Supervision and Milestones on the Way to your PhD in the BIGSSS Regular Program

BIGSSS' Supervisory Concept

As part of its supervision strategy, BIGSSS PhD programs employ an intensive supervision by a dissertation committee:

  • These committees consists of at least three and at most five faculty mem­bers—professors and postdocs—who act as PhD advisors. All members of the dissertation committee take an active role in the supervision.
  • Dissertation committees consist of at least two internal members and an external member.
  • Fellows are encouraged to include faculty from various disciplines in their dissertation committee.


PhD Milestones

As part of BIGSSS educational concept, fellows complete several milestones over the course of the PhD program:

  • In their first program year, fellows intensively work on the research design of their projects in the proposal workshop and defend their finalized dissertation proposal publicly.
  • Also in the first program year and in consultation with the Academic Coordinator and the Director of Studies, fellows determine the members of their dissertation committee.
  • In an annual Progress Assessment Colloquium (PAC), supervisors discuss with the PhD fellow the project's progress over the past year, potential questions and demands related to the project as well as recommendations for the next steps.
  • About six months prior to graduation, PhD fellows meet with their dissertation committee in a Dissertation Completion Meeting (DCM) to set up a detailed work and time plan for the completion of the thesis, develop a plan for publishing the dissertation, discuss career and employment plans after graduation, and identify potential funding sources for any additional months the fellow may need to complete the dissertation.

A condensed overview over the mandatory milestones in BIGSSS' regular PhD programs can be found in the grey box on the left (desktop version) or bottom (mobile version) of this page.


BIGSSS' Director of Studies and Academic Coordinators

At BIGSSS, academic progress is not only continually supervised by the respective dissertation committee, but also by the Director of Studies who supports you in your choice of committee members and the composition of your demand-tailored curriculum.

Furthermore, your respective Academic Coordinator advises you when planning fieldwork stays, conference participations and accessing research facililities such as software or databases.