The doctoral student and supervisor draw up a doctoral agreement during the first term at the start of the doctorate. With a view to offering the best possible support to doctoral students, the Doctoral Agreement defines the framework conditions of the doctorate (form and duration of the doctorate, educational, research and supervision goals) as well as the aspired academic accomplishments (written contributions and conference contributions). The educational and research objectives of the doctoral student shall be specified one year at a time, reviewed annually and readjusted. Furthermore, the doctoral student is entitled to regular meetings with the academic supervisor/s in the course of which the progress of the doctoral thesis and any problems shall be discussed.
For doctoral students employed at the University, the Doctoral Agreement is integrated in the staff appraisal form. For all other doctoral students, the Doctoral Agreement is available as a separate form.
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.