Skip to content. Skip to navigation.

Here you will find more general information about the doctoral/PhD study programs offered at the Academy, potential supervisors, as well as the general conditions of the studies, and also information on ongoing dissertation / PhD projects.


  • Information about the doctoral studies / PhD studies at the Academy of Fine Arts

I would like to enroll a doctoral program at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Where can I find information on the programs offered?

The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna offers four doctoral programs:

I am thinking of enrolling doctoral studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, but I don't know how to, and I have several questions. What should I do?

We strive to answer any questions of those interested in enrolling one of the doctoral studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, which is why we are continually extending our online information. We really want to help you! However, before you personally contact any of our staff with an individual query, please consult our homepage. In most cases, you will be able to find an answer there. In the FAQs section, we have tried to anticipate your questions as far as possible. 
Furthermore, the following page contains specific information on all doctoral studies offered (along with the respective study plans). 

On our site Study Information you can find a variety of questions that might arise in the course of studying at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

What in actual fact is the PhD in Practice program?

In 2010, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna launched a doctoral program for research in artistic practice. The "PhD-in-Practice" program provides participants with the opportunity to pursue their individual research projects in a collective learning environment with a decidedly transdisciplinary and international bent. The program is coordinated by Renate Lorenz (Professor for Art and Research) and Anette Baldauf (Professor for Methodology and Epistemology).

For FAQs on the PhD-in-Practice program, please click here: http://blogs.akbild.ac.at/phdinpractice/the-program/faqs/

How do I choose between the doctoral programs PhD in Practice and Dr. phil.?

The PhD in Practice program pools the arts-based research PhD projects of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, while the Dr. phil. program investigates the respective theme from a purely scientific perspective (and not from that of arts-based research). These different approaches therefore represent one of the main criteria for choosing one of the doctoral programs. No admission examination is required for the philosophical doctorate; the PhD in Practice program, however, does require candidates to take such an exam. Nevertheless, you will need to fulfill the above admission requirements for either doctoral program. To give you a deeper insight into our doctoral programs, we recommend reading the curricula to be found on the following website for the respective study program, as well as the FAQs of the PhD in Practice homepage.

I am not sure whether doctoral studies are the right thing. Is there any personal counseling?

This will depend on your questions, but basically we expect you to have read these FAQs carefully before you consult the respective institute for personal counseling.

If you are not sure whether a doctoral program is right for you, the following thoughts might help you make your decision:

  • Doctoral theses are scientific papers that provide evidence of the ability to handle scientific issues independently. Did you acquire sufficient knowledge of scientific work during your diploma or master studies, to build upon during your doctoral studies?
  • Have you ever written a thesis or final paper? How did you cope?
  • You can borrow doctoral theses from the library at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna or other university libraries. Can you imagine writing such a thesis yourself?
  • Think about the rough working steps and techniques (research, reading, scientific work, writing) as well as a rough schedule or time frame for your thesis. Can you imagine yourself taking these steps?
  • There are also several guidebooks for (potential) doctoral candidates available at e.g. libraries. The platform doktorat.at, for instance, especially recommends two books.
  • Do you know any doctoral candidates or someone who holds a doctor's degree? Even if they did not study the same field as you are planning to, they might be able to help you by telling you about the challenges of doctoral studies in general, and of writing a doctoral thesis in particular.
  • How much time and money do you have at your disposal for your doctoral studies? How many hours per week can you devote to them?

The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna offers counseling in the following fields:

If you need information on the content of a doctoral thesis:
Before you decide to enroll a doctoral program, you should have chosen one or two potential supervisors at the Academy of Fine Arts and discussed the content of your doctoral project and thesis with them. Please also consult the FAQ "How do I find a supervisor?"

For all official questions regarding our doctoral programs:
Please consult our Registrar's Office with regard to enrolling, admission or conclusion of your studies, required documents, accreditations, etc.

Can arts-based research theses also be submitted for the Dr. phil. program?

No, doctoral candidates enrolled in the Dr. phil. program can only submit purely scientific papers. At the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, papers based on research using artistic methods have been assigned to the PhD in Practice program, which, in contrast to the Dr.phil. program, relies on arts-based research.

In what languages can I write my doctoral thesis?

The language of your thesis will depend on your supervisor. The list of supervisors (here) will tell you who supervises dissertations in what language.

  • Supervision

Where do I find potential supervisors?

The homepage of the Center for Doctoral Studies provides you with a list of potential doctoral and PhD-project supervisors, which also comprises their respective Venia (teaching subjects). You find the list in the section forms and documents.

How do I find a supervisor?

