The doctoral regulations of the Graduate Training Centre of Neuroscience stipulate in § 3 that all students are guided by an Advisory Board (also termed ‘Doctorate Committee’). The Advisory Board (AB) is not only ‘monitoring’ the project’s progress but also ‘mentoring’ the student during her/his doctoral period and will in the end be part of the examination committee in the thesis defense. Importantly, doctoral students are required to provide their AB annually with an oral progress report.
The AB consists of three persons. Next to the thesis supervisor, two other persons willing to become members of your AB have to be proposed to the doctoral committee (form: Proposal of an Advisory Board). As a rule, they are recruited from the circle of professors, junior professors, ‘Privatdozenten’ or junior research group leaders (MPI, CIN, DZNE, BCCN). Furthermore, one of the AB members should have the same scientific background as the applicant and at least one
AB member must be a natural scientist (i.e., hold a Dr. rer. nat.-degree). After the doctoral committee has approved the members of your AB, you will have to take an interview. A successful interview is a precondition for becoming admitted to the doctoral program.
In the beginning, the AB has the most crucial task to check the competency and qualification of the candidate for the sought doctoral project. The AB decides on the scope and content of the doctoral studies and possibly additional work to be provided (‘Eignungsfeststellungsverfahren’), discuss the doctoral concept and comment on the progress reports. In order to do so best, the AB members should ideally come from different departments, be independent of each other, have diverse scientific and methodological backgrounds and, thus, in a way complement each other. Finally, two of the AB members will be asked to review and grade the doctoral thesis and the three AB members, together with a fourth scientist, will form the examination board for the thesis defense.