Assessment of PhD candidates

Instructions for assessing PhD candidates.

Please use a scale from 4.0 to 1.0 for your assessment. This scale is a linear scale that corresponds to the GPA scale used by US

universities. The interpretation of the grades is in terms of percentiles:

4.0: top  1%

3.5: top 10%

3.0: top 25%

2.0: top 50%

The aim is to identify the top 10% for PhD funding. Please use the overall suitability grade (see below) to express how strongly you

support funding this student, taking all factors into consideration, including the appropriateness of his/her research interests. A grade

of 3.5 or higher normally indicates that a student is fundable.

Examples for the use of the scale are included below.



Grades achieved

Universities attended:

4.0: top international university, e.g., Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge

3.5: top national university, e.g., Edinburgh, ETH, Technion, Saarbruecken, Beijing

3.0: lesser known university, e.g., Brighton, Osnabrueck

2.0: obscure university


References provided

4.0: stellar references from leaders in the field

3.5: good references from reliable people

3.0: lukewarm references from lesser known people

2.0: negative references


Research proposal

4.0: strong evidence of research potential; proposal is highly innovative, demonstrates excellent knowledge of the literature and a firm grasp of the relevant methodology

3.5: evidence of research potential; proposal demonstrates originality and knowledge of the literature but requires some additional work (e.g., because it lacks focus)

3.0: limited evidence of research potential; proposal lacks originality and requires a lot of additional work

2.0: little evidence of research potential


Potential supervisor

Overall suitability:

4.0: candidate should definitely be funded

3.5: candidate is fundable in principle

3.0: candidate should only be funded if resources allow

2.0: candidate should not be funded


Recommended decision

Reject on academic grounds:

Reject on research grounds:

Further consideration by institute:

Consider for internal funding competition:

Recommend immediate offer of admission: