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Information for Supervisors

No matter whether you already are an active supervisor at our faculty or will soon start fresh supervising doctoral projects, we are here to support you.

These webpages provide important information for supervisors at the Medical Faculty. And of course, we are happy to welcome you for a nice chat in our office for personal consultation.

Frequently asked questions on doctoral supervision

The following academic degrees can be obtained at the Medical Faculty:

  • Dr. med. / Dr. med. dent. (State Examination in Human Medicine / Dentistry)
  • Dr. PH (Master in Public Health / Life Sciences)
  • PhD in Medical Sciences / Dr. rer. med. (Master in Natural / Life Sciences)

Doctoral research projects in Medicine can be started after passing the "Ärztliche Zwischenprüfung" (Interim medical licensing exam). In Dentistry, having completed the "Zahnärztliche Vorprüfung" (Interim dentistry licensing exam)

Admission into our doctoral studies programmes for Public Health and PhD in Medical Sciences is only possible with a qualifying master’s degree. In addition, the PhD Doctoral Regulations require a degree graded 2.0 or better (or ECTS B, or top 25% of class).

The current Doctoral Regulations at the Medical Faculty are the framework setting rules on all doctoral matters. The Doctoral Regulations have been approved by the Faculty Council of the Medical Faculty and have been published in the Official Bulletin of HHU.
There, you can find admission requirements, rules on the maximum time for the doctorate, requirements with respect to layout and content of the thesis, how to set up the examining board, and last but not least information on the how and who of the supervising team.

Before agreeing on supervising a doctoral research project, please re-read the current Doctoral Regulations, paying close attention to points regarding supervision. Your eligibility to act as an official supervisor is most likely been given, if you

  1. are an official member of HHU (appointed, habilitated or employed as Privatdozent/in or Professor)
  2. belong to the Group of university lecturers, i.e. professors and Privatdozent/innen
  3. are employed full-time at the Medical Faculty of HHU.

If the above points do not (all) apply to you, we will be happy to advise you on which role you can take on in the supervision.

Doctoral candidates at the Medical Faculty are supported by their thesis supervisor and at least one co-supervisor with a knowledge of the field. The work of the doctoral
researcher should be carried out in constant dialogue with this supervision group.

Together with the doctoral candidate, you sign a supervision agreement as the foundation of your supervisory relationship. The Graduate Centre Medicine provides a template for this purpose.
Important parts of the agreement are the topic of the project, materials and methods, a rough schedule and additional conditions for successful completion of the doctoral project. It is also recommended to note down additional agreements, time lines ect.

Please point your doctoral candidate towards mandatory enrolment with HHU, the maximum time for the doctorate, yearly progress reports and the requirements of completion of the curriculum. International doctoral researchers have to provide proof of equivalency of their university degree with a German degree.

If a change in supervision becomes necessary, please use the online form provided by the Graduate Center Medicine.
Approval of the change will be given by the Dean.

Online Form: https://www.graduiertenzentrum-medizin.hhu.de/betreuerwechsel

There are different phases of a doctorate at the Medical Faculty.

  1. Planning and Registration - The basic requirements should be discussed, i.e. admission requirements, supervising team, supervision agreement, project outline, ethical clearance or animal experiments, official registration of the doctoral project.
  2. The actual project phase - This is where research is carried out, data is collected and interpretated, workshops are attended, progress reports are submitted, the thesis is written and corrections are done, while closely watching the maximum time for a  doctorate.
  3. The submission of the thesis and the oral examination - The application for admission to doctoral examination proceedings is submitted, reports are written and put on display together with the thesis, the examining board is appointed and a date for the doctoral defence is set.
  4. The publication of thesis and the issuance of the doctoral certificate - If you agree on publishing the thesis, and after having it submitted to the university library, the doctoral certificate will be issued.
  5. The graduation ceremony - This takes place every year. You are cordially invited to attend!

Information on the respective phase can be found in our Guide on our webpages.

The dissertation should be of scientific merit and demonstrate the ability of the author to carry out independent research and present the research findings appropriately. (cf. § 8 Doctoral Regulations)

In order to succeed, doctoral candidates need your professional and personal support. Whether you are in the lead as thesis supervisor, your role is the co-supervision or you provide day-to-day supervision in lab, supervision requires above all time, interest and commitment.

You should therefore ask yourself whether you have the necessary time to spare before taking on supervision. Sufficient professional proximity to the doctoral topic is also helpful so that you can persevere through difficult phases and steer your doctoral candidates back into calm waters.

Try to find out in a personal meeting, if you and your candidate have similar ideas about the doctorate. Talk about expectations, goals and the requirements for successful completion of the project.

When the Dean asks you to write a report on a dissertation, you will also receive guidelines for reviewing a thesis. These are the so-called "Empfehlungen zur Begutachtung und Benotung von Dissertationen". They are meant to support you when writing a comprehensible assessment.

Please pay special attention to the following:

  • The dissertation should be assessed as it stands. 
  • According to Doctoral Regulations, there is a deadline of six weeks for completing the report.
  • The content, methodology and formalities, i.e. also the linguistic presentation, editorial care and also the observance of "good scientific practice" as well as correct scientific citation are assessed.

Please bear in mind that your evaluation of the dissertation serves as the basis for the acceptance or rejection of the doctoral thesis by the faculty.

Registration of the doctoral project:
The doctoral project should be registered with the faculty withing three months of the start o f the project.

Duration of doctorate:
Time starts ticking with registration of the project.
Dr.med. / Dr.med.dent. / Dr. PH: Acceptance of the doctoral project is initially valid for four years. The dissertation should be submitted within this period.
PhD in Medical Sciences: Acceptance of the doctoral project is initially valid for three years.

Extension of doctoral period:
The doctoral period can be extended. The application for an extension must be submitted at least three months before the offical deadline.

Progress reports:
Yearly progress reports have to be prepared and submitted by the registration deadline.

Writing dissertation reports:
The reviewers are given a deadline of 6 weeks to prepare the reviews.

Public display of the thesis:
The reports and the thesis can be inspected within a period of 10 working days. The deadline is communicated to the doctoral candidates, supervisors and reviewers by e-mail.

Objection period:
An objection period of two working days follows the display. Within this period, habilitated members of the faculty can lodge an objection to the acceptance of the doctoral thesis.

Date for defence:
The defence must take place within 6 months after acceptance of the dissertation by the faculty.

Publiation of the dissertation:
After passing the defence, the dissertation must be published within one year. The deadline can be extended upon request.

The Graduiate Center Medicine is there to offer advice on all issues related to doctoral supervision. Please schedule an appointment for personal consultation.

Please check our webpages for contact: About Us.

As is so often the case, there is unfortunately no one-size-fits-all solution. Here are a few tips to help you actively tackle the situation.

  1. Approach your doctoral candidate directly and describe your impression of the situation. We recommend a personal meeting, or alternatively an email. Try to describe what you have noticed. Make your expectations clear. Set reasonable deadlines for a binding response. Keep a record or file correspondence..
  2. The Graduate Centre Medicine is an official point of conatct for any general questions about supervision. We can advise you, contact the doctoral candidates if necessary and mediate between the positions, e.g. through discussions in a neutral atmosphere. 
  3. If you are considering terminating the supervision relationship, we can advise you on cancelling the supervision.
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