A good relationship between the student and his supervisor is vital for a successful doctorate. The work must rely on a solid base of trust and mutual exchange. In order to avoid misunderstandings, it is highly recommended to clarify all questions in a first supervision meeting, and to set agreements and expectations formally in a protocol.
The content of this protocol should include:
- The participants of the meeting
- Date and time
- Documents handed to the doctoral candidate, such as:
No special form for the protocol is required, and the document does not need to be signed. We recommend you to discuss in detail the following points:
List of questions for a supervision meeting at the beginning of a doctoral project
1. Supervision committee:
- Is there more than one supervisor?
- Are there other scientists to contact (Postdocs, PIs, Lab manager)?
- Corresponding faculty for thesis submission
- Information on the Promotionsordnung - regulations for the doctorate
- Are there additional regulations at the respective faculty?
- Topic and main focus of the thesis, working title
- Cumulative thesis or monograph?
- Obligation to write a synopsis in advance?
- Is there a probation time?
- Expected time frame?
- Are there special circumstances that might lead to delays?
4. Frequent meetings
- How is the frame for scientific exchange between supervisor and candidate?
- Who else should be contacted frequently, or concerning special questions?
- How many people are working in the department, are there rules concerning meetings, presentations, colloquia?
5. Working conditions
- Is there office and / or lab space available?
- Are there financial means for equipment, material, student research assistants?
6. Financing the doctorate
- Which options are available?
- How long will funding be available, what is the time frame?
7. Structured doctoral programme, compulsory study programme
- Is the doctoral student member of a structured doctoral programme?
- If yes: are there additional duties or additional options?
- Which lectures or seminars must be visited?
- Does the doctoral student know the DFG memorandum and the rules at OVGU, e.g. concerning plagiarism?
9. Supporting offices at OVGU
- OVG Graduate Academy for general consultations and advice; conflict mediation
- Familiy office for doctoral students with children / relatives in need of care
- Gender equality officer / Network women-in-science for female scientists
- Student counselling for psychological and social problems
Please, find here also some more remarks on legal aspects of supervision meetings (in German).