Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) Meetings

What is the timeline for your TAC meetings?

  • All doctoral students must meet with their entire TAC at least once a year before students depart for fieldwork, shortly after they have completed data collection, and then every twelve months.

  • For the first TAC meeting students submit a project proposal with a time table (min. 7,000 words) as well as the filled in and signed ethics form. This is the basis for approval of fieldwork and fieldwork funds.

  • For the second meeting students will submit a preliminary thesis outline with a time table (5,000 words) to their TAC. The outline consists of a summary of the main idea as well as a summary of each proposed chapter. During the second meeting, the TAC evaluates progress and makes suggestions for the overall framing of the thesis.

  • For the third meeting students submit a revised thesis outline (2,000 words). It should indicate how far the student has progressed in the writing process and how many draft chapters have been finished. The student will also submit one full draft chapter. If the student is seeking extension of funding, a statement about progress and further planned steps towards completion must be spelled out in detail.

  • On request, the TAC can meet also outside the schedule annual meetings. When necessary, members of the TAC can also take a decision after electronic consent procedure.

  • Plan meetings well in advance, considering that preparations for a TAC meeting may require a significant amount of time. The IMPRS coordinator will assist doctoral students in organizing TAC meetings on schedule.

What to do before your TAC meeting?

  • Schedule the TAC meeting and book a room for it with the help of the IMPRS coordinator.

  • Prepare for the meeting and think about the questions and issues you want to discuss.

  • Send your project proposal (year-one), preliminary thesis outline (year-three) or written progress report (year-four) to your TAC members at the latest one week before the meeting.

  • Ask a TAC member who is not your direct supervisor to chair the meeting.

  • Fill out Part A of the TAC meeting protocol.

  • Coordinate with the TAC in advance if you want guest scientists to attend the meeting.

What to do during your TAC meeting?

  • Discuss your submitted papers with members of the TAC.

  • Discuss progress and future steps with TAC members.

  • Seek career advice, particularly during the second and third meetings.

  • The chair will ask you to leave the room so that the TAC members can discuss your progress privately.

  • The chair will ask your supervisor to leave the room so that you and the other TAC members can discuss any issues you may have.

What to do after your TAC meeting?

  • Part B of the TAC meeting report will be finalized by the supervisors and other members of the TAC soon after the meeting.

  • The document is final after all TAC members have approved and signed it to confirm the meeting's occurrence.

  • Send the report to the IMPRS coordinator via email or using the provided form promptly.

  • The TAC meeting report serves as a reference for tracking progress between meetings.

  • The chair should contact the IMPRS coordinator if there are problems with your progress or the student-supervisor relationship.

How could a TAC meeting take place?

  • 45 minutes devoted to a research presentation by the student including the answering of questions and discussion with all participants present. We recommend that students plan a presentation of no more than 25 minutes to leave enough time for discussion.
  • 10 minutes for discussion between the student and the TAC members (not including the scholar’s advisor).
  • 10 minutes for discussion between the advisor and the TAC members (not including the scholar).
  • 25 minutes for a summary discussion with all participants present to plan next steps and discuss the executive summary.

Estimated duration: 90 minutes.

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