Doctoral Program Environment and Society

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The Doctoral Program Environment and Society at LMU Munich offers students a rich experience in the form of a structured degree that allows them to develop both academic proficiency and soft skills. The following sections outline the content and structure of the doctoral program, as well as the course expectations.

1. Structure and Content
2. Admission Requirements and Application Procedure
3. Selection Procedure
4. Organization and Managing Bodies
5. Supervision
6. Certification and Documentation
7. Obligations
8. Degree

1. Structure and Content

The Doctoral Program Environment and Society is conceived as an interdisciplinary program. It is overseen by an Academic Board. All doctoral students in the program have a dual affiliation: with the RCC and with a specific LMU faculty of their chosen discipline. The primary supervisor of the doctoral project should be affiliated with that faculty. At the end of the doctoral studies, after the fulfillment of all the necessary requirements, the members of the program receive a doctorate in their chosen discipline and the RCC Program Certificate with a transcript, listing all the academic activities completed during the program. The doctoral degree itself comes from the faculty of LMU and not from the RCC. The following subjects are represented by the members of the Academic Board:

Participating SubjectsAcademic Board
American Cultural and Environmental History; Environmental Humanities Prof. Dr. Christof Mauch
Dr. Simone Müller
Art History Prof. Dr. Hubertus Kohle
Geography Prof. Dr. Wolfram Mauser
Prof. Dr. Henrike Rau
Prof. Dr. Gordon Winder
Geology Prof. Dr. Anke Friedrich
History of Science and Technology, Environmental History Prof. Dr. Helmuth Trischler
History of Central and Eastern Europe and Russia Prof. Dr. Julia Herzberg
Law, Public Law and Administrative Sciences Prof. Dr. Jens Kersten
Life Sciences in Society Prof. Dr. Michael John Gorman
Political Science Prof. Dr. Christoph Knill
Literary Studies PD Dr. habil. Felicitas Meifert-Menhard
Social and Cultural Anthropology Prof. Dr. Eveline Dürr
Sociology Prof. Dr. Bernhard Gill
Prof. Dr. Stephan Lessenich
Theology, Social and Environmental Ethics Prof. Dr. Markus Vogt
Economics Prof. Dr. Karen Pittel

Students in the program must fulfil the requirements for a doctorate in their chosen discipline. These requirements vary from subject to subject. They often involve attending a graduate seminar (Oberseminar or equivalent) and sometimes other courses and programs as well. Students are responsible for checking and clarifying the requirements of their faculty with their supervisor.

In order to receive the RCC Program Certificate, members of the doctoral program are required to:

• attend the interdisciplinary Lunchtime Colloquium series, which takes place weekly during the semester, for at least four semesters (and a minimum of 50 sessions) over the course of the program. Students should try to start attending the Lunchtime Colloquium already in the first semester of their doctoral studies. The Lunchtime Colloquium provides insights into the field of environmental studies, facilitates networking with experts from all over the world, and ensures that doctoral researchers are a part of the wider academic community. Students may also be asked to serve as moderators for Lunchtime Colloquium sessions.

• take part in the doctoral workshops (Doktorandentage, doctoral retreats) organized within the program. The aim of these workshops is to provide an opportunity for networking and to give candidates a platform to present their research to fellow students, members of the wider RCC community, and other interested parties. Doctoral candidates need to present their work at a minimum of two such workshops over the course of their membership in the program, and should be involved in organizing at least one such workshop or equivalent event.

• take part in the doctoral meetings, organized by the program coordinator once a month during the semester. The aim of these meetings is to exchange information about the program, to strengthen the academic skills of the students, to share research, get feedback and promote the interdisciplinary dialogue between the members of the program. 

• attend individual meetings with the program coordinator once a semester to discuss specific challenges and progress made.

• attend at least one soft skills workshop (e.g. Academic Writing in English, Didactics, Project Management etc.) offered by the LMU Graduate Center, LMU Center for Leadership and People Management, or other provider. Certified participation in one of these workshops is a program requirement, but students are encouraged to attend as many as they find useful.

• attend a minimum of two academic conferences, presenting their own research.

The following are not program requirements, but are actively encouraged and supported within the program, and can be recorded on the final transcript of program activities.

  • students may organize for themselves a one semester study/research leave abroad as part of the doctoral program. Funding may be available through the DAAD, the EU (Erasmus Mundus etc.), and other funding bodies. Longer stays abroad can be arranged if necessitated by the nature of the dissertation project. Study leave can also be replaced by work experience (secondment).

Exemplary distribution of course components:

Lunchtime Colloquium X X X X
Subject-specific graduate seminar X
Subject-specific course X X X
Doktorandentag (or similar workshop)   X   X    
Conference participation    X  X  
Study leave abroad or work experience   X        
Teaching     X      
Key skills X   X   X  
Dissertation Timetable Outline Outline Submit a chapter Submit a chapter Submit dissertation

Note: timing of course component attendance is variable.


