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Phd Supervising

Supervisors and first year mentors are responsible to help their PhD students orient themselves and to develop them.

We expect supervisors and first year mentors to hold regular supervision meetings with PhD students. Frequency and form of these meetings should be determined jointly with the PhD students. Supervisors and mentors should be clear about their expectations and open for the PhD students’ needs. Individual requirements differ between PhD students. Some may need high level guidance while others need detailed feedback on a precise problem. For some PhD students, internal deadlines are helpful, while this may stress out others. Likewise, the required amount and type of supervision and guidance can also change over time for the same individual. Thus, supervision should be re-evaluated on a regular basis, jointly with the PhD students, and adapted if necessary.

Supervisors and mentors should try to be as consistent as possible in their advices and think about the implications of their advice, i.e., the resulting workload for the PhD students and what PhD students infer about their own ability/job market prospects. PhD students may need advice outside the expertise of their supervisors or mentors. In these cases, supervisors and mentors should try to connect them to someone else who is an expert in that area.

Supervisors and mentors are expected to be approachable for their PhD students for all questions and problems that may affect their PhD. This can include work related as well as private or personal factors. In case of (known) individual circumstances that may affect the PhD student’s life and work, supervisors and mentors should offer the PhD student to talk about their situation and find the best solution for the individual situation. Relevant factors in a PhD student’s life include, but are not limited to, the workplace environment both in the office and at home, potential language barriers for non-German speakers, parenthood, health status or private burdens such as the loss of friends or relatives.

Supervisors and mentors are expected to reach out to their PhD students. Many PhD students report compromised mental health after beginning their PhD which negatively affects their personal as well as their work situation. Supervisors and mentors are important contact persons for PhD students, so they should watch out for potential warning signs of mental health issues. According to the American Psychiatric Association(, these may include, but are not limited to, problems with concentration or logical thought, loss of interest and/or initiative, drop in functioning at work, mood changes, nervousness or social withdrawal.

It is important to account for fair task sharing between PhD students within a research group or a chair. Feedback from the PhD students about their perceived workload and task sharing can help to achieve this. Also, PhD students should not spend significant amounts of their time with tasks that are not related to their research, teaching or other tasks specified in their contracts. This may include tasks such as administrative duties or general service to the chair.

The contact persons for PhD students are the PhD representatives:
     Leonie Bielefeld,, +49 89 2180 5433
     Christoph Schwaiger,, +49 89 2180 3907

The contact person for MGSE related issues is the director of the MGSE:
     Carsten Eckel,, +49 89 2180 5824

Please contact them in case of violations of the above principles or doubts about whether they are being followed.

Resources on PhD Supervising:

Boustan, Leah, and Andrew Langan. "Variation in Women's Success across PhD Programs in Economics." Journal of Economic Perspectives 33, no. 1 (2019): 23-42.

Mansour, Hani, Daniel I. Rees, Bryson M. Rintala, and Nathan N. Wozny. The effects of professor gender on the post-graduation outcomes of female students. No. w26822. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2020.

Resources on Family in Academia

Mason, Mary Ann, Angelica Stacy, Marc Goulden, Carol Hoffman, and Karie Frasch. "University of California faculty family friendly edge: An initiative for tenure-track faculty at the University of California." Berkeley: University of California Berkeley (2005).