Thesis committees advise each student and monitor progress throughout the doctoral studies. Each thesis committee consists of the primary advisor and at least two additional members. All members work independent of each other (i.e. not from the same department or research group) and have expertise in scientific topics related to your thesis. At least two members of your thesis committee must hold the position of a full faculty member in the GGNB program to which you are admitted. One can be an associate member (e.g. junior scientist who does not (yet) fulfil the GAUSS criteria for full faculty membership). The appointment of one external member is possible but requires prior approval by the program committee.

As doctoral thesis committees serve as a central element of quality assurance in all GGNB programs, great care is taken to ensure that thesis committee members have expertise in the topic of the thesis project. The primary advisor is usually the leader of the research group in which the thesis is carried out.

The members of the thesis committee are proposed by the doctoral students, based on discussions with the primary advisor and with members of the program committee. Thesis committee members require approval by the program committee of the respective doctoral program.

Doctoral thesis committees have two main functions (i) to provide critical feedback to the research progress and data interpretation, and (ii) to resolve conflicts if the doctoral candidate and the primary advisor disagree on essential aspects of the project or its supervision.

Progress Reports and Thesis Committee Meetings

Before each meeting, the doctoral students prepare progress reports and forward them to the members of the thesis committee. In the meetings, the doctoral students present their work and discuss their progress and further plans with their thesis committee.

While meetings can be scheduled at any time, the following meetings are mandatory:

- 1st Meeting (month 6): First evaluation of the progress. Re-evaluation of the topic and the experimental approach. Advice on individualized training schedule if required.

- 2nd Meeting (month 18): Evaluation of the progress with regard to the potential for publication.

- 3rd Meeting (month 30): Evaluation of the progress with regard to project completion and the submission of the thesis. Here, a timeline for the remaining experiments needs to be agreed upon between the student, the supervisor, and the other committee members.

- 4th and 5th Meeting: Mandatory in the case of an application for extension of the thesis – two-month advance notice required.