Qualification program for doctoral candidates

The qualification program offered by the TUM Graduate School has several components: the Kick-Off Seminar, subject-related courses offered by the Graduate Centers and the transferable skills qualification program.

Kick-Off Seminar

The Kcik-Off Seminar typically takes place at the TUM Science and Study Center Raitenhaslach and is required for doctoral candidates. During the initial phase of the doctoral process, it offers information on all aspects of academic work and the many options and services offered by the university. Doctoral candidates can also get to know colleagues from other disciplines, thereby laying the foundations of their own personal network at TUM. The Kick-Off Seminar must be attended in full, and for research or teaching associates, it is counted as time worked. TUM thus expects of all supervisors that they will enable academic staff to attend without requesting vacation or compensatory time.

Each Kick-Off Seminar opens with a keynote address by a prominent figure from the field of academia, science, research, business or society. Past keynote speakers have included Dr. Ludwig Kronthaler (Secretary General of the Max Planck Society), Prof. Winfried Petry (Scientific Director, FRM II) and mountain guide Hajo Netzer.

The first day also includes an introduction to TUM-GS and good scientific practice and, as a highlight, the evening’s Science Slam event. On each of the next two days, doctoral candidates attend a course on a transferable skill, which they can select when registering. All courses are taught by experienced instructors.

The three-day event is currently structured as follows:

Day 1:

  • Welcome and introduction of TUM-GS
  • Keynote presentation
  • Introduction of TUM service institutions
  • Introduction to good scientific practice
  • Interdisciplinary poster session

Days 2 and 3:

  • Participation in a two-day course on a transferable skill (examples: “Good Scientific Practice,” “Pathways to Research – Support Programs for Postdocs” and “Project Management”)

Doctoral candidates receive a certificate after successfully completing the course. Kick-Off Seminars undergo continuous further development and refinement based on detailed feedback from participants and instructors.

The TUM-GS video about a Kick-Off Seminar held on the island Fraueninsel in the Chiemsee lake in 2010 offers a good impression of what the meetings are like.

Subject-specific and subject-related qualification

The Graduate Centers offer doctoral candidates a wide range of options for subject-specific and subject-related further qualifications. This is an ideal way to supplement the candidates’ independent academic work and situate it in a wider context. The courses offered include internal seminars at specific institutes and cross-institute colloquia for doctoral candidates, seminars on statistics and software, summer/winter schools and workshops on various topics offered by external instructors. Some Graduate Centers also offer courses on good scientific practice and scientific paper writing that take the relevant practices in the scientific community into account.

With regard to the overall length of doctoral research, each doctoral candidate is required to take at least a total of six weekly hours per semester of subject-specific and subject-related courses. That amounts to about 63 hours over the full term of doctoral research. Doctoral candidates are free to decide how to schedule these courses.

For information about the subject-specific and subject-related course offerings, please visit the pages of the Department and Thematic Graduate Centers.

Good scientific practice

All scientific work should be founded on the principles of good scientific practice. At the TUM-GS Kick-Off Seminars, all doctoral candidates are introduced to the fundamental features and issues surrounding this topic.

In addition, TUM-GS and its Graduate Centers offer courses on various aspects of good scientific practice, which may be required depending on the department. The website section for doctoral candidates includes a detailed set of FAQs.

Transferable skills

To supplement the scientific and scholarly qualification received at the chairs and departments, TUM-GS offers a broad range of courses in transferable skills.

The portion accompanying doctoral research is organized into the following categories:

  • Personality & Self-Management
  • Communication & Methodological Competence
  • Leadership & Responsibility

The career qualification program is aimed at career paths in:

  • Science, academia and research
  • Industry and management
  • Startups and independent/freelance work

For courses by TUM-GS, doctoral candidates make a financial contribution, which covers seminar materials and catering. They are also free to attend courses offered by other internal TUM providers, such as WIMES, UnternehmerTUM and ProLehre.