Training and education

During the PhD track PhD candidates are enabled to follow training and education to . Education in this sense is loosely defined and refers to retreats, courses, workshops, journal clubs, seminars, masterclasses, (presenting at) conferences and symposia.  provide this via our thematic PhD programmes) and PhD Course Centre at the Graduate School of Life Sciences. The broad variety of general courses, thematic courses, external courses and other activities offered results in highly qualified PhDs, well prepared for a career inside or outside academia. 

PhD candidates are expected to collect 20 European credits (EC) during a four-year track (or 5 EC per year of full time research appointment). As part of completing a PhD track a PhD candidate may apply for the GS-LS Training Certificate. The candidate needs to provide evidence of fulfilment in the form of a PhD Training Portfolio which includes course certificates, conference attendance etc. The director/coordinator of the PhD programme evaluates the qualification for the Training Certificate on behalf of the Board of Studies of the GS-LS. More information about the procedure and application of the Training Certificate.

Training and Supervision Agreement

The information below is applicable to PhD candidates who started their PhD before February 2019.

To safeguard the quality of the training and supervision of PhD candidates, the Graduate School of Life Sciences introduced a uniform ‘Training and Supervision Agreement' for all PhD candidates who follow a regular PhD track within the school. 

The ‘Training and Supervision Agreement' (TSA) of the Graduate School of Life Sciences specifies the rights and duties of the PhD candidate and his/her supervisors with respect to education and supervision during the PhD track. If the requirements of this contract are fully met, the candidate will be eligible to receive the Utrecht Graduate School of Life Sciences Certificate.

Note: a PhD candidate carries out his/her PhD project within a PhD programme of the Graduate School of Life Sciences. Please read the TSA carefully and entirely before completion, since the TSA itself contains all details on training and supervision as well as on administrative procedures.

Starting in 2019 or later

As from January 2019 PhD candidates starting their PhD track as from January 2019 will use MyPhD for registration to Utrecht University's PhD track and the Graduate School of Life Sciences. The former Training and Supervision Agreement is incorporated into MyPhD.

As part of the former TSA-form each PhD candidate filled out a course plan. This plan included courses, workshops and/or other training tailored to the PhD candidate's needs and wishes for personal development. All other parts of the former TSA are incorporated in MyPhD, except for the course plan. PhD's are encouraged to use our Course Plan-form, discuss it with their supervisor(s) and PhD programme coordinator after which it can be uploaded into MyPhD.

Thematic training in PhD programmes

Thematic training consists of a variety of elements such as participation in journal clubs, lab meetings, seminars, conferences, courses, PhD retreats and other activities organised by the specific PhD programme.

Note, although PhD candidates will be registered to one programme only they may participate in training activities of all other PhD programmes of the GS-LS as well, free of charge, if space permits. 

Courses organised by PhD programmes can be found via the dedicated programme's websites.

PhD competences and skills

The Graduate School of Life Sciences uses the PhD Competence Model as a method of personal development and career orientation. The model defines a set of core competences for PhD candidates:

  • Research Skills & Knowledge
  • Responsible Conduct of Science
  • Communication
  • Personal Effectiveness
  • Teaching
  • Leadership & Management
  • Professional Development.

This set acts as a guideline for professional career development, and as recognition of acquired competences. By using this model, PhD candidates can shape their own learning processes. A self-assessment form can be used in conjunction with the model to help PhDs plan and monitor their development during the PhD track. 

Training, courses and workshops in these fields can be found in our PhD Course Centre.

PhD Course Centre

The PhD Course Centre of the Graduate School of Life Sciences offers PhD candidates the opportunity to shape their skills according to the PhD Competence Model.

Our courses are meant to help PhDs in their current research project and in their future career, be it in research or otherwise. These courses complement our PhD programmes (with their thematic courses) and PhD events. 
In addition, we offer support for supervisors (promotores and copromotores) to get the best out of their research team.

Find out more about the PhD Course Centre.