Teaching And Supervising Thesis Students

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To help, I have collected common pitfalls students make in contacting me as a potential supervisor.

I want to explain what they are doing wrong, and how to improve.

I only give out topics that are truly relevant to my research, and also make sure that each thesis I supervise is in the hands of a student I know to be methodical enough so that I can trust their findings, and possibly even publicise them after their thesis.

This might be different if your supervisor is a Postdoc or a Professor, but in the case of Ph D students, this is the only approach I know for supervisors who want a close relationship with their students, simply because there is no other way to tackle the daily work you have to do on top of your research that you want to do.

I felt that I would be doing him a favor if I came up with my own thesis topic, since this would save him the effort of having to think of one.

I also felt that since I was essentially putting in six months of full-time work for free, I deserved a fair share of his time in return.

Not providing that supervision could then only be attributed to an unfair character of the supervisor.”This is from Elmar Juergens’ excellent page,

He goes on to explain why this view is wrong, and what the typical workday looks like for a Ph D student.

Maybe I can shed light on some misunderstandings concerning Ph D students and thesis supervision. It contains (slightly adapted and anonymised) examples of emails I received over the past two years.

Keep in mind that what you read here is only my opinion — other supervisors might not agree.

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