Organizing your PhD

Starting with your dissertation entails many challenges besides working on your project: structuring your time efficiently, learning how to write scientifically, how to present, networking … to name only a few. Well, others have been there before, and luckily some share their experiences. This page list some of those valuable sources.

1. Stay tuned

1. sign up for the following mailing lists:

2. register for Discourse

3. discuss and agree ways of communication with your advisor and peer (email, discourse, what’s app, ...)

2) organize your PAC (meeting)

Find detailed information here.

This sheet is meant to clarify expectations of supervisors and PhD researcher at the beginning of a PhD project. It is also meant as a conversation starter. Not every point is relevant at the start of your PhD, but certainly worth thinking/discussing about at some point during your PhD. Read further instructions at the sheet.

Don't hesitate to ask your colleagues, IMPRS coordinator and PAC about advice.

3) enrolment

If your first supervisor is based at the FSU Jena, you can continue with the enrolment procedure right away, even before setting up a PhD advisory committee. The Graduate Academy provides detailed information on the enrollment. Please see the instructions here.

In case your first supervisor is based at the MPI for Biogeochemistry, you will discuss with him/her to set up a PhD advisory committee and to find a suitable university supervisor.

4) hints from your peers

First year

  • Organize your first PAC meeting within the first 5 months.
  • If you are uncertain about your first PAC meeting and how a PAC report should look, feel free to contact fellow PhDs who already had a PAC meeting - many are happy to share their experience.
  • Check the university requirements for submitting your PhD thesis once you have enrolled (or if you have different options, even before enrollment - e.g. how many manuscripts submitted/published do you need? This varies between universities and even faculties).
  • If you have more than one supervisor, discuss a way to make decisions in cases where people have different interests - is there one main supervisor who has the last word? Regular meetings with everyone? How do you decide the way ahead or find compromises?

Second year

  • Organize further PAC meetings to get regular and fruitful feedback on your project.
  • Check how many credit points you still need to collect and look for interesting courses, summer schools etc., both inside and outside the IMPRS curriculum. The IMPRS is collecting a list of additional opportunities here. Many courses, conferences and especially summer schools have application deadlines long before they take place - so this year might be the last good chance to apply.
  • If you haven’t done so yet, start thinking about your research stay abroad and discuss this at your PAC meeting - which lab, which scientist(s), and where? Your PAC members can also help identify good options and use their network to get you in touch with potential collaborators.

Final phase

  • Before renewing your visa / residence permit, check in with John / the IMPRS office for advice.
  • Latest now, think about whether your thesis should be written as monograph or cumulative thesis and check which rules apply at your university for either format.
  • Check the time frame for submission at your university. There are deadlines for faculty meetings, and forms and processing can take weeks or months.
  • Check deadlines, possible submission fees, printing requirements etc. at your university.
  • Talk to your supervisor about a possible extension, if needed, more than 3 months before your contract is set to finish.
  • …finish…
  • Take a look this discourse thread to get even more detailed information.

5) additional advice

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