Thesis Supervision

The thesis supervision may vary in detail from one REMEP location to another. However, the standard form of supervision is the following: all doctoral students conduct their research under the supervision of two professors at one of the REMEP partner institutions. It is also possible for one of the supervisors to be an outside expert affiliated with another institution, e.g., the home university of the doctoral student.

In general, each doctoral student has a day-to-day supervisor, who is usually a senior researcher at the respective partner institution and who provides guidance to the doctoral student on a regular and informal basis. The doctoral student and the first supervisor jointly agree on who should be the second supervisor and the day-to-day supervisor.

The two supervisors and the day-to-day supervisor constitute the so-called Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC), which takes all relevant decisions such as the approval or rejection of the proposal defence, which usually takes place after the drafting of the research design, i.e., six to eight months after acceptance into the Research School. The TAC is also responsible, where applicable, for the approval of fieldwork plans. The doctoral student shall meet at least every half year with all members of his or her TAC in order to report on and seek guidance and feedback regarding the research of the previous six-month period and the research planned for the upcoming half year. A written progress report to the TAC is due every year.

The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science does not confer doctoral degrees and titles. Therefore, all REMEP students are doctoral candidates at the partner universities or, in the case of some of the foreign doctoral students, at their home universities. According to the pertinent rules of the partner universities on the conferral of doctoral degrees and titles (‘Prüfungs- und Promotionsordnung’), both the first and (usually) the second supervisor grade the written thesis and examine the student during the oral examinations.

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