Doctoral Studies at IAIK
How to find a PhD project at IAIK?
You have to agree on a PhD project with a PhD advisor from IAIK. In case you are new to IAIK, start talking to one of the professors at IAIK.
In addition, you also need to be admitted to the Doctoral School of Computer Science at Graz University of Technology. For information about addmission to this school and any other formalities, please, follow this link: Doctoral School of Computer Science
PhD Students and PhD Candidates
At IAIK, we distinguish between PhD students and PhD candidates. A student starts her PhD project as a PhD student. To advance from PhD student to PhD candidate, the student needs to successfully present and defend a PhD proposal. Details of a successful PhD proposal can be found further down in this text.
The expected duration for studying in a doctoral program at IAIK is 4 years; the maximum duration is 6 years. Typically, a student will hold the status of PhD student for 2 years; the status of PhD student can be held for at most 3 years. Each student has to complete her PhD thesis (document and defense) within six years of her start as a PhD student. It is the responsibility of each individual student to successfully defend her proposal and her thesis within the allotted time.
In certain case, we will entertain proposals to finish a degree after the maximum time of 6 years if a reasonable research plan is proposed by the student.
As part of their doctoral studies, PhD students at IAIK must successfully defend a PhD proposal at about the middle of the doctoral studies. Typically, the defense of the proposal is between 1.5 to 2.5 years after the start of the PhD project. The defense must be done no later than three years after the start of the PhD project. In the PhD proposal, a doctoral shows first scientific results (including publications) and a detailed plan of the remaining timeline and the topics to be included in the dissertation. A successful proposal makes it evident that the PhD candidate can successfully conclude her doctoral studies in the proposed topic within the allotted time. By accepting the PhD proposal, the advisor demonstrates her expectation that the PhD candidate can finish her doctoral studies within the planned timeframe.
The PhD proposal consists of a document, a presentation, and a question session.
The PhD proposal is judged by a committee, which is set up in mutual agreement between the student and her advisor, who is an employee of IAIK with a habilitation. The committee consists of at least three members, including the advisor. At least two members of the committee must hold a habilitation (or equivalent) at IAIK; no members of IAIK without a habilitation shall be part of the committee; external members must have a comparable research record to a habilitation. The committee is chaired by a member who is employed at IAIK and not the supervisor.
The document describes the research area chosen by the student. In the proposal, the student explains why she wants to research the chosen area; shows in-depth understanding of the literature in the field; shows preliminary results (which must have previously resulted in accepted publications); and shows a plan of the research results to be achieved in the coming one to two years, culminating in a PhD thesis.
The presentation consists of a public presentation of 45 minutes. Following the presentation, the committee members have up to 45 minutes to question the student in a public setting about the chosen field, the student’s motivation for studying it, the preliminary results, and the research plan. At the conclusion of the question session, the committee members will decide on the result of the defense by simple majority. (The chair may break ties.) The decision is based on the document, the presentation, and the question session. The decision can be either pass or fail. Failed defenses can be repeated once, in which case the student submits a new document and the presentation and the question session are repeated. In all but exceptional cases, the committee remains the same.
Defense deadlines: The defense must be announced at least 6 weeks prior to the planned defense date. The research document must be available at least 3 weeks before the defense, or the defense will be canceled and must be rescheduled. We strongly encourage students to hold the defense well before the three year deadline, allowing enough time to repeat the exam (which involves rewriting the proposal and another two-month preparation period). The administrative person responsible for collecting the documents, selecting a time slot and handling the announcement of the defense can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.