Doctoral Symposium


The goal of the Doctoral Symposium is to provide a supportive yet questioning setting in which PhD students can present their work, to provide an opportunity for students to attend ICSE, and to support the ICSE mission as a world-leading venue for software engineering research. Students will be able to discuss their goals, methods, and results at an early stage in their research. The Symposium aims to provide students with useful guidance and feedback on various aspects of their research from established researchers and the other student attendees. The Doctoral Symposium also seeks to support the students in the development of their natural scientific curiosity and to facilitate their networking within the scientific community.



The technical scope of the Symposium is that of ICSE. The Symposium enables Ph.D. students to interact with their peers at a similar stage in their careers and with established researchers in the broader software engineering community.

Students should consider participating in the Doctoral Symposium after they have settled on a dissertation topic with some initial research results. Students should be at least a year from completion of their dissertation (at the time of the Symposium), to obtain maximum benefit from participation.

The Doctoral Symposium is open to Ph.D. students at any stage of their research, whereby students at the initial stage (first or second year) will be able to challenge their ideas and current research directions, while students at a more mature stage (third or fourth year) will be able to present their thesis and get advice for improvement and for better exposition of their contributions and conclusions.



Each prospective student participant will submit a package of materials (described below) for consideration by the Doctoral Symposium Committee. The Doctoral Symposium Committee will select participants using the following criteria: 

  • The potential quality of the research and its relevance to software engineering.
  • Quality of the research abstract.
  • The stage of the research.
  • Diversity of background, research topics and approaches.

Students should not infer that a list of prior publications is in any way expected or required; we welcome submissions from students for whom this will be their first formal submission as well as those who have previously published.


How to Submit

To apply as a student participant in the Doctoral Symposium, you should prepare a submission package consisting of two parts, both of which must be submitted by 1 December 2011. 


Part 1: Research Abstract (max. 4 pages)

Your research abstract must conform to the ICSE 2012 formatting and submission instructions

The research abstract should cover:

  • The technical problem to be solved with a justification of its importance.
  • An account of related and prior work explaining why this has not solved the problem.
  • The research problem or question.
  • A sketch of the proposed approach or solution.
  • The expected contributions of your dissertation research.
  • Progress in solving the stated problem.
  • The methods you are using or will use to carry out your research
  • A plan for evaluating your work and presenting credible evidence of your results to the research community.
  • A list of any publications either appeared, accepted or submitted for which the student is an author. Where the student has no such other publications this should be indicated for clarity. 

Students at the initial stage of their research might have some difficulty in addressing some of these areas, but should make the best attempt. The research abstract should include the title of your work, your name, your advisor, your email address, postal address, personal website, and a one paragraph short summary in the style of an abstract for a regular paper. Submissions should contain no proprietary or confidential material and should cite no proprietary or confidential publications.

Submissions that do not comply with the foregoing instructions will be desk rejected without review.

Research abstracts must be submitted electronically by the stated deadline.


Part 2: Letter of Recommendation

Please ask your dissertation advisor for a letter of recommendation. This letter should include your name and a candid assessment of the current status of your dissertation research and an expected date for dissertation submission. The letter should be in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), and sent to: Daniela Damian and Andreas Zeller with the subject: ICSE 2012 DOCTORAL SYMPOSIUM RECOMMENDATION.


Important Dates

Abstract submissions: December 1, 2011

Notification: January 27, 2012

Camera ready copy: March 16, 2012



All authors of accepted contributions will be asked to complete an IEEE Copyright form and will receive further instructions for preparing their camera ready versions. Authors must register for the ICSE 2012 Doctoral Symposium and present the results at the Symposium in Zurich. All accepted research abstracts will be published in the conference electronic proceedings which will also be available as printed proceedings.

Doctoral Symposium participants will have some priority to the student support and student volunteer programs of ICSE 2012.


Doctoral Symposium Co-Chairs

Daniela Damian, University of Victoria, Canada

Andreas Zeller, University of Saarland, Germany


Doctoral Symposium Committee

Tevfik Bultan, University of California Santa Barbara, USA

Premkumar Devanbu, University of California Davis, USA

Laura Dillon, Michigan State University, USA

Mark Harman, University College London, UK

Mary Jean Harrold, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

Wilhelm Schäfer, University of Paderborn, Germany

Laurie Williams, North Carolina State University, USA