The thesis committee

The graduate committee appoints the thesis committee supervising the doctoral student's project once s/he has been admitted to a Ph.D. programme or course of study. The appointments should be completed no later than three months after admission.
The thesis committee provides support and assistance to the doctoral candidate. The said candidate must provide the thesis committee with a comprehensive, regular report, at least once a year, on the progress in the doctoral project and must also report on examination prerequisites completed to date. Information on form and content of the report are summarized in our guideline.

The thesis committee consists of the following members:

  • the first academic advisor who has to be an authorised examiner,
  • a second member who is an authorised examiner,
  • a third member who has to at least hold a doctoral degree.


However, the thesis committee may also consist of more than three members. The professors on the thesis committee who are authorised examiners should not be in a dependent relationship.

The doctoral student nominates the members they wish to include on their thesis committee. Before filing the names of prospective thesis committee members with the GFA, students should discuss their nominations with the respective professors. The student also submits a short statement describing the area of research of the members proposed and stating the university they are affiliated with (form). The more the areas of research of the prospective thesis committee members and the focus of the Ph.D. project diverge, the more detailed the description should be. The GFA graduate committee has to approve the proposed thesis committee and appoints its members.

Please note:
At the end of your doctoral studies, the authorised examiners of the thesis committee will also be in your examination board. They can act as evaluators.
To avoid retardation when applying for the admission to the doctoral examination (e.g. if additional requests are required), you can already nominate your Thesis Committee accordingly to the requirements for the evaluators and the examination board.
Special requirements apply both to you and your first academic advisor if you are studying towards the degrees of Dr. rer. nat. or Dr. rer. pol. (§ 6 section 5 of the GFA doctoral degree regulations). Please already bear in mind when nominating your academic advisors at the beginning of your studies that 50% of the members on your eventual examination board have to be authorised examiners for these degrees!

Further information on the rights and duties of the members of the thesis committee and the doctoral student can be found in the GFA doctoral degree regulations under § 8.