GSHS checklist for regular supervisory meetings

  • When did the last meeting take place? Were the matters agreed on at that meeting put into practice by both sides? Might it be helpful to amend or adjust anything?
  • Has the doctoral student encountered any difficulties in meeting the agreed objectives? What sorts of strategies or methods might be adopted to help resolve these difficulties?
  • What point has the doctoral student reached with regard to their project plan and timeframe? In the case of cumulative doctorates, are planned publications progressing?
  • Are there any ethical and/or legal issues that need to be considered with regard to publication of material used, or about good research practice in general? (This is particularly important where already published text passages, or passages used in other theses/dissertations, are to appear in the doctoral theses (cf. the subject specific provisions in the relevant doctoral degree regulations).
  • Are any workshops/conferences/publications/stays abroad or other projects planned for the near future? What sort of preparation will be required for this, and has the necessary funding been secured?
  • Current situation with regard to funding:
    • Deadlines for applying for doctoral funding (position/scholarship) or a necessary extension.
    • Is the current available funding sufficient to ensure completion of the thesis? If this is not the case, what alternative funding sources might be considered?
    • What other research expenses will arise and where are the funding options?
    • Are there any special opportunities for advice, for gaining further qualifications or funding that may be available but for which certain conditions must be fulfilled? (e.g. enrolment as a doctoral student)? (Please note: the GSHS advises enrolment for all doctoral students).
    • Where the doctoral student holds a position at the university, are both parties satisfied that the official duties will not interfere with work on the thesis? Might conflicts arise between objectives and capacities?
      Where the doctoral student holds a research assistant post, the annual employee review can be a useful addition to meetings with the supervisor and the supervision agreement ( (in German)).


  • If a second supervisor/supervision in a team has been agreed on, how does collaboration work with regard to the respective supervisors?
  • Is the supervision agreement still satisfactory or are any modifications required?
  • When should the next meeting take place; what objectives should be achieved by then?
  • When is feedback on the submitted texts (e.g. for publication / conference participation) expected from the supervisor?

Especially recommended for advanced doctoral students (in, or close to, the last year of doctoral studies):

  • What are the important dates and deadlines that need to be met for a successful conclusion to a doctorate, including the defence?
  • What type of career opportunities are open after completion of the doctorate? What steps can be taken now to prepare for career advancement after the doctorate? What are the viable alternatives if the favoured career goal is not immediately attainable?
  • If not yet decided, who might be considered as a second assessor/rapporteur for the evaluation of the doctoral degree performance?
  • If a thesis is to be published as a monograph, how should this be done? Are there funding options available?