All students join the school with one particular faculty member assigned as primary advisor. The student will carry out their doctoral research in the group of this person; the primary advisor provides the ongoing, direct supervision and support needed to establish and carry out the PhD project.

A second level of supervision is delivered by the student's thesis advisory committee (TAC). This committee consists of the student's primary advisor plus at least two further IMPRS faculty members chosen by the advisor and student. The student meets with their TAC at least once a year to report on progress.

The role of the TAC is to help the student achieve the best possible PhD and get the maximum benefit from their doctoral training. The TAC guides the student through each stage of his/her thesis research with critical feedback and advice. Regular evaluation by a team with varied scientific expertise helps the student make the most out of their project, and the regular milestones help with motivation and staying on track. Not only that: the TAC system puts each of our students in contact with several scientists who know them well enough to advise on career choices or act as a referee. Finally, the TAC will advise on suitable training options and CV development.