be written in English. Exempt from this regulation are dissertations with a thematic focus that requires German as scientific language. A summary of the dissertation shall be presented in both English and German. It is permitted for several students to collaborate on a single topic, provided the individual contribution of each doctoral student is clearly delineated, and each participating doctoral student writes their own dissertation. (2) When applying for admission, the student shall propose a member of a doctoral school as their advisor, as well as a dissertation topic and, with the consent of the advisor, courses that are in accordance with the curriculum. The dissertation topic must be from a field/sub-discipline that is represented at least at one institute/clinic of the Medical University of Graz. Should the preparation of the dissertation topic require the use of patient data, human resources, financial or material resources of the institute/clinic, approval shall only be granted if the director of the relevant institute or clinic has been informed of the proposed work in writing and has not declined it within one month due to a significant impairment of clinical, teaching and research operations. Furthermore, it must be ensured that patient data necessary for the dissertation shall be made available to the student in an appropriate format without violating data protection regulations. Effective date: Oct. 1 st, 2015 Page 5

6 (3) At the time of admission to a doctoral program, a dissertation agreement is made which governs the rights and obligations of the advisor and the student. (4) Selected as advisor may be a university teacher with authorization to teach (in accordance with 103 para. 1, Universities Act 2002) or a university professor emeritus at the Medical University of Graz, provided that they are authorized to teach in the field/sub-discipline of the dissertation topic. (5) If it appears beneficial for the supervision to be carried out by a member of a different university or a non-member with a venia docendi, this person may be entrusted with being an additional external supervisor for a doctoral thesis, pursuant to 45 para. 4 Med Uni Graz Statute, Chapter Study law. (6) The advisor s duty is to guide and support the doctoral student in their independent scientific work. This includes promoting independent scientific publishing activities. The role of advisor to the student ends upon completion of the final comprehensive oral examination, which is generally after four years. An extension may be granted by the Dean on formal request by the student and with endorsement of the advisor in situations where circumstances necessitate consideration, or if so stipulated in the dissertation agreement, (7) The Study Rector shall assign a three-person Dissertation Committee for each dissertation, which shall be chaired by the supervisor. There must be one co-supervisor from outside the institute or clinic where the work is performed. Two members of the committee shall have a venia docendi; it shall be sufficient for the other members to hold a doctoral degree. The Dissertation Committee supports and advises the student in the subject area and will invite them at least once a year to a personal meeting in which the student shall present their interim report. The spokesperson of the Doctoral School will forward the interim report to the Dean. An extraordinary meeting of the Dissertation Committee may be requested by the supervisor, a committee member, the student, or the Dean of Doctoral Studies. (8) It is possible to change advisors with due reason at any time until the dissertation is submitted. This requires approval by the Study Rector. Any new appointments made to the Dissertation Committee shall be reported to the Dean. (9) The completed dissertation must be submitted via the Dean to the Study Rector, who will present it to two reviewers. Before the dissertation can be forwarded to the reviewers for evaluation, at least one paper arising from the research must have been published or been accepted for publication in an SCI-listed journal with the candidate as first author. Assessment of the dissertation by the reviewers shall be completed within a maximum period of two months. Scientists with a venia docendi or an equivalent qualification in the field of the doctoral thesis and who are not biased in any way shall be consulted as examiners. The supervisor and the members of the doctoral committee may not act as examiners. (Effective date: Oct. 1 st, 2016) (10) The expert opinions and results of the assessments shall be given in writing to the student and the Dissertation Committee. (11) The student must publish the positively assessed dissertation before being awarded the academic degree in accordance with the regulations of 86 Universities Act 2002 as amended. 7. Examination Regulations (1) The student is eligible to register with the Study Rector for the final examination in the form of a public comprehensive oral examination before a committee, only if the following conditions are met: Effective date: Oct. 1 st, 2015 Page 6

