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Doctoral education in Information Technology

Study Follow-up

Each doctoral student at the research school has a follow-up committee as a support during the research studies. The committee shall annually meet with the student and the main supervisor to monitor the progress, to offer advice, to identify problems and to support the student to set goals. Eventually the final stages of the licentiate or the doctoral thesis preparations shall be discussed.

The first meeting shall take place not later than ten months after the student's admission to the research education.  The main supervisor shall announce the meeting in due time to the follow-up committee, the examiner and the Director of Research Studies. Around the same time, the main supervisor shall make sure that the updated ISP is distributed to the follow-up committee to allow the participants to prepare themselves for the meeting.

At a follow-up meeting it is recommended that the student gives a presentation of completed and on-going research work (bearing in mind that the group may contain non specialists). 

Other issues that should be discussed are course work, e.g. planned courses, and issues related to other activities such as teaching, and how they affect the student's progress. These points are enumerated in the ISP (Individual Study Plan), which the student should complete before the meeting.  The follow-up meeting is also the appropriate place to discuss possible licentiate discussion leaders or Ph.D. defence opponents and examination committee members. The group should also pay attention to potential problems in the supervisor-student relationship. It is worth noting that the student also has the possibility to discuss potential problems during the development dialogues with the lab-leader or to contact the Director of Research Studies.

At the meeting which is closest to half-way through the Ph.D. period, the licentiate should have been completed. If this is not the case there should be a discussion focused on this, and the supervisor should write a report to the Director of Research Studies to describe the situation and the plan of action.

Before it's decided about a licentiate seminar or ph.d. defence, the follow-up committee members must discuss whether the thesis is ready to be sent for evaluation or not and inform the Director of Research Studies about their view on the subject.

Immediately after the annual meeting with the student it is recommended that the group have a chance to meet without the student present. This should be considered a routine part of the meeting - i.e. not just something which is initiated at the discretion of the main supervisor. This gives the group the opportunity to have a frank discussion about possible problems, concerning both the student and the main supervisor, which may not be discussed at the main meeting, e.g. insufficient supervision or questionable research agendas. The main supervisor should notify the student about the outcome of this part of the discussion.

A suitable follow-up committee is suggested by the main supervisor after discussion with the student. In some cases (e.g. for interdisciplinary research) it may be advantageous to have three members, and it is sometimes useful to add additional members to the committee at a later stage.  When forming a follow-up committee it is advisable to have a "specialist" and a "generalist" within the committee. The specialist is someone with knowledge of the technical area in which the student works, whereas the generalist has broad experience of research education but is typically (and intentionally) not too close to the student's and the main supervisor's research group. One of the members of the committee may come from another department. The members of the follow-up group should be approved by the Managing committee of the research school. The main supervisor should therefore submit a suggestion to the Director of Research Studies within three months of the student's admission to the research education.

Updated 2011-05-15