Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC)

  • The student, in conjunction with the supervisor, will set up the Dissertation Advisory Committee (TAC), which consists of the supervisor(s) and at least one co-advisor encompassing the relevant discipline(s) of the thesis topic.
  • The TAC discusses the plan of study with the student and ensures that he/she receives sufficient training in all required research areas. The doctoral student attends progress seminars and the TAC meets with the student once a year. Feedback from the TAC will be summarised in written form and attached to the annual progress report of the dissertation project.

PhD thesis / doctoral thesis

  • The doctoral thesis is the central element and proves the ability of the doctoral candidate to conduct independent scientific work on a high level.

  • The dissertation can be written in the form of a monograph or as a cumulative dissertation. In both cases, the doctoral thesis has to comply with the international standards of the discipline:

"The term 'cumulative dissertation' compiles scientific papers whose conclusions are not presented in the form of a monograph, but rather in that of a compilation of publications or publication manuscripts. [...] However, in their entirety and in terms of their scientific content, cumulative dissertations are subject to the formal requirements applicable to dissertations in monograph form.  [...] The publications / manuscripts shall be contextually linked and fit within the scope of a congruous, superordinate analysis, which in turn is reflected in the topic of the dissertation" [p.1 "Guidelines for Cumulative Dissertations" by the Office of the President for Studies legislation and affairs of the University of Vienna].

This "Guidelines for Cumulative Dissertations" provides a framework for the cumulative dissertation that may be specified by study programme leaders in more detail, as following:

  • The VDS PhaNuSpo advises to aim for a cumulative dissertation, i.e. ideally composed of three published articles in peer-reviewed journals comprising the thesis topic as presented and approved at the public presentation at faculty (FÖP). Please use JCR-Journal Citations Reports (ideally Q1 of thematic category) and Web of Science Core Collection to discover and select most appropriate journals.
  • Ideally, two of those anticipated three publications, but at least one, have to be first or joint first author articles, i.e. original pieces (no reviews, comments, book contributions, contributions in proceedings, etc.) that have been created by the PhD student to a great extent independently. The third manuscript can be a co-authored publication in a high-impact peer-reviewed journal. When submitting the thesis, the manuscripts have to be either already published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed periodicals/ journals, and only one manuscript of the agreed number of manuscripts may have the status 'Under review' or 'Submitted'.
  • Furthermore, other manuscripts with the PhD as an author and in context to the doctoral thesis topic can be part of the cumulative thesis.
  • The PhD candidate and the TAC [supervisor(s) and co-mentor(s)] decide together on the setting of the cumulative dissertation: number of journal articles, authorship and publication status needed for the submission of the cumulative dissertation. It is highly recommended to document this agreement in written form in the doctoral thesis agreement. In the event that there is a need to modify this agreement, the VDS PhaNuSpo appeals that the jointly decided changes are written down in the annual progress reports. Those have to be submitted annually after the doctoral thesis agreement is approved by the study programme leader.