Cumulative Dissertation

Please note that to submit a cumulative dissertation, it is not enough to inform yourself at the Website of Doc-GS, because this TUM-central page does not contain the specific regulations with which the department defines its own standards of quality assurance. You will find the complete information here. However, this site is only concerned with the specifics in regard to a cumulative dissertation. Additionally, the rules for conventional dissertations apply!

This website will describe only in a general way, which criteria are important in regard to a cumulative dissertation. Because there are a great variety of individual circumstances regarding cumulative dissertations, please discuss the particulars of your formal structure with the Dean’s Office (please make an appointment). You will receive administrative support there. Please make use of it!

  • Art. 6, 2: „(2) 1 A publication-based dissertation must be a scholarly work equivalent in all aspects to a dissertation as described in subsection 1; the requirements set out in Appendix 6 must be complied with. 2 The publication-based dissertation must provide a brief description of the scientific problem, problem-solving solutions, results and conclusions, achieved and related literature. 3 The papers accepted for publication and published in print or electronic journals must be enclosed with the dissertation as appendix.“
  • Appendix 6
  • Please note:The Department of Mathematics has been given permission to break the rule of first authorship (see Appendix 6, No 3) because in the mathematical scientific communities, authorships mostly follow an alphabetic order. Instead, you must have the confirmation of the coauthors of the papers you included that you are „main author“ or the „author in charge“ (more information see below).

In regard to publication-based dissertations, the faculty board meeting on 7 July 2013 has approved the following supplementary guidelines for additional quality assurance by the department:

  • „The examining committee consists of at least two scientists: your advisor and one examiner who is not a faculty member of TUM and who is not listed as a co-autor of those publications the publication-based dissertation contains.
  • Every member of the examining committee has to confirm that the publication-based dissertation is equivalent in its quality and quantity to a traditional dissertation.
  • Because the criterion of being a first author does not generally apply in mathematical publications, all co-authors of every single included publication have to confirm that the candidate was the main author.
  • A publication the candidate as the main author includes in his dissertation can neither be included into other candidates' dissertations nor in this candidate's subsequent Habilitationsschrift.“

If you are not able to comply with the rules detailed here, you might want to think about whether a comulative dissertation is a good solution for you. In some cases a conventional dissertation turns out to be easier to handle.

However, if you want to go ahead and submit a cumulative dissertation even though you are not able to meet the requirements, the risk that you will need to make corrections which make it necessary to withdraw your first application and submit a second amended version lies with you. Even your supervisor consenting to submit your cumulative dissertation will not protect your from that.

A) Papers (at least two) have to be accepted  AND

B) you have to have the written permission of all co-authors that you are „author in charge“ or „main author“.

All Publications which fulfill A + B are considered as „core publications“. All publications which don’t fulfill A+B are not to be included. They can be summarized in your introduction and you can cite them there (in accordance with the citation rules). In any case, they need to appear in your reference list. They are regarded as „further publications“.

  • You are kindly asked to structure the included publications clearly and divide them visibly into „core publications“ and „further publications“, for instance in a list of included publications. Please take care to avoid to submit a unstructured mix of uncommented publications (with and without first autorship, accepted and not yet accepted etc.), trying to offer something interesting to everybody.
  • Your supervisor will decide if the publications you want to include in your dissertation are equivalent to a conventional dissertation.

Your supervisor has to give a written permission for you do submit a cumulative thesis. It is a part of your application for a doctoral degree, so please include it into the application documents.

During preparation for your application, you need to clarify whether all co-authors are willing to confirm that you are the main author for those publications you want to include into your dissertation.

Which consequences does the confirmation have for the consenting person?

  • A doctoral student who is willing to declare that you are the main author of a certain publication cannot include this publication in a cumulative dissertation of his own. But she or he can use this publication for a conventional dissertation.
  • Habilitanden can still use this publication for their habilitation theses because there, main authorship is not required.

How can a co-author transfer main authorship to you?

These are the necessary steps:

  1. She or he writes a hardcopy letter:
  2. Headline: Letter of confirmation concerning publications included in [Name]‘s dissertation
  3. I, [Name of co-author], confirm that [your name] is main author of the publication(s) [citation of publication(s)].
  4. Place and date of issue
  5. Signature of co-author.

For every co-author, a separate statement is needed. No emails!

Who needs these letters of confirmation?

  1. Theoretically your supervisor needs the letters in order to give you the written approval mentioned above. If she or he doesn’t require them, that’s fine.
  2. You need them for your own security. E.g. one of the doctoral students who is co-author decides to use the publication as a core publication for a publication-based dissertation of her or his own and denies that she/he transferrred the main autorship to you. Then you need to prove that this person is in the wrong and not you. Things like this do happen not only theoretically, so it is better to be on the safe side.
  3. Please send a pdf to

You will find this letter either on the publisher’s website or you will have received a declaration by email together with the information that your publication was accepted. It is sufficient to include in your dissertation the part of this email that confirms that you are allowed to use the publication for further qualifications. As this happens all the time, publishers include this sentence somewhere.

You don’t need to observe the rule of the „Regulations“ that your introduction is supposed to be exactely 20 pages. Instead, you are fee to make your introduction as long as you wish. As a result, you can use all the space you need to cite or summarize your „further publications“.

  1. Electronic application: Please activate the button „cumulative dissertation“ when it appears and upload your supervisor’s approval letter.
  2. Paper application: Please add the original of your supervisor’s approval letter to all other documents you hand in at examination office (Promotionsamt).

Permission of the publisher: Enclose in your dissertation.

Letters transferring main authorship: to your supervisor, if she/he requires them, otherwise keep them with your documents; please send pdf to

Written approval of supervisor: upload in your doc-gs-account; original is to be handed in at the examination office (Promotionsamt).


Lydia Weber

Lydia Weber, MBA 


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85747 Garching
Room: MI 00.10.044

dekanat (at)
+48 (0)89 289 17583


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