IMPRS-HD thesis committees


Idea and goal:

Each IMPRS student's research work and curriculum is supervised by his/her personal standing thesis committee consisting of three independent colleagues with scientific expertise in the field of the thesis.

The thesis committee provides supervision of the scientific development of the Ph.D. student in general by surveying the progress of the research work as well as the education of the student.

With the help of the thesis committee IMPRS hopes that potential problems will be detected early and, thus, could be averted before evolving into real problems.

The existence of a thesis committee for each student has been defined as indispensable condition by the Max Planck Society for all their IMPRS research schools.

Method of operation:

The thesis committee is expected to convene at least once a year to meet the student for discussion and review. An IMPRS-HD representative may take part in the meeting.

It is the responsibility of the main supervisor to organize at least the first thesis committee meeting and introduce the student to the committee possibly within the first two months after arrival. We require new students to fill out and sign the following form stating the names of their thesis committee members and their preliminary curriculum during their first TC meeeting.

The thesis committee meeting should be informal - it is up to the committee how to evaluate the progress of the thesis work. Traditionally, most of the thesis committees expect a brief presentation by the student at the meeting.

An informal report about the outcome of the committee meetings must be written for reference for the committee members and the student and a copy should be sent to IMPRS-HD (to the IMPRS office at MPIA or email imprs-hd@mpia.de). It is the responsibility of the thesis committee to write this report. All committee members and the student are encouraged to express their personal opinions in the report.

The thesis committee meeting is not intended as yet another examination of the student. Also, the close interrelation between student and supervisor should not be interfered unnecessarily.

The thesis committee defines the curriculum of the Ph.D. student by examining the educational background and status of the student and by considering the needs for the Ph.D. project. This is particularly important if the student has arrived already with some astronomy background or in case of a time conflict between the lectures and research work.

Assignment of the committee:

The principal thesis supervisor suggests another two independent scientists with expertise in the research topic as committee members - one of them must come from a different institute. Note that for registration of the student at the Faculty (now transferred to HGSFP, the Heidelberg Graduate School of Fundamental Physics) the three committee members have to sign the form.


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(Christian Fendt, scientific coordinator; July 2009, update 2016)