With regard to the dissertation research PhD students can either choose a research topic from a list of possible thesis projects or - in exceptional cases- propose a project of their own, fitting in the research program of the ICS. In either case it is essential that students shape the project‑draft into a fully elaborated research proposal that meets the competitive standards for scarce research funds.
During this process, PhD students receive close guidance and assistance from their project supervisors and other ICS faculty. If feasible, the project proposals are submitted to funding agencies during the first year. Otherwise, project proposals are subject to an internal referee procedure. Whereas continuation of projects does not depend upon whether funding actually is received, the successful acquisition of grants is important for the continuity of the ICS and brings additional benefits to the researcher by allowing larger project budgets. Serious negative evaluation of a project proposal, however, may result in rigorous modification of the project or even its cancellation, depending on decisions of the ICS board.
Completed PhD theses typically comprise four substantive chapters together with brief introduction and conclusion chapters. The four substantive chapters often are articles or slightly revised versions of articles that have been or will be submitted to professional journals.
Since 1986, about 150 ICS PhD students have defended their PhD Thesis at the ICS.
See Completed PhD projects for all dissertations.