The relationship between a doctoral researcher and their supervisor is an important one. It is unlike any usual employer-employee relationships and requires a lot of great communication and support from both sides. We recommend that any Phase I students who is planning to transfer into Phase II soon or any student who is interested in applying for Phase II of the BMS PhD program to read the following information and recommendations carefully before choosing a faculty member as their doctoral supervisor.

Finding the right supervisor for your doctoral dissertation is not just a question of an academic fit. One should also take great care of finding the right person that will match your working style and communicate well to tackle any issues that might arise in this important academic relationship. You can find a list of questions for a first meeting with a (potential) supervisor here.
It is also recommended that you speak to current or former PhD students of your desired supervisor to hear first-hand experiences of their supervision style.

The BMS has created the supervision agreement to be signed by any Phase II student and their supervisor at the start of the doctoral research. It is meant as a starting point for the student and faculty member to discuss their expectations and agree on a work plan and mutual obligations for their academic relationship. It can be used as the basis for the first meeting and individual agreements may be added where the student and supervisor see fit.

For many students cultural differences may also play a role in their relationship with their supervisor. It is therefore important that any expectations about frequency of meetings, level of independency and other obligations are clearly communicated in advance and a mediator, e.g. the mentor, is used in cases of conflict.

Doctoral students are also expected to thoroughly study the Doctoral Regulations set by the university at which they plan to submit their dissertation. This should be done right at the start of the doctoral research even if one is not enrolling as a PhD student right away to avoid any bad surprises later on. The three Berlin universities have different requirements regarding the duration of the PhD, the formalities of the dissertation and the doctoral defense.

Some tips on what to look out for when choosing the right supervisor and general well-being in academia, can be found here: