The doctoral student and supervisor draw up a doctoral agreement during the first term at the start of the dissertation process. This sets out the framework conditions for the doctorate, any objectives from a research, educational and support perspective, and the desired output from the doctoral student in academic terms (publications, contributions to conferences). The objectives are formulated for a year in each case and are discussed and amended on an annual basis.
The work done to promote the individual student by way of supporting and accompanying them through the various stages of their studies can play a decisive part in ensuring a doctorate is completed successfully. Doctoral students at the University of Bern are often supervised by two (main and co-supervisor) or more people (thesis committee) rather than just one. This is particularly true of doctoral students studying for their doctorate within the framework of a graduate school or doctoral degree program. The same also applies to doctoral students studying for a traditional individual doctorate, depending on the faculty.