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The doctoral program at the GSLS

Focus on your individual research project

Doctoral training in the GSLS

The GSLS offers a three-year doctoral study program in English with options for fast-track careers, an integrated international master program, as well as additional support throughout the postdoctoral phase.

"...The core component of doctoral training is the advancement of knowledge through original research ... We urge universities to ensure that their doctoral programmes promote interdisciplinary training and the development of transferable skills, thus meeting the needs of the wider employment market ..." (Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Higher Education, Bergen 2005)

The GSLS regards doctoral candidates as early stage researchers and believes that original research must be the centerpiece of doctoral training. Activities of the doctoral study program help doctoral researchers improve key academic skills directly useful for their ongoing dissertation work. In addition, a wide spectrum of methods courses and transferable skills training is offered.

A core element of doctoral training in the GSLS is the thesis committee that works out an individual training plan together with the doctoral researchers depending on their individual academic backgrounds and goals. For each doctoral researcher, there is an individual "prescription".

Mandatory training elements are taught in English and include lab meetings, literature seminars, seminars of the research training group, annual retreats and summer schools. Doctoral researchers are encouraged to present their results to the international scientific community. Graduation in the GSLS requires active participation at international meetings and contributions to publications in international peer-reviewed journals. The elective courses include lectures/workshops on specific laboratory methods and transferable skills workshops ranging from hands-on seminars on presentation techniques and academic writing skills to courses on patent law and leadership qualities in academia and industry. GSLS doctoral researchers are also encouraged to spend a period of the dissertation phase abroad, ideally in collaborating labs, and contribute to GSLS activities by organizing doctoral conferences, teaching or membership in the Doctoral Researchers' Council (DRC). All training elements attended are documented in a diploma supplement that accompanies the doctoral diploma at graduation.

The GSLS offers a fast-track program to exceptionally qualified candidates with a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. The candidates in this program undergo a qualification period of up to one year which is completed by oral exams and a short experimental thesis work. Having passed the qualification exam, the candidates then directly enter the doctoral phase. An international master program "Life Sciences" has admitted its first students in the winter term 2012/2013. Outstanding candidates have the opportunity to continue with their doctoral dissertation after only one year in this program. Female doctoral researchers are welcome to join the MENTORINGlife sciences program. This program builds on three key elements: mentee-mentor relationship, workshops and network meetings. It aims at encouraging female doctoral researchers to further advance their careers. The GSLS provides support to postdoctoral researchers in several ways. Postdoctoral researchers are granted "career development fellowships" that are intended to help them prepare their first independent grant application. The GSLS is also establishing a coaching program that supports postdoctoral researchers with all issues particularly relevant at this career stage (proposal writing, managing one's own laboratory, team building etc.).