VDTR Supervision Options


The role of a supervisor in overseeing the dissertation project holds significant importance in the PhD journey. This is especially crucial for aspiring academics, as it enables doctoral candidates to engage and integrate themselves within their scientific community. The supervisor assumes a primary role as the main point of contact, providing consistent feedback and guidance throughout the thesis development.

According to the statutes of the University of Vienna, “University professors, habilitated staff members, associated professors as well as assistant professors according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement for University Staff of the University of Vienna are entitled to, and in accordance with their other university responsibilities are also obliged to supervise and assess doctoral theses. Students are entitled to request the supervision of their doctoral thesis of these university employees. Doctoral candidates have to decide on the topic of their doctoral thesis in agreement with the supervisor. Supervision by more than one person authorised to supervise is admissible” (UG, §15(2)).

After the public presentation of the research project, the doctoral candidate and his/her supervisor sign a dissertation agreement, in which they clarify different aspects of their collaboration such as the frequency of feedback meetings etc. In addition, we recommend using the annual progress reports to discuss the progress of the dissertation project as well as plans for the following year in detail once a year.

In order for PhD students to join the VDTR, the main supervisor must be a habilitated member of the VDTR (and have at least a part-time employment at the University of Vienna).


In order to meet the interdisciplinary requirement, the VDTR encourages co-supervision. Co-supervision means that, in addition to the first supervisor, a second person also accompanies the dissertation project. If the primary supervisor is a member of the University of Vienna and fulfils the legal requirements for supervision, the co-supervisor can also come from another institution. We recommend to organize the co-supervision in consultation with the supervisor.

Thesis Advisory Committee

What is a thesis advisory committee (short: TAC)?

The purpose of the TAC is to engage in discussions about the research project, considering its original objectives and taking into account recent developments in the field of study. Furthermore, the TAC evaluates the PhD candidate’s progress and offers guidance and support to the PhD candidate and his/her supervisor(s).

Who is part of a TAC?

Generally, it comprises of a minimum of four individuals besides the doctoral student: the supervisor(s) and one or two additional mentors. Emphasis is placed on including a mentor from an external institution to foster networking opportunities. If desired, the VDTR Program Manager may also attend the TAC meeting.

How does it work?

The committee meets at least once a year until the completion of the PhD, starting within the first six months of the dissertation project. The organization of these meetings is the responsibility of the PhD student. In preparation for each meeting, the doctoral student is required to submit a concise written report outlining the current progress of their research. The meeting typically lasts for an hour and encompasses a brief presentation, followed by a discussion, constructive feedback, and a summary outlining clear next steps. Additionally, two short time slots – one discussion in absence of the supervisor, one discussion in absence of the student – are recommended. The TAC may also provide recommendations for participation in specific teaching modules aimed at complementing the doctoral student’s skills.

Can I set up a TAC without my supervisor?

We value a good working relationship that obtains the consent of all parties involved and therefore recommend discussing this with your supervisor and getting his/her consent in advance. If you want to set up a TAC, please get in touch with us at contact.vdtr@univie.ac.at.

The VDTR encourages the establishment of thesis advisory committees (TAC).