Training and education

PhD candidates receive training in thematic research areas (via the PhD programmes) and professional development (general skills courses of the 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 and well-trained PhDs.

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?

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 as the former Training and Supervision Agreement is incorporated in 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 your specific PhD programme.

Note, although you will be registered to one programme only you 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 you can shape your own learning processes. A self-assessment form can be used in conjunction with the model to help you plan and monitor your 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 you the opportunity to shape your skills according to the PhD Competence Model.

Our courses are meant to help you in your current research project and in your 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.