Research project towards a PhD degree
The PhD thesis research project is at the core of the curriculum. The progress of the project is monitored by a Thesis Advisory Committee.
For each PhD student of the International Max Planck Research School on Solar System Science at the Universitiy of Göttingen, a Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) is set up at the beginning of the PhD project. The establishment of a Thesis Advisory Committee, along with mutual agreement of the TAC members and the student on an abstract and work plan for the PhD project, are prerequisites for admission and enrolment at the university.
The TAC usually consists of two or three scientists. One of its members has to be a faculty member at the university where the student is enroled. If the doctoral degree regulations of the university requires so, two members have to be professors or habilitated scientists. The daily supervisor is a member of the TAC. The student can propose a member of their choice.
The TAC approves the PhD project, reviews the progress of the PhD student and advises them on further studies and research. The TAC also approves a thesis as ready for submission. When it can be foreseen that a PhD project will not be successfully finished, the TAC can recommend to discontinue the project; this has to be confirmed by the IMPRS chairperson.
The TAC meets at least once per year with the student and documents these meetings by written minutes with an executive summary. These meetings shall preferentially take place in months 6-9, 15-18 and 30-33 after the beginning of a PhD project. On request of the student, one of the TAC members or the IMPRS chairperson, the TAC also meets in between.
TAC members also assume the role of mentors and advise students on a suitable choice of lectures, qualification courses, encourage and advise on publication of results in scientific journals and the communication of research findings at scientific conferences.
A member of the TAC usually also acts as one of the referees for the submitted thesis and becomes part of the doctoral committee for the defense. After successful submission and defense, the TAC member authorizes the publication of the thesis.