I wish to write my bachelor thesis with a particular professor, who is looking for a new job. He will be there for another semester, but might leave afterwards (depending on the outcome of his job search). Due to other courses and constraints, I would prefer to do my bachelor’s thesis not in the next semester but the one afterwards, when my favorite professor may already be gone.

According to my university’s rules, the primary supervisor of my bachelor thesis needs to be at my university, so even if my favorite professor agrees to supervise me, I would have to find a primary supervisor from my university, who will be responsible for my final grade. Unfortunately, the only other professor doing my favorite topic has a very bad reputation.

As far as I see it, I have two options with three possible outcomes:

  1. I do my thesis in the next semester, having to cope with a tight schedule due to other courses.

  2. I do coursework in the next semester and my thesis in the semester after that. This bears the risk that my favorite professor is gone.

Do you see any other ways to solve this dilemma?


There may be another alternative.

Faculty change positions, sometimes even in the middle of an academic year, so there are often situations where students might get caught in the middle. The university is not likely to “punish” students because the advisor had to leave and usually make exceptions whereby the old advisor can finish the supervision of the student after their departure. I know I have done this for PhD students even after I made a similar move, so a bachelor’s or master’s thesis should be comparatively easy. The key would be to make sure the Betreuung (supervision agreement) is in place before the faculty member departs.

You should check with the office in charge of registering theses in your program before making a decision, as they will have more specific information relative to your school’s requirements and what is allowed.

  • So your suggestion would be to agree upon a supervision asap, allthough I dont have to write my b.t. right now. I would ask my professor to supervise me in a year, so summer 19, regardless if he is still at my University or not. Is that whay you propose? – anon Jul 3 '18 at 18:54
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    actually, I would also want to start to write it now, rather than deferring. You will probably get the best advice earlier in a situation like this as the supervisor will have other concerns later. You don't, likely, need to work intensively on it, but a series of drafts will make it a better work in any case. – Buffy Jul 4 '18 at 11:56
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    Almost. I’d start by contacting the potential advisor to see if he’s willing to supervise, then ask the registration office (or whoever is in charge of the bachelor’s thesis and ask “what happens if my supervisor leaves for another position?” And then do the Betreuung. – aeismail Jul 4 '18 at 11:56
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    I think this is much less likely to work for a bachelor thesis than for a PhD thesis, as there is less reason why the student can't be supervised by someone else, but it's worth asking – Jessica B Jul 20 '18 at 16:00

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