1st and 2nd Year Exam

The PhD program of the GHS includes two intermediate evaluations, each examination offering an opportunity to document and discuss the candidate's research progress. The 1st Year Examination is taken approximately one year after entering the GHS, and the 2nd Year Examination is taken approximately one year after the 1st Year Examination. The candidate is expected to organize and schedule a date and a place for both first and second year examinations.

The purpose of the 1st Year Examination is to evaluate the PhD candidate’s comprehension and competence in conceptual and methodological project matters. The examination takes the form of a two-hour written examination on a query formulated by the Thesis Advisor. Examples of queries are:

«Discuss critically the approach and methods (e.g. systematic literature review, analysis of questionnaire data, controlled experiment, meta analysis, …) applied or planned in your studies.»

The examination is performed without aids and can take place at the candidate’s institute in the presence of a supervisor.
As auxiliary resource, only a dictionary is admitted. The use of textbooks or a cell phone are not permitted, nor is the use of the candidate's own laptop/computer.

Relevant criteria for grading are the extent to which the PhD candidate is able to scientifically discuss the selected approach and to assess the strengths, limitations and potential pitfalls of the methodologies chosen.

The 1st year exam is organized by the student who contacts the examiners and agrees on a date and place.

The examination is independenty assessed by two examiners. Examiners can be: The Thesis Advisor, the Co-referee, a member of the Expert Committee or a lecturer of the involved Faculties. The evaluation is recorded on the GHS protocol form 1st Year Examination Record (PDF, 100KB); the signed form must be submitted to the GHS Coordinator.

Approximately one year after the 1st Year Examination, PhD candidates sign up for the 2nd Year Examination. This examination takes the form of a 30-min oral presentation, where the PhD candidate shows his/her broader knowledge of the research field and presents the progress in the project.

The 2nd year exam is organized by the student who contacts the examiners and agrees on a date and place.

The presentation is given at a regular colloquium, held at an institute or clinic that is part of the GHS program. Presence of three examiners is mandatory: the Thesis Advisor, the Co-referee and an independent lecturer of the involved Faculties. The Thesis Advisor organizes a briefing for the examiners prior to the colloquium.

An independent lecturer is a person who has an own research Project (not dependent on a supervisor) even if he/she is not a PD. The person should also be involved in teaching (lecturer).

It should be someone with whom the student does not share projects or publications, therefore not a PhD from the student's own group.

The Thesis Advisor also informs the candidate in advance about the expected structure of the presentation: The presentation should include an introduction which puts the candidate's own work into the context of the latest developments in the field, present systematically the data obtained so far and the objectives for the remaining work of the thesis.

The presentation is followed by a plenum discussion of approximately 15 to 30 min length, moderated by the Thesis Advisor. As a contribution to the discussion, the Thesis Advisor and the Co-referee prepare questions related to the work. Subsequently to the public debate, a thorough discussion can be held between the candidate and the examiners only. The discussion includes interpretation of the data and in particular an agreement on the further course of the project. Presentation and discussion are assessed by the examiners. The grade is recorded on the GHS protocol form 2nd Year Examination Record (PDF, 113KB); the signed form must be submitted to the GHS Coordinator.

Grading Scheme for Both Intermediate Evaluations

Both examinations are graded by the examiners according to the «Promotionsreglement» (Art. 9.6) of the GHS with the following marks:

6.0=excellent
5.5=very good
5.0=good
4.5=satisfactory
4.0=sufficient (pass)
below 4.0=failed