PhD Success Lab


Why join PhD Success Lab

Do you want to make it through your PhD on time successfully and without unnecessary stress and struggle? Join the PhD Success Lab and acquire all the skills necessary to do exactly that.

In our 12-week digital mentoring programme, you’ll hammer out specific objectives and divise a crystal clear plan for your PhD project that will guide you all the way through PhD completion. You’ll learn a sophisticated system to monitor your progress in regular intervals so you’ll never ever feel lost.

Time and project management
During PSL, you revamp the way you spend your time, developing a laser-sharp focus on key outputs so you spend your day and weeks on exactly those activities that move your project forward. We’ll train you to shed unhelpful beliefs about yourself, and you’ll adapt the mindset of a successful PhD candidate instead.

Dissertation writing
Difficulties with dissertation writing are a thing of the past after PhD Success Lab. We’ll show you how to plan the writing of your dissertation, including all activities that have to be completed until hand-in day. During PhD Success Lab, you’ll learn the specific writing approach that the most productive scientific writers use, and you’ll join an interactive writing exercise to get started right away – no matter how far you are in your PhD.

We’ll teach you the techniques you need to communicate with your supervisors in an efficient and reliable way. You’ll learn approaches to solicit better feedback, and you’ll get real-time advice how to tackle sensitive or problematic discussions. We’ll also show you how to bring your supervisors on board regarding your completion plans so they can support you in achieving a timely PhD submission.

Small weekly units
The entire programme is rolled out fully digital in short and specific weekly units, all video-based, so you can work on the lessons whenever it suits you. Implementation is easy and fun with our extensive accompanying course material. 

Life-time access
You’ve got 24/7 access to our course platform, including all videos, audio files and PDF worksheets. On top of that, you’ll enjoy live sessions with our dedicated instructor and PhD expert Dr. Bärbel Tress, who’ll be available throughout the programme. 


What you’ll learn

  • Defining the PhD project and project goals
  • Identifying work packages
  • Estimating project duration
  • Scheduling project tasks
  • Monitoring and controlling PhD progress
  • Increasing personal organisation
  • Enhancing commitment
  • Identifying key outputs
  • Setting weekly goals
  • Planning daily work
  • Clarifying thesis requirements
  • Defining a timeline for dissertation writing
  • Adopting efficient writing strategies
  • Interactive dissertation writing challenge
  • Responsibilities of PhD students and supervisors
  • Organising productive supervisory meetings
  • Getting better supervisory feedback
  • Discussing difficulties with supervisors
  • Incorporating control tools in supervision


10 modules
27 lessons
5 live-support sessions
2 implementation weeks




Join alone or with your colleagues, any group size can enrol!


12 weeks, short weekly units
life-long access


Dr. Bärbel Tress


Whether beginner or close to completion, you'll benefit at any stage

Get Started Yourself

How We Helped Others With
PhD Success Lab

PhD candidate Magdalena Keindl, University of Bergen, Norway

“Even though I joined the PhD Success Lab in my final year of my PhD, it had the power to make a difference and increase my productivity. By spending about an hour per week on my PSL homework, I managed to get a better overview of my remaining PhD tasks and to structure my days efficiently. But most importantly PhD Success Lab gave me the confidence to finish my PhD in time. I am still impressed over how the tips and tricks I received in PSL magically eradicated my fear of writing and am now ready to dive into my thesis. PSL will not only help you to finish your PhD on time, but it does also teach you convenient project and time management tools which can be applied in any future job.”

Magdalena, PhD candidate, Medical Science, Molecular Biology

University of Bergen, Norway

Susana PhD candidate

“The PSL course gave me the amazing opportunity to structure my PhD better and widen my set of management skills in order to head into my research project with an organized mindset. What I have enjoyed the most throughout the course was having generated a great roadmap in order to navigate the PhD waters better, while sharing and learning from the highly experienced trainer!”

Susanna, PhD candidate

University of Bremen, Germany

Corinna PhD Candidate

“Thank you for this really helpful and interesting course!! I really enjoyed it and with each module that I worked through I learned how to manage this big PhD project a bit better. Without this course I would have been lost in all my tasks and duties. I absolutely enjoyed the live sessions, in which we talked about the PSL modules, what we were working on. We also shared personal experiences with different kinds of struggles during our PhD. I really appreciate that I got so much helpful advice.”

Corinna, PhD candidate

University of Bremen, Germany


“The PhD Success Lab has been great. Not just the content, but the contact with Bärbel and the other PhD candidates. We covered many topics that make you work more efficiently, but also about coping emotionally with juggling life, PhD, family.”

Fiza, PhD candidate

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Norwegian University of Life Sciences - logo

“I’ve had so much help from attending the PhD Success Lab! During autumn I felt demotivated and frustrated by my own situation, feeling slow and not being able to take action. Now that I’ve worked on sharpening the objectives, planning the project in detail, and seen how important it is to plan the day and week ahead, I feel much more in control and I start believing that I can do this [PhD].”

Berit, PhD candidate

Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway

Sabrin, PhD candidate

“Before I started this course with Bärbel I was totally stuck with my PhD. I had never thought that steps to control my PhD are available in any form of courses. I have joined several courses prior to PSL, but this course gives you all information you need in an organised way. It makes every step on the way to the PhD more feasible just by following the advice in the modules and start to build up the suggested habits. I have benefited a lot from the lessons about project management. And also, how to communicate better with my supervisors so now I benefit more from meetings I have with them. Additionally, communication with my fellows in the PSL insiders discussion group and sharing stories to support each other were extremely helpful. After PSL I am now networking with other PSL participants and we are contacting and supporting each other. Moreover, I enjoyed our live discussions with Bärbel on how to apply the steps of the programme in the best way and about our individual problems that we were facing in our PhD life.
I can say that this course offered me what I needed – especially that you do not need to struggle; you can learn how to do a PhD with minimum stress. That is why I extremely recommend this course for international students especially. Thanks Bärbel for the amazing programme.”

Sabrin, PhD candidate

University of Bremen, Germany


“As a member of the graduate school GLOMAR (MARUM, University Bremen), I was given the opportunity to participate in the PhD Success Lab. The programme offers a great balance between organisational PhD project management and inner mindset development and support. All learning materials and tools are comprehensibly introduced by Bärbel (and Gunther) who are also extremely supportive, knowledgeable and have a high motivational power which is transported through their videos and live sessions. A great advantage of this programme is the possibility to work on the course content at your own pace in combination with unlimited access to the learning platform and all materials therein.
This well-structured 12-week programme equipped me with the tools and motivation to finalise my PhD according to my deadlines while managing and accomplishing all other additional tasks in an effective and sustainable manner. I highly recommend this holistic course to every PhD Candidate – to the one who has just hit the PhD road as well as to the one who is at the end of the long and challenging journey!”

Carolin, PhD candidate

Marum, Bremen University, Germany

Navya, PhD candidate

“I want to thank the entire PSL Team. PhD Success Lab is a great programme to learn about the PhD journey. It is a programme to manage the entire PhD life – starting with a project plan until writing the final dissertation. PSL helped me write more research publications in quality time. It guided me to understand my PhD objectives with SMART analysis and taught me to streamline myself towards my goal. PSL’s suggestions of task managers such as Todoist and Trello are of great help. The efficient writing strategies that were provided helped me immensely with my writing progress. All PSL modules are my favourites!”

Navya, PhD candidate

University of Oldenbrug, Germany