Supervision and thesis topic

You decided to start a doctoral study at TU Wien? We recomend that you first think about a (corse) thesis topic and find a supervisor before inscribing into the doctoral study. 

The topic of your thesis

Basic rule: the topic of your thesis has to match at least one course offered by TU Wien. For instance it is not possible to write a tesis about Byzantine currency at TU Wien. It is also going to be difficult, to write your thesis about classical business administration. TU Wien awards a Dr. rer. soc. oec. title in principle, but there is no working group or institute for the topic of business administartion. This rule makes sence, since you also need a supervisor related to your topic.

From experience we know that the topic itself is somehow "organic": during the time of your research it is likely that the goals, methodics or even a whole subtopic change a bit. Therefore, it is not important that you define your topic in depth and detail from the beginning on but a rough idea is important.

You can distinguish between given topics or personal ideas for a topic.

Given topics

Advertised topics can be found

Another, often very effective way is to talk to the leaders of research groups personally and ask them if they have any vacant topics and jobs for your. Of course that strategy is more time consuming, but it is worth it. Contacts of head of institutes can be found in TISS.

Personal ideas

If you have a promising idea for a thesis, the first thing to do is finding a suitable supervisor. You find contacts to institutes and employes in TISS.

At this point is important to discuss financial support and working area for your research.

Your supervisor

Your supervisor is the first contact concerning questions about your research and orginazational stuff. Good supervision is one key ingredient for a sucessfull thesis and contains among others:

  • regular, ideally weekly, meetings where you discuss your research activities,
  • including you into research and teaching activities, for example by attending conferences,
  • your supervisor always finds a minute for your problems and feedback about your work

Any person authorized to teach (habilitated or full professor) can act as your supervisor. If you chose frome a given topic, there is often already someone responsible for the supervision. If you bring your own idea, you have the possibility (or the obligation) to search for a suitable supervisor by your own.

External supervision

External supervision means that your supervisor is not authorized to teach at the TU Wien. For instance somebody from the industrial sector or somebody from another university or a different research establishment. If you plan to have full external supervision you should think about the follwoing points:

  1. Your topic has to match some course offered by the TU Wien,
  2. The Dean of Studies has to approve your topic,
  3. The Dean of Studies organizes the two evaluators for your thesis.

Since there are many various research groups, it sould be no problem finding a supervisor for almost any interest and idea.

It is quite advisable having a supervisor at the TU Wien, consider the possibility to have more than one supervisor as well.