The Doctoral Process

The model of doctoral training adopted by the Technical University of Munich combines the strengths of an individual doctorate with the benefits of a graduate school. The TUM doctoral process revolves around independent research and writing a dissertation. Certain elements that lend the doctoral process structure and the wide range of qualification offerings and services provided by the TUM Graduate School (TUM-GS) form an environment that provides doctoral candidates with optimum support during their research work and imparts key skills to qualify them for careers within and outside academia and the research sector.

Mandatory Elements for Doctoral Candidates

In addition to writing the dissertation, the doctoral process according to the TUM model includes the following mandatory elements, which must be completed after registration as a doctoral candidate:

  • Attending the TUM-GS Kick-off Seminar within the first six months
  • Participating in the subject-specific/subject-related qualification program offered by the Graduate Center in the scope of six weekly hours per semester during the entire period of doctoral study
  • Publication or discussion of the results within the scientific or academic community
  • Feedback talk regarding the doctoral study with the supervisor
  • Integration into the TUM academic environment
  • Annual confirmation in DocGS
  • Membership in TUM-GS for at least two years

Graduate Centers may set additional requirements for doctoral candidates.

The Role of the Supervisor

In addition to the actual academic or scientific supervision provided, the supervisor also performs a few administrative tasks.

Integration into the TUM academic environment

Pursuant to the doctoral study regulations, doctoral candidates who have received a scholarship, fellowship or grant or are employed externally are required to prove their integration into the TUM academic environment. The guidelines for this are set at the department level. The supervisor determines whether the doctoral candidate is successfully integrated.

Feedback session (after two years)

Doctoral candidates at TUM are obligated to meet with their supervisor for a feedback session after four semesters at the most. The supervisor evaluates the progress of the dissertation. The results are set down in a document and confirmed by both sides with their signatures.

For a detailed overview of this subject, please see the Good Supervision section.

Annual confirmation

Doctoral candidates are required to confirm once per year. The confirmation period starts every October. This helps to ensure that the only doctoral projects registered are those that are ongoing. In the course of this process, supervisors confirm via DocGS that the relevant doctoral candidates are still engaged in doctoral study.

The new Higher Education Statistics Act, which takes effect for doctoral studies in 2017, requires the collection of this data. The DocGS online platform makes it possible to collect the data required by law. DocGS is also an efficient interface for all those involved in the doctoral process at TUM: Doctoral candidates, chairs, departments, Graduate Centers, the Doctoral Office and the TUM-GS Management Office all have access to the areas that are relevant to them. The entire doctoral process can be visualized in DocGS, from registration as a doctoral candidate to submission of the dissertation.

The TUM Model

The TUM model of doctoral study not only has required elements, but also offers the possibility for doctoral candidates to participate in the transferable skills qualification program offered by the TUM Graduate School. In addition, TUM-GS supports international mobility among doctoral candidates.