7 a) Completion of all course examinations for compulsory and elective subjects with a pass grade as the first part of the comprehensive oral examination. b) Positive assessment of the dissertation. (2) The doctoral program is completed with the final comprehensive oral examination. (3) The final comprehensive oral examination includes the defense of the dissertation and an examination of the field/sub-discipline that is relevant to the dissertation. (4) The Study Rector shall form an Examination Board consisting of three people to conduct the final comprehensive oral examination. An examiner shall be assigned for each examination subject. One member shall be appointed chairperson of the Examination Board. The Study Rector shall select the examiners for the Examination Board from among those university teachers at the Medical University of Graz with an authorization to teach in the respective examination subject in accordance with 103 Universities Act 2002 as amended. If necessary, individuals with authorization to teach at other Austrian universities and at recognized universities or colleges abroad may serve as examiners, provided their authorization to teach is equivalent to the authorization to teach at the Medical University of Graz and is for the relevant examination subject. The primary supervisor and the members of the doctoral committee, as well as persons who are biased in any way shall be excluded as examiners. (Effective date: Oct. 1 st, 2016) (5) The student shall be informed of the composition of the Examination Board and the names of those appointed as examiners at least four weeks prior to the examination. Location, date and time of the final comprehensive oral examination shall be published at the internet site of the Medical University of Graz no later than one week before. (6) The final comprehensive oral examination shall be conducted as a public oral examination by the entire Examination Board, and shall last no longer than one and a half hours. The examination language is English. As part of the examination, the student shall give a brief presentation of the dissertation and defend the obtained results (defensio dissertationis). In addition to the assigned examiner, all members of the Examination Board may ask questions during the examination of the dissertation subject, provided they are authorized to teach the relevant examination subject. (7) In the final comprehensive oral examination, the candidate must be able to demonstrate their scientific competence and their thorough familiarity with the main issues of the examination subjects. (8) The chairperson of the Examination Board shall ensure that the final comprehensive oral examination is conducted in an orderly manner and keep records of the examination. These records will include the subject of the examination, the place and time thereof, the names of the Examination Board members, the name of the student, the questions asked, the grades given, any reasons for a non-passing grade, and any unusual occurrences. (9) The discussion and vote by the Examination Board on the results of the final comprehensive oral examination of all the examination subjects shall be held in a closed session. The decisions of the Examination Board shall be determined by a majority vote, whereby the chairperson, who exercises the same voting rights as the other members, shall vote last. When casting their vote, each member of the Examination Board shall consider the results of the individual examination subjects as well as the overall impression of the final comprehensive oral examination. (10) If the Examination Board is unable to reach a decision on a grade, the proposed grades of the members shall be added, the sum divided by the number of members, and the result then rounded mathematically to give a whole number for the final grade. The final comprehensive oral examination will only be deemed successfully completed when each examination subject (in accordance with Paragraph 3) has been awarded a grade of at least satisfactory. If a grade of unsatisfactory is Effective date: Oct. 1 st, 2015 Page 7

8 given for more than one examination subject, the final comprehensive oral examination must be repeated in its entirety. 8. Awarding of Doctoral Degree (1) The Study Rector shall officially award graduates of the Doctoral Program for Medical Sciences the title Doctor of Medical Science (Latin: Doctor scientiae medicae ) promptly by written notification, notwithstanding the holding of academic ceremonies in celebration of the conferral of the doctorate, and no later than one month after successful completion of the final comprehensive oral examination: (2) The notification of the conferral of the doctorate shall include the following information: a) Graduate s surname, first name, previously earned degrees and maiden name if different from the surname. b) Date of birth, place of birth and nationality. c) The completed degree program including the field/sub-discipline of the dissertation, the compulsory and elective courses taken, and the title of the dissertation. d) The (expanded) academic title to be conferred. (3) If substantial findings of the dissertation were published as original work in SCI-listed scientific journals with the doctoral student as the primary author, then PhD equivalent shall be entered in the Diploma Supplement. 9. Jurisdiction and Rules of Procedure Appeals against decisions of the Study Rector may be made to the Senate in accordance with 25 para. 1 Line 12 Universities Act The Dean has the right to pass a preliminary decision which shall be carried out by the Study Rector. For official proceedings the General Administrative Procedure Act 1991 as amended, and based on this curriculum, shall apply. 10 Joint Study Programs Joint Study Programs The doctoral degree program in Medical Sciences may also be completed as part of a joint study program. In this case, the student shall spend at least one year working on his/her doctoral thesis at the respective partner university. The student shall submit an agreement regulating the joint study program between the participating universities to the Dean of Doctoral Studies for approval. The work and courses defined in this agreement and completed at the partner university shall be recognised automatically. 11. Effective Date of the Curriculum This curriculum shall enter into effect with the start of the academic year 2015/2016, i.e. October 1st, Effective date: Oct. 1 st, 2015 Page 8

9 Annex 1: Educational goals/qualification profile of the doctoral program for medical sciences The graduates are qualified to independently conduct research at an international level to publish the results of their research in internationally recognized journals to present and discuss the results of their research at international conferences to present the results of their research in an understandable manner to the public to conduct subject-related discussions with other scientists in the English language The graduates will understand and observe the ethical guidelines for research (good scientific practice). Effective date: Oct. 1 st, 2015 Page 9

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