Studyplan-Guide

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nHow to Make a Study Plan
Noah Torp-Smith
IT University of Copenhagen
December 9, 2004
Abstract
This small note is meant to guide primarily new Ph.D. students at the IT University of Copenhagen to write the mandatory study plan.

This little document is meant as a small guide for new Ph.D. students at ITU that has to write a study plan for the first time. I will not write so much about why you have to write a study plan; this is more of a check list of things that you should include. I have been a member of the Ph.D. study board for three years now, and I know what things that are considered when the board evaluates a study plan. This document is meant to list those items. For reference, I have put my own study plan online at http://www.itu.dk/people/noah/

Please note that this note is my own, and the Ph.D. study board are not responsible for anything that is written here. It just sums up my own experiences from being a member of the board.
There are two Ph.D. programmes at ITU. If you are on the three-year programme, your study plan should account for all of the three years. However, if you are on the 4-year programme, the plan you hand in after six months of studies need only account for the first two years. Along with your qualification report after those two years, another study plan with a plan for the remaining two years has to be enclosed. The Ph.D. regulations at ITU has a list of items that must be included in a study plan. I will give an explanation of some of them here (some are obvious and do not need an explanation). Please note that whenever you revise your study plan, make sure to update all of these items (where relevant), not just the milestones. Project Description As a relatively new student, it is hardly possible to give a full description of what your research for the next three or four years is going to be about. But since you’ve started as a Ph.D. student, you should have some vague idea as to what the area is, and there are probably some questions whose answer is the goal of your research project. Try to write this down. It is extremely helpful to have done this since it will help you focus your work on these goals during your studies. Note

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that the board does not have the compentence to evaluate the project description; this item is meant to make sure that the project is (relatively) well-defined by you and your supervisor – remember that when your supervisor signs the study plan, he/she confirms that it is a good and realistic plan. It might be that during the course of your studies, you find out that it is not realistic to solve all the open problems that you and your supervisor came up with after 6 months, or it might be that new questions have arised since your first study plan. If and when this happens, make sure to update the study plan.

Plan for Stay Abroad After six months of studies, it might not be clear yet where the best place in the world for your stay abroad is, and it might not be possible to go there in practice. But you might have some ideas, and you might know when it will be a good time to go. Just write that information down if that is all you know. Plan for Teaching Activities Write here what your plans for taking courses are. It might be hard to know from the offset, both because you do not know which courses will be offered, and your need for courses might change if your research changes direction. But you might know when it is feasible to take courses; for example, it is not a good idea to take all your courses in the last semester before you have to hand in your dissertation, and maybe it is not the best idea to take courses while you are abroad but then again, maybe it is, if they have an excellent course elsewhere? Also you might have some courses that you plan to take already. Put this information down, and make sure that it is updated on a regular basis.

Milestones The above items sum up what the study regulations say about what should be in the study plan....
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