Supervisory Relationship

Cooperation between doctoral candidates and professors in a spirit of trust, confidence and mutual respect is the foundation of doctoral studies at TUM. But what constitutes good supervision? In addition to the differences between departments and specific disciplinary cultures, supervisors and doctoral candidates themselves often have different ideas and expectations. There is also an increasing development toward international standards in doctoral supervision, which TUM uses for guidance.

What is expected of doctoral candidates

Doctoral candidates at TUM are expected to demonstrate high levels of independence and initiative. Doctoral candidates are viewed as junior researchers and are expected to deal responsibly with academic freedoms. With this in mind, TUM has deliberately chosen a doctoral study model in which individual doctoral study is not replaced by coursework-based programs, but rather supplemented by a sound and reasonable array of measures to lend structure.

Good supervision

Supervisors play the crucial role in this model, from hiring the doctoral candidate to grading the dissertation. They introduce doctoral candidates to the academic and scientific community, provide motivation through their own personal examples and act as models of good scientific practice.

Many doctoral candidates would like to have the freedom to form their own networks, amass international experience and seize opportunities for transferable training to develop their skills and personalities. They also expect their supervisor to be available and to provide regular feedback on the progress of their dissertation.

The right-hand side of the screen shows a position paper by the TUM Graduate Council in which doctoral candidates articulate their expectations for supervisors.

Support from TUM

The TUM Graduate School provides institutional support for good supervision by setting rules on entering into a supervision agreement as well as mentoring and a mandatory feedback session. Options offered by TUM for personnel development, such as the TUM Tenure Track Academy, the Leadership Academy and TUM-GS Supervisor Training support professors in their role as supervisors.