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Checklist for Students

In the past, rare cases have arisen of students who have encoutered general problems with accomplishing their PhD project. These problems can arise even with experienced supervisors. In an effort to minimize this your are encouraged to ask questions during your interview and talk to other students of the same supervisor. Some things you may consider asking are listed here, although this is not an exhaustive list.

  • Is your PhD project clearly defined?
  • Do you have experience with the necessary tools to achive the goals of your project and are they available for use at the MPIA? e.g.
    • programming language
    • data analysis software
    • expertise on instrumentation
  • Do you need to learn these tools from scratch? Is the learning process included in your project -- time and supervision-wise?
  • Ask at the interview whether there are data to start your project off with?
  • Is there a back-up project in case of technical mishaps,
    • e.g. unavailibility of additional data
  • Does your supervisor have a contract long enough to supervise you -- three years or more?
    • Is there a back-up plan in the event that your supervisior leaves Heidelberg?
  • Who are your supervisor's collaborators? Will they participate in your supervision?
    • Do you have the feeling that they are willing to devote time to your supervision?
  • Is/Are your supervisor/s willing to meet regularly, or have an open door policy, or whatever is sufficient for your needs? Do the people you need to ask questions regularly have reasonable office hours?
  • Do you feel comfortable (opposed to intimidated) speaking with your supervisor?
  • How many other students has he/she supervised? Did any of them quit or have to leave before finishing their PhDs?
    • If so, for what reasons and is your project different in these aspects?
  • What duties are expected of you, other than your research? Have these been included in the PhD time plan?
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Page last modified on November 10, 2010, at 11:36 PM