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Doctoral Program on Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering


The program aims at training Doctors on the subject of Transportation Planning and Engineering based on the standard and Quality of Technical University of Darmstadt in Vietnam.


Candidates who may be accepted as a doctoral candidate at VGTRC have to meet the following requirements:

• They must have a Master degree of TU Darmstadt or UTC  or an equivalent degree with sufficient marks (minimum is an average mark “good”, at least 2,5 according to the German grades or equivalent). In exceptional cases, if their degree does not fulfil the requirements, a candidate can do a special qualification procedure (aptitude test)to be accepted as doctoral candidate at TU Darmstadt.
• They must prove their English skills (TOEFL 550 (Paper Test), IELTS 6.0 or equivalent).
• They must be accepted by the supervisors, and there must be agreement on the topic of the doctoral thesis.
• There must be a proper financial basis to ensure the living costs of the candidate for the period of three years.


Candidates can be proposed by everyone. To start the procedure, the potential candidate has to send his or her documents per e-mail to the director, co-director, or executive manager of VGTRC.

The potential candidates are first checked by the Director and Co-Director of VGTRC. After their positive decision, the formal application process can start. Therefore, the applicant has to send certified copies of his or her bachelor’s and master’s certifications by post to TU Darmstadt. If one of the studies is done in Vietnam, an APS-certificate should be included.

In Darmstadt, these documents will be forwarded to the the international office of TU Darmstadt. The documents will be checked there, to decide if the studies are equivalent to the necessary requirements to be a doctoral candidate at TU Darmstadt. If so, an application to be accepted as doctoral candidate will be handed in to the Ph.D. Admissions Board of the Department of Civil Engineering and Geodesy. In this application, a preliminary research topic will be named.

Ph.D. Admissions Board meets six times a year, usually in May, June, July, November, December and January. In case of a positive decision by Ph.D. Admissions Board, the candidate is officially accepted as a doctoral candidate of TU Darmstadt. The decision of Ph.D. Admissions Board may be linked to special conditions, like the ‘Eignungsfeststellungsverfahren’ (aptitude test).


As a general rule, doctoral candidates shall gain their degree within three years (equates to six semesters). This duration can be shortened or extended under the following conditions:

• Permission of all supervisors (time shortening or extension) and
• Assurance of financing during the additional time, either by an extension of the scholarship duration (agreement by the scholarship provider) or by a commitment for self-financing all related cost by VGTRC or the doctoral candidate (time extension) or
• Early receipt of the doctoral degree (includes finishing all necessary examinations, publishing at workshops or conferences, as well as the successful oral defence of the doctoral thesis at TU Darmstadt) (time shortening).

Required examinations

Each regular doctoral candidate in the area of transport planning and traffic engineering has to do the following examinations during the 1st year at VGTRC:

• Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering B (6 CP)
• Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering C (3 CP)
• Advanced Transport Telematics / Transport Modelling (3 CP)
• Public Transport Planning and Management (3 CP)
• Seminar in Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering (3 CP).

All of these lectures are part of the study program at the Chair of Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering of Technische Universität Darmstadt. Starting in 2011, it is planned to offer these lectures also at VGTRC.

The examination for the Seminar in Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering (C) consists of a report (about 20 pages), which has to be handed in, as well as of a presentation which has to be given by the candidate. The report shall focus on literature review, the topic has to be arranged with the professor. The presentation shall last for 20 minutes and is continued by a discussion for ten minutes.

Doctoral candidates accepted on condition of an aptitude test will have to fulfil two more requirements additionally:

• Master Thesis (24 CP, can be a intermediate report of the doctor thesis) and
• Proof of basic lectures in mathematics, physics, chemistry and technical mechanics (18 CP, if courses in these areas are already done, their equivalency has to be checked, if positive, the former lectures can be accepted to fulfill the requirements).

The Master Thesis is started by the issue of an official topic and task definition. After six months, a report on this topic has to be handed in, which should have about 60 to 100 pages. During editing time two presentations have to be given, and a further presentation is necessary after the report is handed in.

Doctoral candidates of other disciplines of Technische Universität Darmstadt will have to do examinations in their own research field. The lectures will be selected by the responsible professor.

Doctoral candidates have to pass all these examinations to be able to get their doctoral degree afterwards.

Report (Dissertation) and oral defence

The doctoral dissertation has to be written in English or German. After the acceptance by the supervisors, it has to be submitted to the Deanery of the Department of Civil Engineering and Geodesy (TU Darmstadt).

The application must contain

• Curriculum Vitae,
• Three exemplars of the report (two more should be forwarded directly to the supervisor and co-supervisor),
• Declaration regarding the report,
• Form with proposals for the supervisors,
• Receipt for the transfer of the fee, and
• Copies of the master certifications.

The Promotionsausschuss decides about the launching of the doctoral examination process, which ends with the oral defence. Therefore, the Examination Committee will be established. Doctoral candidates have to defend their dissertations by giving a presentation and passing an oral examination in Germany at TU Darmstadt.

Evaluation and Publishing

The written and oral performances of the doctoral candidates are evaluated, and graded on the standards of TU Darmstadt. A certificate is issued after the written report is published.

Participation in Scientific Events

While working on their doctoral theses, the doctoral candidates have to participate in workshops and conferences in order to publish their results, and to obtain comments on and evaluations of their research work. Depending on the opportunities to finance the travel costs and other related costs, this includes the following activities:

• Internal Doctoral Seminar: Doctoral candidates have to participate in all internal doctoral seminars of VGTRC.
• International Doctoral Seminar: Doctoral candidates have to participate once a year in the International Doctoral Seminar, which is organized by traffic and transport institutes of currently four universities (Technische Universität Darmstadt, Nagoya University (Japan), Tongji University (China) and University of Transport and Communication (Vietnam)), and is held in different countries.
• International Scientific Conference: Doctoral candidates have to participate in at least one Annual International Conference in Traffic and Transport, and should publish in a journal which is listed in the catalogue of the Institute of Science Information – ISI.
• German Universities Meeting: If possible, doctoral candidates can participate at least in one German Universities Meeting, which is held in Germany, Austria or Switzerland by the Chairs in the area of transport planning and traffic engineering once a year, during their time at VGTRC.

Further activities can be proposed by the doctoral candidates.

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