A Comparative Study of Selection, Training and Advisory Practices for Doctoral Education

Dr. Ege University, Izmir, Turkey.


Problem Statement: The “right selection” of doctoral candidates is of great importance for the effectiveness of doctoral programs. There are programs in which one can directly begin with the dissertation, as well as programs that require the completion of credits through mandatory and elective courses. It is widely accepted that academic thesis supervisors play an important role at every stage in PhD programs.

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to compare the selection and training of PhD students of the education faculties of the University of Bremen and Ege University, as well as the role of the supervisor by investigating the views of PhD students, graduates and thesis supervisors.

Methods: In this study, integrated multi-case design was used. The study group was determined with a criterion sampling method. The data was collected by interviews and analyzed by a content analysis technique.

Findings and Results: The competencies required of doctoral candidates vary under themes such as “awareness of the process”, “academic qualifications and personal characteristics”, “professional experience”, and “the originality of the doctoral dissertation”. In Germany, there is failure to make PhD programs sufficiently attractive to attract students, while in Turkey, the selection of students through central exams that do not measure suitability for doctoral qualifications are criticized. It was deemed more appropriate to train PhD candidates by practicing in colloquiums and academic environments addressing networks and needs rather than by programs in which candidates begin their dissertation after completing a certain number of credits. Being “directive, preparative and motivational” stood out as the preferred roles of an academic thesis supervisor.

Conclusions and Recommendations: Systems that can attract “suitable” individuals who complete their studies successfully, can develop creative ideas, and are interdisciplinary in nature may be developed. Institutions may manage activities like informing and preparing students for PhD programs beginning from the undergraduate stage and continuing through the doctoral dissertation stage.

Keywords: PhD selection criteria, learning experiences, role of the supervisor.