Doctoral students should also gain insights into areas of environmental practice. Opportunities for such insights will be provided through the participation of affiliated research institutes and non-university partners. Members of the program are encouraged to approach these partner institutions if they wish to complete a research-based work placement. The network of external partners includes the following institutions and organizations:

Affiliated research institutes and non-university institutions
Bayerische Staatssammlung für Anthropologie und Paläoanatomie
Bayerische Staatssammlungen
Deutsches Museum
ifo Zentrum für Energie, Klima und erschöpfbare Ressourcen
Institut Technik-Theologie-Naturwissenschaften an der LMU
Bayerisches Landesamt für Umwelt
Zentrum für Umwelt und Kultur Benediktbeuern

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2. Admission Requirements and Application Procedure

a) Applicants wishing to be admitted to the Doctoral Program Environment and Society must hold a Master’s degree or equivalent from a recognized university and show evidence of excellence in their chosen field of study. Applicants will be informed via email about the success of their application. All applications are handled via the online application portal. Candidates will be considered on the basis of the documents listed below by a selection committee made up of at least two professors from the doctoral program who are authorized examiners and a third member representing the doctoral candidates.

For more information on the admission requirements, please see our Application section.nach oben

3. Selection Procedure

Selection will be made on the basis of the documents submitted and may additionally include an academic interview with a member of the selection committee. Interviews can be conducted via Skype.

The selection committee will base its choice on the following factors: quality and feasibility of the research proposal, qualifications held, communication skills, and demonstrated willingness and ability to work on interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological questions.nach oben

4. Organization and Managing Bodies

a) Members of the academic board of the doctoral program are professors or lecturers at LMU Munich. The academic board can appoint further members. Membership of the academic board ends if a member

  • no longer hold a post at LMU Munich
  • resigns from the academic board in a written request submitted to the representative of the doctoral program
  • is subject to a decision to this effect made by secret ballot and carried by a two-thirds majority of the voting members of the academic board that are present.

b) The academic board will appoint a representative and a deputy representative of the doctoral program. The representative will be appointed for a period of four years, and can be reappointed for a further term. Should the representative or deputy representative be discharged from this office before the end of the four year period, a new representative will be appointed for the remainder of the period.

c) A program coordinator will be appointed to function as the intermediary between supervisors and candidates and will be responsible for the organizational and administrative management of the program.

d) Each semester, doctoral students elect representatives for their group. nach oben

5. Supervision

a) Doctoral students are overseen by a supervisory committee. This committee is made up of one primary supervisor and at least one additional supervisor. The primary supervisor has the main responsibility for supervising the student; other supervisors are involved in an advisory capacity. The committee members supervise the dissertation process and advise the student on questions of individual career plans. At least one of the student’s supervisors must be a member of the program’s academic board.

b) By the end of the first semester, the doctoral student and their main supervisor sign an agreement regarding the details of the supervision relationship (Betreuungsvereinbarung).nach oben

6. Certification and Documentation

a) Doctoral students submit a report on their program-related activities once a semester. A copy is kept by the coordinator. The students are responsible for keeping the original and may be asked to produce it at the time of completion of the program, as these reports serve as the basis for the issuance of the certificate and the corresponding transcript.

b) Upon successful completion of the program, the candidate will be issued a certificate confirming their participation in the Doctoral Program Environment and Society as well as a transcript listing the course components completed.

c) Doctoral candidates who only fulfill parts of the requirements may be issued a transcript listing the course components completed.nach oben

7. Obligations

a) Doctoral students are obliged to adhere to the regulations for good scientific practice (see DFG (German Research Council), Proposals for Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice).

b) The supervisory committee is obligated to provide regular academic guidance, to support early academic independence, to promote individual careers, and to provide quality control measures, i.e. regular progress checks.

c) Doctoral students commit themselves to providing regular written updates on the progress of their work for the use of their supervisory commission, depending on the individual stipulations set in the supervision agreement.

d) If the student does not comply with the incumbent duties and program requirements, their primary supervisor is to issue a written reminder with an acceptable deadline to complete the task. If the student does not complete the task within this time period, the supervisory committee can unilaterally dissolve the supervision agreement without notice. This must be documented in writing, stating the reason for the dissolution. Before dissolving the supervision agreement, the doctoral program’s representatives should be asked to mediate between the candidate and their primary supervisor. The dissolution of the supervision agreement also terminates the student’s participation in the doctoral program. The supervisory relationship within the relevant doctoral regulations of the affected faculty, however, remains untouched.nach oben

8. Degree

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the program, one of the following degree titles can be awarded: Dr. rer. nat., Dr. phil., Dr. iur., Dr. oec. publ. and Dr. theol. The doctorate is awarded by the faculty of the candidate’s primary supervisor. The second opinion may be provided by a member of another faculty. nach oben