PD Dr. habil. Helmut Brentel Consulting & Training in Higher Education
PD Dr. habil. Helmut BrentelConsulting & Training in Higher Education

Innovative Handbook on Doctoral Supervision


Helmut Brentel


Doctoral Supervision


Handbook for Establishing a Productive and Supportive Supervision Culture


308 pages, 2nd reworked and completed edition 2019


Please be aware that the book is not available directly from Brentel Consulting and Training in Higher Education!

You can order it via bookshops, especially from two university bookshops in Mainz and Frankfurt which have them permanent in stock.



Jakob-Welder-Weg 1

55128 Mainz

phone: 0049-6131-5709860



Karl Marx Buchhandlung

Jordanstr. 11

60486 Frankfurt am Main

phone: 0049-69-778807




Short decription of aims and contents


The overall aim of the handbook is professionalization of doctoral supervision. It is especially written for colleagues and universities who are in a catching up mode in this process. Target groups are research supervisors, doctoral candidates and postdocs seeking for professional awareness of supervision and its pedagogy, university heads and directors of doctoral schools being highly interested in the core strategic importance of sustainable supervisor development programmes.

The book is designed on the background of my experiences and insights in advising and supporting doctoral candidates and their supervisors as managing director of doctoral schools since 2001, and as trainer of supervisors at many universities and research institutions in Europe since 2011.

The approach is based on a deep analytical understanding of the problems and success conditions of supervising doctoral candidates, but is at the same time very much practical oriented, providing 72 helpful tables, tools, checklists and exercises. It shows in detail how outstanding supervisors are acting, but does not miss to discuss the dangers and threats of problems and weaknesses supervisors may have to face. It's an integrated concept of core indispensable modules that defines a very good basic standard for a sufficient understanding of the issues and challenges of doctoral supervision in establishing productive and supportive supervisory practice and culture.





Professionalization and Internationalization of Doctoral Supervision

1          The Shift to Professionalization in Doctoral Education and Supervision

2          International Developments in Doctoral Supervision and Training


Supervising and Monitoring with the Supervisor Biography

3          Concept and Design

4          Preparatory Phase

5          Research Phase

6          Completion phase


Expectations and Roles in a Productive Supervisory Relationship

7          Change and Development of Supervisory Roles

8          Clarifying Mutual Expectations

9          Supervisory Relations and Supervisory Styles

10        Co- and Team Supervision


Selection and Recruitment

11        Selecting and Recruiting Doctoral Candidates


Defensive Routines and Productive Learning in Doctoral Supervision

12        Transition to Productive Learning

13        Introducing Productive Learning into Doctoral Supervision


Identifying Problems and Rescuing Your Candidates

14        When the PhD Project is going to fail - Warning Signs and Problem Solutions

15        Intervision - A Very Helpful Tool for Peer Group Coaching

16        Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice and Preventing Scientific Misconduct


Motivation Gaps and Conflict Constellations as Opportunities for Learning and Improvement

17        Keeping up Motivation

18        Professional Awareness and Handling of Conflicts


Training Supervisors and Establishing a Community of Best Professional Practice

19        Supervisor Training

20        Follow-Up and Ensuring Sustainability

21        Establishing a Highly Productive and Supportive Supervisory Culture