Keep your PhD-process ongoing (2023-I)

Trainer: Drs. P.C.M. Meesters (Paula), PhD-psychologist

Learning objectives

The aim of this course is to enhance skills to be able to keep your PhD-process ongoing, i.e. skills like prioritise tasks, set and agree on deadlines and achieve outcomes on time and within given constraints (such as budget). Many PhD candidates find it difficult to find a balance between expected high standards and the reality that things often turn out different than expected. To find this balance, we will focus on your responsiveness to changes, new circumstances, inevitable delays, and challenges. It helps to understand that perfectionism – a drive of many scientists – can lead to fear of failure and this can lead to procrastination or controlling behaviour.

Instructional method

The course provides an equal balance between experience (opportunity to reflect on your personal development), observation and reflection (self-tests and discussion), theoretical background (Cognitive Behavioural approach, Motivation (ACT), Kolb) and skills training (planning strategies). It is required you are willing to share some personal insights, values and experiences.


The course consists of 3 sessions of two hours each.

  • The first session is focused on defining self-management, using SMART planning, the Eisenhower Quadrant, Long Term planning and on the topic of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, using ACT techniques (Light house visualization exercise, Bull’s eye worksheet).
  • The second session deals with how to change behaviour (procrastination or controlling behaviour), using SRC model (CBT worksheet).
  • The third session is about different learning styles (Kolb).

Study load

In addition to the scheduled sessions, you should take into account an extra study load of approximately half an hour in between sessions. To prepare for the sessions you will fill out worksheets (Bull’s eye, CBT, learning style questionnaire).


Drs. Paula Meesters, PhD psychologist at Utrecht University

Group size

max. 12

Number of credits

0.2 EC

Course schedule


Cancellation and No-show policy

This course is free for GSLS PhD candidates. However: free of charge does not mean free of responsibility. Once you have signed up for a course, we expect you to attend. For every late cancellation or no-show we have had to disappoint others who would have liked to attend. This is our policy:

  • You may cancel free of charge up to 4 weeks before the start of the course. After this date you can only cancel if you have a GSLS PhD candidate to replace you in the course. Send the name and contact information of your replacement to, at least 2 working days before the start of the course;
  • We expect that you actively attend the full course, but at least 80%. It is mandatory to attend the first session. If you are absent the first session you cannot follow the remaining of the course;
  • Not meeting the above requirements means you will be charged a no-show fee (€ 50). We will send the invoice after the course has ended. We are unable to make any exceptions, unless you have a valid reason (i.e., illness or death in the family 1st/2nd degree or partner). Your supervisor has to send an e-mail to indicating the reason.

Unfortunately we don’t offer this course for participants not part of the GSLS. Our courses tend to be fully booked by GSLS PhD candidates.

Start date and time
End date and time
Utrecht Science Park
Entrance fee
This course is free for GSLS PhD candidates.

Registration for this course opens 2 months before the course start. You can register via our course portal. After opening, the portal shows how many spots are still available.

More information
PhD Course Centre