Structured PhD program in the Department of Biology

Each PhD candidate of the Faculty of Biology (including externally supervised students) is eligible to participate in the structured PhD program upon agreement with the respective supervisor. The central aim of this program is an improved mentoring of PhD students through the establishment of a thesis advisory committee (TAC), the promotion of soft skills, and the encouragement for active conference participation as well as scientific interactions among PhD students. Upon graduation, students will receive a certificate issued by the Dean of the Faculty documenting the successful participation in the program and the acquired additional qualifications.

1. Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC)

  • Within the first 6 months after starting the PhD work, each PhD student selects a thesis advisory committee (TAC) consisting of the thesis supervisor and one or two additional scientists holding a doctoral degree from different groups. One of these additional members of the TAC will usually become the second examiner of the thesis.
  • The student will submit an annual report on the state of the thesis that will be discussed with the TAC. The mode of reporting can be individually arranged with the TAC. Upon submission of the report, the PhD student will meet with the TAC and present the report in a 20 min oral presentation. In addition to the progress of the thesis, the presentation should also include plans for future work. Following the presentation and discussion, the PhD student will have the opportunity for discussionwith the TAC in the absence of the supervisor.
  • The TAC can reject reports if they are not properly written.
  • Within two weeks after the TAC meeting, the PhD student will write up a summary ofthe TAC meeting including critics and suggestions. After consultation with the supervisor, the report will be provided to all TAC members.

2. Softskill/Training classes

  • Participation in soft skill classes is highly recommended. The selection will be done inagreement with the supervisor. Possible soft skill classes are language classes, scientific writing workshops, or classes for conflict management, leadership, business or patent law. Several suitable classes are offered by the “TU‐Nachwuchsring.
  • 3. Teaching
     The PhD students are encouraged to participate in teaching. Teaching activities include
    assistance in practical courses, supervision of Bachelor‐ and Masterstudents or of
    4. Seminars/Retreat
     PhD students are encouraged to attend the “Biologisches Kolloquium” and to invite
    guest speaker.
     PhD students regularly present their work in seminars of their research group.
     PhD students participating in the structured program will organize a retreat exclusively
    attended by PhD students enrolled in the structured program (~ every 18 months).
    Costs will be covered by the groups involved.
    5. Attendance of an (inter)national conference
     PhD students are encouraged to attend an (inter)national research conference.
    6. Visit of other labs
     PhD students are encouraged to visit other labs in order to establish new cooperations.
    7. Organisation
     PhD students enrolled in the structured program will elect a speaker and a vicespeaker
    in a biennial cycle. The speaker and vice‐speaker have to be from different
    groups. They serve as representatives and are responsible for the organization of the
     All involved supervisors will elect a chairperson for a three‐year term. This person will
    represent the structured program and will serve as contact person.
     PhD students will set up and maintain a homepage of the structured program.