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Supervision of Doctoral Candidates

Photo: Katrin Bemmann

An important prerequisite for the successful completion of the doctoral degree is a trusting relationship between the doctoral researcher and his/her supervisor. An open, fair, and transparent exchange between all involved in the doctoral process creates a positive foundation from the outset of the doctorate. Social and cultural backgrounds should also be taken into account, in order to ensure, among other things, the compatibility of family and doctoral education/career.

For programme classes at the Research Academy Leipzig, a supervision agreement between the doctoral researcher, supervisor, and mentor is required. The supervision agreement establishes the basic conditions for completing the doctorate and should be based on the supervision agreement template provided for all doctorates at Leipzig University.

The supervisor, along with a mentor, is responsible for advising the doctoral researcher on the doctoral project, including work plan and timetable for completion.

Under the terms of the supervision agreement, all involved parties have different rights and responsibilities:



The supervisor is responsible for providing the doctoral researcher with supervision until the completion of the doctoral degree, irrespective of the duration of funding. He/she supervises the teaching activities of the doctoral researcher and discusses career prospects. If needed, he/she also assists the doctoral researcher in reconciling the demands of family and a career in the sciences.

On an annual basis, the supervisor writes a statement on the doctoral researcher’s report concerning progress on the thesis. The doctoral researcher’s report and the supervisor’s statement form the basis for a conversation between supervisor, doctoral researcher and mentor. A short report on this conversation, signed by all parties, is required. This collective review may lead to an adjustment in the work schedule and timetable for completion of the doctoral project.

Together with the doctoral researcher, the supervisor is responsible for developing a timetable and work schedule for the doctoral project. As part of this plan, the supervisor should regularly be informed in detail about the status of work on the dissertation project.

Doctoral Researchers

Doctoral Researchers

The doctoral researcher, together with his/her supervisor is responsible for developing a work schedule and timetable for the dissertation project. The focal point of doctoral work is the doctoral researcher’s independent, scientific performance.

The doctoral researcher is responsible for providing the supervisor and the mentor with regular and accurate reports on the status of work. As part of the supervision agreement, a specific schedule for reporting should be established.

In accordance with the regulations governing the classes, each doctoral researcher must take part in the qualification programme of his/her programme class.



The mentor meets at least once a year with the doctoral researcher and is available upon request for additional discussions about the doctoral project. The mentor keeps an eye on quality of supervision as well as the doctoral researcher’ field of research and assists in solving any problems with the supervisor.