Research projects have to be planned so that completion within three years is possible. Supervisors have undertaken to monitor the progress of their doctoral candidates regularly and to document it in writing.
Once every six months (31 January and 31 July) doctoral candidates and supervisors meet and discuss the progress of the candidate’s thesis on the basis of the thesis outline, workplan and schedule, intermediary reports and single chapters of the thesis (alternatively: research results prepared for publication).
The candidate will take minutes and record what was agreed on during the meeting. The minutes will be signed by the supervisors and archived by the management of the School.
The progress reports will have to have been discussed with and signed by all supervisors!
Once a year, as part of the graduate school's progress reviews, all doctoral candidates publicly present the current state of their research projects before the M&B faculty. Candidates present their research in posters and answer questions by the attending faculty and other members of the graduate school.
After 18–20 months, all doctoral candidates meet confidentially with an independent interim report committee consisting of one of the academic directors and selected postdoctoral and/or faculty members of the graduate school who are not directly involved in the candidate's dissertation project.
For this purpose, the school asks candidates to submit a detailed “interim report” (five pages) explaining what they have achieved so far and what they are planning to do for the remainder of their doctoral studies. They should attach a work plan and schedule which shows their time planning until the end of the dissertation period. Additionally, they should hand in a significant part of their dissertation which can take the form of:
- a chapter of their dissertation (approximately 20 pages), or
- a submitted paper/manuscript, or
- the draft for a paper describing the scientific background of their experiments, containing an introduction, methods, results, and discussion.
The interim report will have to have been discussed with and signed by all supervisors!
Should doctoral candidates be unable to hand in a chapter or a submitted paper or a draft for a paper, they will have to explain why not in their five-page interim report; this will also be taken up by the academic directors during the meeting.