Each doctoral student enters an advising agreement with his or her two main supervisors. The agreement contains detailed provisions on what students should achieve and what they can expect from their supervisors. Moreover, it lists the members of a committee formed to support the student. This committee will provide advice on career development and any other questions raised by the student. Finally, the agreement also contains dates for regular meetings with other mentors providing feedback. These meetings are meant to support the student and prevent problems.
Under a procedure called “Cotutelle,” doctoral students can be co-advised by academics based at foreign institutions participating in the program. The department at the University of Basel and the department at Munich (LMU) have had very positive experience with such binational degrees of this type.
The coordination and recognition of the diverse institutions and disciplines represented in the program is not without challenge, but the varied perspectives and approaches benefit everyone involved and result in more nuanced and valuable research. It serves to secure the quality of both advising relationships and the doctoral projects.
As part of the program, doctoral students are constantly meeting other scholars, both from the host country and other countries. The colloquia and schools aim to involve local scholars from universities and other institutions. Students meet both practitioners with academic credentials and scholars with different levels of experience. This network is invaluable because students thereby get to know a range of standpoints and career paths and enhance their career prospects by making international and interdisciplinary contacts.