Events for supervisors

  • Next ViDSS Supervisors’ Day: Spring 2024
  • Next ViDSS Onboarding Workshop: Spring 2024

If you would like to participate in one of these events, please send an email to

Supervision at the Vienna Doctoral School of Social Sciences

The establishment of the Vienna Doctoral School of Social Sciences (ViDSS) is part of a university-wide initiative of providing structured doctoral education in many different disciplines.

At the Faculty of Social Sciences, the establishment of the doctoral school was led by a faculty-wide task force comprising representatives of all disciplines and a student representative. Between 2019 and 2020, the task force developed the profile and the governance structure of the doctoral school and designed activities and funding programmes for doctoral candidates in the social sciences. In October 2020, the ViDSS was launched.

The ViDSS aims at:

  • attracting ambitious and highly qualified doctoral candidates in the social sciences,
  • increasing the exchange of experiences among doctoral candidates and supervisors within and across departments,
  • enhancing the doctoral candidates’ international experiences and
  • improving completion rates.

In addition to a range of activities and funding possibilities for students, the ViDSS regularly organises onboarding workshops as well as networking and information events for supervisors.

Supervisors in the social sciences who are employed with the University of Vienna (subject to an employment contract of 50 % or more) can join the ViDSS. Participation of supervisors in the ViDSS includes providing active consent to the Code of Good Practice for Doctoral Schools and the willingness to actively participate in the activities organised by the Doctoral School.

Supervisors who retire from the University of Vienna can stay members of the Doctoral School for up to three years after leaving the University. Supervisors who transfer to another University also have the possibility to stay members of the ViDSS for up to three years if they maintain close connections to the University of Vienna such as through regular teaching contracts.

To join the ViDSS as a student member, doctoral candidates need to have at least one supervisor who is a member of the ViDSS. Encouraging students to choose at least one supervisor employed with the University of Vienna aims at fostering the integration of doctoral candidates at the departments of the University. The “internal” supervisor also serves as the main contact person if there are questions or problems regarding a doctoral thesis project.



Curriculum and teaching


  • How does the establishment of the ViDSS affect the range of courses offered in the doctoral programme?

    The ViDSS received funding for additional teaching hours which will make it possible to offer more (disciplinary) research colloquia and research workshops. In addition, we are organising a new seminar to prepare doctoral candidates for the public presentation at the Faculty (FÖP) during the entry phase. (All courses offered as part of the curriculum are open to all doctoral candidates in the social sciences.)

    The ViDSS has also strengthened the integration of visiting scholars into the teaching programme. We are organising student-initiated two-day workshops with international scholars which can be recognised as achievements relevant to the curriculum. In addition, the ViDSS is responsible for the process of collecting suggestions and of selecting scholars for the Paul Lazarsfeld professorship.

  • Which courses should I recommend to my students?

    The Directorate of Doctoral Studies recommends that doctoral candidates participate in each type of course during their doctoral studies. For more information, please see the overview of course types offered in the doctoral programme in Social Sciences. In addition, we are organising a new seminar to prepare doctoral candidates for the public presentation at the Faculty (FÖP).

    We recommend that doctoral candidates regularly check the list of courses and guest lectures held by visiting scholars. ViDSS students can also initiate ViDSS International Workshops with experts from outside the University of Vienna themselves.

    Please also advise your students to join a PhD Club.

  • Will it be easier for doctoral candidates who are working on interdisciplinary topics to join the doctoral programme due to the establishment of the ViDSS?

    During the discussions in the task force that led to the establishment of the ViDSS, the representatives of all departments agreed that the doctoral programme should continue to offer disciplinary tracks. At the same time, many of the new ViDSS activities (PhD Clubs, International Workshops, etc.) aim at strengthening networking and increasing the exchange of experiences among doctoral candidates across departments and disciplinary boundaries.

Membership and activities


  • What does participation in the activities organised by the ViDSS mean for supervisors?

    The ViDSS expects supervisors to join regular meetings on topics such as teaching or supervision, to contribute to the range of courses offered and to accompany a kick off retreat once in a while. We encourage supervisors to wisely select doctoral candidates and to form supervision teams (of at least two supervisors, possibly including postdoctoral researchers). The ViDSS recommends not to supervise more than ten theses at the same time and to support students through regular exchange. As in the past, the progress of a doctoral project should be documented in the annual progress reports. The ViDSS also encourages supervisors to suggest guest speakers and guest professors and to support students in initiating ViDSS International Workshops or PhD Clubs.

  • Do all my doctoral candidates have to join the ViDSS?

    No. Membership of the ViDSS is voluntary for both supervisors and doctoral candidates. (ViDSS students must have a supervisor who is a member of the ViDSS.)

  • Should I advise doctoral candidates who are already at an advanced stage of their doctoral studies to join the ViDSS?

    Yes. Several of the activities and funding schemes organised by the ViDSS aim to support doctoral candidates at an advanced stage of their research. Some examples are:

    • ViDSS Research Funds for research-related costs, travel expenses or proofreading
    • ViDSS Final Year Fund
    • ViDSS Completion Scholarship and ViDSS Short-term Finishing Contracts
    • PhD Clubs
    • Transferable skills and coaching
    • Career-oriented events and support measures

    All funding schemes and many activities are available to ViDSS students only. The ViDSS Alumni Programme is also open only to graduates from the doctoral programme in Social Sciences who have been members of the ViDSS. Doctoral candidates who have a supervisor who is a member of the ViDSS only have to submit the online application form to become members of the Doctoral School.

  • Many of my doctoral candidates do already take part in activities similar to the ones planned by the ViDSS. Do they have to participate in even more activities and is there not the danger of creating parallel structures?

    Our aim is to make existing initiatives visible and to organise additional activities for those students who currently do not have the possibility to take part in these initiatives (PhD Clubs, Brownbag Lectures, International Workshops, etc.).

  • Does the ViDSS support supervisors in finding suitable candidates for doctoral positions?

    Yes. We are increasing the visibility of open doctoral positions at the Faculty by advertising the positions on our website and the ViDSS Newsletter.