PHD How To

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This website will contain useful information about the PhD Process. Created and edited by: Tatiana, contributed by: Arjan



[edit] Creating the PhD thesis

This takes a lot of time and effort. When writing you may use this template for the PhD Thesis Link to Hyperwave file.

If you write the thesis in English (preferred) you will also need to write a 6-10 pages summary in German. This summary as well as the whole thesis need to be approved by your supervisor. There is a specific form to be filled in by your supervisor.

[edit] Handing in the thesis

Now you are nearly there, the thesis is written and your supervisor says: "GO". Now you need to fight with the TUD bureaucracy. This may take several months (at least 2-3) till you can do your defense.

What you need:

  • a supervisor: this you already have :)
  • a second advisor - discuss with your supervisor who to ask. Then ask him/her to act as a second supervisor. Ask so many Professors till somebody says "Yes" :): You have a role in suggesting some names (typically [external] experts, e.g. clearly visible in your reference list. The 1st and 2nd. supervisor should be a prof (full, jun. or honorar) or a "habilitierte" at FB20. In some cases - e.g. when a "honorar Prof." or a "habilitierte" is involved as 1st supervisor, a 3rd supervisor may be needed. An external (international) 2nd advisor is preferred.
  • the commitee members - consisting of 5 professors from TUD, the majority needs to be from Computer Science Faculty. The committee usually consists of your supervisor, the second advisor, the committee chair, 2 other professors from the university. The members have to be prof (full or junior) at TUD. They will be proposed by your supervisor and contacted by Carola. Carola will let you know when the committee is complete.
  • the date of the PhD talk (depends on the committee's availability)
  • fill in the forms for the PhD submission and get them signed by your supervisor (the forms are in Carola's office)
  • print out the thesis 2 times and hand in to Carola (the printouts should include the date of the talk). You need to know the full committee and the date before you hand in your thesis and this has to be at least 6 weeks before the talk date.

Afterwards, you need to print out the thesis at least 5 times (better 6 = 5+1 for you). Then you contact all members of the committee and ask them when you can bring them the thesis. They will usually want to talk to you shortly asking what is the thesis about, what is your contribution, how it relates to their work etc.

[edit] Preparing the talk

Use the GRIS Template Powerpoint or Latex.

The supervisors have to hand in their evaluation report 2 weeks before the defense. Talk to your supervisor for hints about the defense.

The talk should include

  • Motivation - why should we bother about it
  • Problem - why it is so difficult
  • Related work - what the others do bad
  • Your approach and contribution - what you did and what is so great about it
  • Application - what it is good for
  • Conclusions and future challenges
  • List of your publications

The talk lasts 30 minutes.

Then there are questions - lasts about 60 minutes. Every member of the committee will ask at least one question. Prepare for it.

Do not forget to send the invitation a couple of days before the talk per e-mail to

[edit] Preparing the celebration

Four weeks before the celebration:

The celebration is usually downstairs in 071/072. Do not forget to ask Carola to book the room, if not done so, and inform the canteen about the celebration.

Invite the people you would like to have there and the committee members in advance. If there are persons from outside IGD/GRIS, they may need a parking place. You can book a guest park place by contacting Manuela Welker - write an e-mail to

You will need food and drinks for the celebration. In case you do not want you and your family to cook days and nights, the catering possibilities are:

  • You and your family cook days and nights :)
  • Service from the canteen: Eiseles Creative Catering Link to Eiseles Creative Catering
  • Other local catering services:
    • Metzgerei-Partyservice-Marienhof (very good food, drinks and service for reasonable prices Link to Metzgerei Marienhof
    • other possiblities ... they can be googled :)

Couple of days of the celebration You should print out and hang out an invitation to the to the PhD talk and the celebration a couple of days before the thesis talk.

Please remember also the decoration

  • table cloths - e.g. paper cloths from Duni, they have big rolls for ca 6 EUR
  • napkins: when they are not delivered from the party-service company, they need to be bought.

Cleaning service: After the party, the room needs to be cleaned. You and your family will do a lot but you will still need a helping hand from the cleaning lady. Contact Manuella at the reception about it.

On the day of the celebration: or before, you need to give 2 bottles of sekt an one bottle of Orange juice to Carola.

[edit] Preparing the PhD thesis publication

Congratulations, you did it!

Now the journey does not end, however. Till you do not publish your thesis, you are not a real "Dr.".

After the defense the committee approves the thesis or the recommend some changes. Implement the changes if there are any.

Get an approval for the final version of the thesis from your supervisor (the forms are at TUD library). Hand in the thesis at the library of the TUD (they need the PDF and 3 printed copies) and at Pruefungsamt. Pruefungsamt needs 3 printed copies (contact: Frau Schmitt-Spall). The contact person at TU library is Frau Otto. More information are at TUD Library website. Please note that for the thesis in English you will need a German translation of the thesis title and a short (up to one page) abstract of the thesis also in German. After checking that everything is OK, they will give a notification about the publication directly to the Pr├╝fungsamt, after which they will create a nice certificate that you can pick up - after some time.

After that you can publish your thesis as a book or in EG Digital Library (recommended). For the publication at EGDL, contact the IGD Library. They will give you the forms that you fill in and your supervisor has to sign.