graduate school

One of the main aims of the Integrated Research Training Group (IRTG) is to provide structured guidance to its members.

  • Within the first 3 months of a student's project, a student's doctoral committee (DC) is formed according to certain guidelines and they jointly sign an Agreement of Supervision.
  • A student can also choose a student peer. This is a more senior PhD student who can help the new student during his or her first year in the project.
  • Students write a report or paper draft every term (semester) and upload it in the TR32 Database themselves. The exact due dates are laid down in their Agreement of Supervision.
  • Students are responsible for arranging a meeting with their DC to discuss their report and their progress each term. They should send their report or paper draft to their DC members at least 14 days before this meeting.
  • More information, guidelines and the feedback form for doctoral committee meetings can be found below.

Doctoral Committee (DC) composition

The guidelines for the formation of a Doctoral Committee are as follows:

  1. Each student's Doctoral Committee should consist of:
    1. The student's own professor (or "Privatdozent");
    2. a professor (or "Privatdozent") from another cluster or from outside TR32;
    3. a postdoc, preferably from the student's own working group or cluster.
  2. The composition of the DC needs to be approved by the TR32 directorate. Therefore, new members should discuss their DC with their advisors within the first few weeks of their project and send the proposed three names to the IRTG coordinator by email.
  3. After approval by the TR32 directorate, the student and the DC members will be notified.


Doctoral Committee meetings

This information based on the TR32 IRTG statutes; these items are compulsory for doctoral students and their doctoral committee (DC) members.

General information

Doctoral students and DC members meet once a term (semester).
Other people can be invited by any of the DC members to attend (part of) one or more meetings of student and doctoral committee. Decisions on whom to invite should be taken by mutual consent.

Before the meeting

The meeting is organized by the doctoral student.
The student makes his/her semi-annual report available to the DC members at least 14 days before the meeting.

During the meeting – fill out the feedback form

What is discussed during the meeting is in principle a matter between the student and the DC members. However, the TR32 directorate needs to have a general idea of the students’ progress. Further, to help plan IRTG resources and activities, the IRTG coordinator needs some information. Therefore, jointly fill out the feedback form. It is the advisor’s responsibility to return the feedback form to the IRTG coordinator.

To help structure the meeting, some guidelines are provided here.
The doctoral student should take notes during the meeting …

After the meeting

… and send minutes of the meeting to all committee members within two weeks. The doctoral committee should make clear to the student how detailed they expect these minutes to be and what kind of information should be included.

First-year evaluation

The doctoral committee meeting for a student’s first-year evaluation is a special meeting: the student presents his/her work to the entire TR32 community prior to the meeting.
Apart from that, the evaluation allows estimating the state of comprehension and the mathematical and computational skills of the student in relation to the thesis subject and his/her ability to communicate in writing and orally. The results will be evaluated by the doctoral committee and reported to the IRTG coordinator (through the same feedback form).
The goal of the first-year evaluation is to identify potential weaknesses of the student and to develop mitigation strategies early in the project. The evaluation can serve as a basis to assess if pursuing a PhD degree in the next two years is realistic.

For further information, please contact:


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Nadine Horst
(geb. Heinrichs)

IRTG Coordinator

University of Cologne
Institute for
Geophysics and Meteorology

D-50923 Cologne
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  +49 (0)221 470 1629
+49 (0)221 470 5161
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