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 candidate is expected to organize and schedule a date and a place for both First- and Second-Year Examinations.
The first-year examination is a two-hour written exam on the question and methodology of the research project. It forms the basis for a critical examination of the potential and limitations of the chosen approach in the dissertation. The examination takes place a year after the student’s registration at the GHS (the application deadline).
The first-year examination is organized by the student who contacts the examiners and agrees on a date and place. The examiners are the thesis advisor or the co-thesis advisor and the co-referee.
The examination is independently assessed with two grades. One grade is given by the thesis advisor or the co-thesis advisor. The second grade is given by the co-referee. If both the thesis advisor and the co-thesis adviser participate, they express one single common grade. Please see also the supervision overview table.
The evaluation and grades are recorded on the First-Year Examination Record. The signed form must be submitted to the GHS Coordinator with the GHS Office in CC.
The grading criteria are listed in the First-Year Examination Record.
The Thesis advisor or the Co-thesis advisor formulates the exam questions. 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 must take place in a formal setting (e.g. at the student's institute) in the presence of at least one examiner. 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.
An unsatisfactory first-year examination can be retaken once within six months.
The Second-Year examination takes places a year after the first-year examination. The second-year examination is organized by the student who contacts the examiners and agrees on a date and place.
The examination consists of a 30-40 minute public scientific presentation followed by a discussion about the research conducted in the presence of the Thesis Committee. The presentation and discussion should include a perspective regarding the final phase of work.
The presentation can be given at a regular colloquium or seminar series, held at an institute or clinic that is part of the GHS program. The examination is assessed by three examiners: Thesis advisor and/or Co-thesis advisor, Co-referee, and an independent subject matter expert. Independent subject matter experts are internationally recognized researchers from another university in the research field of the corresponding dissertation who have not published together with the doctoral student or the thesis advisor in the last three years. Please see also the supervision overview table.
The presentation should include an introduction which puts the student'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 public discussion of 15 to maximum 60 minutes, moderated by the Thesis advisor or Co-thesis advisor, during which examiners and audience ask critical questions and involve the student in a scientific discourse. After the public discussion, a closed discussion is held between the candidate and the examiners only.
In the Second-Year Examination Record, the points that should be included in the closed discussion are listed, as well as the grading criteria.
The examination is independently assessed with three grades. One grade is given by the Thesis advisor and/or the Co-thesis advisor. If both the Thesis advisor and the Co-thesis advisor participate, they express one single common grade. The second grade is given by the Co-referee and the third by the independent subject matter expert. The grades are recorded on the Second-Year Examination Record. The signed form must be submitted to the GHS Coordinator and GHS Office in CC.
The mentor can be present at the examination but cannot grade it. The presence of the mentor is not mandatory.
An unsatisfactory Second-Year Examination can be retaken once within six months.
The examinations are graded by the examiners according to the «Promotionsreglement» (Art. 11.4 and Art. 12.4) of the GHS with the following marks: