Mentor or second advisor?

According to the regulations of the TUM-GS each doctoral student needs a co-supervisor / mentor. The selected person has to sign also the supervision agreement and therefore should be chosen at the beginning of the doctorate phase.

The only prerequisite for the recruitment of a mentor / co-supervisor is that this person has already completed a doctorate phase in any scientific discipline. Thus, it has nothing to do in general with the participation of the co-supervisor as the second examiner for the assessment of the dissertation thesis and/or participating as a member of the board of examiners in the oral examination.

As an advice, each doctoral candidate should consider carefully whether he or she needs a more academic supervisor or rather a "consultant" for the career and future planning. In the following, these two roles are discussed.

The second advisor

A second supervisor or co-supervisor is per definition a person who could give scientific and technical advice for the research project. In the simplest case, it may be a postdoctoral researcher (eg, postdoc, academic councillor) from the same research group. Frequently, another professor is selected (who could either come from the same faculty or from an university abroad for example as a project partner). Also an industry representative may be involved in this role when there is a cooperation with a company

The Mentor

In contrast, a mentor plays a different role. He or she is often not really involved in the scientific details of the doctoral project - but this is not a strict rule. Mentors should either provide you with "big picture" or should give more tips and tricks regarding general topics about promotion and future career paths. Even in the rare incidents where there is a conflict between doctorate candidates and the supervisor, mentors can act as a mediator.

The TUM-GS and the TUM mentoring programme assists you in the search for mentors.

Contact of the mentoring programme at the TUM:


Welcome Office /TUM-GS
TUM Mentoring