PhD education

Getting your PhD is more than just conducting a research project. It is also a time during which you are expected to develop, improve, and refine your academic and transferable skills. A guideline for this is the PhD Competence Model, in essence a self-assessment tool (that we encourage you to take), that outlines a set of core competencies every PhD candidate should have. The combination of research capabilities and individual skills will prepare you for a bright career beyond the walls of Utrecht University. 

At the Graduate School of Natural Sciences you are expected to complete 20 ECTS of training of which a minimum of 20% should be dedicated to general courses.
This includes the compulsory* Responsible Conduct of Research training offered by the GSNS and may include - but is not limited to - other discipline-overarching GSNS courses (see below). Training on discipline-relevant research skills or knowledge may be offered by your institute or research school. In addition you may find suitable training elsewhere. Your complete training programme may constitute of a mixture of courses, seminars, journal clubs, PhD retreats, symposia, etc..

Please be aware that courses may involve a registration fee - talk to your supervisors about the available budget. 

Training and Supervision Agreement (TSA), training registration & progress monitoring

It is important to regularly discuss your educational needs with your supervisors.

  • At the start of your PhD trajectory you fill in the Training and Supervision Agreement (TSA) or Course Plan together with your supervisors and subsequently upload it to MyPhD under the TSA-tab.
  • After you have completed a training or course register them - together with the certificates - under the Portfolio-tab in MyPhD.
  • Discuss your progress during your annual Assessment and Development interviews with your supervisor(s) and in meetings with your mentor. You may utilize the PhD Competence Model for these discussions as well. 

*compulsory for PhDs that started on or after Sep. 1st 2021.

GSNS PhD Courses

Compulsory training - Responsible Conduct of Research

Compulsory for all PhDs that started on or after September 1st 2021

The GSNS organizes the Responsible Conduct of Research training, which consists of multiple modules, spread across the full PhD trajectory and tailored to the different stages of a PhD.
The first session in year 1 is a half-day training whereas in year 2 and year 3 the training consists of two SPOCs (Online course module combined with one or two on-campus meetings). The training is completed in year 4 with another half-day group session. During all these modules you will discuss different aspects of responsible conduct of research and academic integrity, illustrated by a wide variety of cases, and share your experiences with fellow PhD candidates. 

Please note that we currently only offer the training session of year 1 and one SPOC. Two other SPOCs (‘Data in responsible conduct of research’ & ‘Supervision, mentoring & working together’) as well as the year 4 training session will be launched in the academic year 2023/2024 & 2024/2025.

GSNS Electives

UU-wide PhD training

Language courses

Other useful information

If you have any questions or remarks regarding PhD education, please contact the Graduate School of Natural Sciences

  • How to get a PhD (Phillips and Pugh)
  • The art of Being a Scientist (Snieder and Larner)
  • Klaar in vier jaar (in Dutch) (De Bruin and Hertz)