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The doctoral studies in the natural sciences offered by the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, serve to deepen candidates' theoretical knowledge and enhance their experimental skills in order to help them handle approaches or issues arising from the scientific or technological investigation of art in general or objects of art history or cultural heritage in particular. Therefore, the term "doctoral studies in the natural sciences" refers to research accompanying those subjects or disciplines of natural or technical sciences which, both methodologically and thematically, deal with problems arising in the areas of art and conservation of cultural heritage.

For admission, a Master's or similar degree (Diplomstudium) in the fields of the natural sciences or in a related artistic subject, or Secondary School Teacher Accreditation in a relevant school subject is prerequisite. This PhD program comprises 6 semesters (which is equal to 180 ECTS credits). One year after admission at the latest, a Thesis Agreement (Dissertationsvereinbarung) has to be concluded, specifying the main parameters of the supervision process.

Candidates are expected to attend courses comprising a minimum of 14 credit hours (or 20 ECTS credits). At least three such courses must be chosen from the seminars specifically offered to PhD candidates: Dissertant_innenseminare (3 ECTS credits or 2 credit hours each), and/or Privatissima (individual tutorials for selected participants, 2 ECTS credits or 2 credit hours each). All other courses can be freely chosen from the range of courses offered by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna or by other Austrian or international institutions of post-secondary education; such courses must, however, in form and content be relevant to the candidate's dissertation, or complement the respective field of studies. These electives are to be included in the Thesis Agreement.