Before you start looking for a supervisor, you must choose which doctoral program you would like to enroll. The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna offers four doctoral programs (the philosophical doctorate, the technical doctorate in Architecture, the scientific doctorate, and the PhD-in-Practice program, which combines all doctoral projects of arts-based research). Furthermore, before consulting our supervisors you should have a concrete idea of the theme you would like to work on as you should then choose a supervisor who has the best qualifications to support you in writing your doctoral thesis. Ideally, you already know one of the supervisors from your studies and ask them whether they would be ready to supervise your work in the respective field. Should you, however, not know the person you would like to have as your doctoral supervisor, we recommend that you summarize your field in a short abstract and send this by email to the potential supervisor, together with a request for an appointment.

The homepage of the Center for Doctoral Studies provides you with a list of potential doctoral and PhD -project supervisors, which also comprises their respective Venia (teaching subjects). You find the list in the section forms and documents.

My supervisor is not at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Can I still enroll a doctoral program here?

The main supervisor of a doctoral thesis must be chosen from those available at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Please read the FAQ "How do I find a supervisor?"

I would like to write my doctoral thesis on the topic XY at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, but there is no supervisor qualified for this job content-wise. Can I still do my doctoral studies here?

No, this is impossible. The main supervisor of your doctoral thesis must be chosen from those available at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Please read the FAQ "How do I find a supervisor?"


  • Presence at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

How much face time do I have to spend at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna when I am doing my doctoral studies here? Do I have to attend regularly?

This question has to be answered differently for each doctoral program. In the Dr. phil., the PhD in Practice and the Dr. techn. programs, you will, of course, have to attend certain lectures personally, see your supervisors and handle administrative matters, but you will not need to be present all of the time. How much actual face time you are expected to spend at the Academy is a matter you will have to discuss with your supervisor(s). In most cases, doctoral candidates find it possible to work at least part-time alongside their doctoral studies.
This is, however, different for the doctoral program in natural science: doctoral candidates there are required to be present at all times, for the simple reason that, among other things, they will have to help carry out investigations, analyses and experiments at the laboratories. Doctoral candidates enrolled in the natural-scientific program are either employed with the aid of third-party funds, or expected to ensure that they have sufficient financial means at their disposal as they will find it very difficult, if not impossible, to work alongside their studies.

  • Framework

Do students of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna have to pay any tuition fees? Are there any grants?

Since the summer term of 2013, all Austrian universities have been charging tuition fees, owing to an amendment of the Austrian Universities Act 2002. Therefore, please check your study fee status in your Academy-Online Account. Please note: The students' union fee (ÖH-Beitrag) is not part of the tuition fee and must be paid by all students each term without exception. Please find more detailed information on the tuition fees to be paid at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna on the following page.

All students of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna who paid tuition fees in the previous term but have not received a refund from other institutions (e.g. by the study grant office (Studienbeihilfenbehörde)), have the opportunity to apply for a Social Stipend. Please find more detailed information here.

Does enrolling a doctoral program at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna mean that I have a (paid) job / gainful employment here?

No, not normally. In Austria, doctoral candidates do not - different from several other states -automatically have gainful employment. Some doctoral candidates have - usually provided by their supervisors - some kind of job, especially as co-workers on third-party funds projects.

Does the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna offer any financial support for doctoral candidates?

The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna offers a variety of grants to students - such as Mobility Scholarships for stays abroad, a Student Assistance Fund for students from so-called third countries (non-EU members), but also research grants for doctoral or PhD candidates, which are advertised every other year. The following link will give you an overview of the scholarships and grants awarded by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, along with other useful links, e.g. to information on federal grants, grants given by the City Council of Vienna, or on Student Allowance.

Especially the grants for student mobility have been seldom used by the doctoral candidates of the Academy. Studies abroad represent an essential asset in the résumé of Post-Doc-candidates, though. You can look up the possibilities of student mobility at the sites of the International Relations Office here.

Via our Center for Doctoral Studies, two grants available to doctoral candidates of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and the University of Art and Design Linz have been introduced: the Dissertation Completion Fellowship and the Travel Allowances for PhD candidates. Please find more detailed information on these two grants, both of which are advertised by our Center for Doctoral Studies, here.

Furthermore, the students' representation of doctoral studies (ÖH) offers project funding for doctoral cadidates for various projects connected with the doctoral thesis. Please inform yourself with ÖH about their current funding opportunities fopr doctoral/PhD students.


  • Ongoing dissertation and PhD Projects

What are the doctoral theses and PhDs on which doctoral candidates at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna are currently working?

For an overview of current doctoral theses and PhD projects, please click here.

I am interested in already finished diploma and doctoral theses of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Where can I access them and do my research?

The Theses Data Base of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna contains all the diploma theses, dissertations and PhDs ever submitted. These papers can be viewed and used for research purposes.


Permalink