The PhD track from start to finish
MyPhD: Purpose and manuals
MyPhD is the administrative system we use for all PhD matters. It helps you and your supervisor to monitor your progress. Manuals for MyPhD are available. Procedures in MyPhD follow the rules and regulations as they are described in the Utrecht University Doctoral Degree Regulations (UU-DDR).
After you have obtained a written agreement of your appointment at the faculty, you will receive an email inviting you to complete the registration of your PhD track in MyPhD. After logging in with your SolisID, register your personal data and documents and the names of your supervisors (‘promotor’ and ‘co-promotor’) and your mentor. When in doubt consult the secretariat of your research group. Once you have completed your registration (within 3 months after the start of your contract), you forward it through MyPhD. The registration in MyPhD will be checked by the secretariats and finally approved and converted into a formal PhD track (of which you will receive notice).
All regular PhD candidates receive supervision from a PhD supervisor (‘promotor’) and a daily supervisor (‘co-promotor’). Minimum required supervision hours are 1 hour and 4 hours per month respectively (see Quality Plan of the graduate school).
Everyone involved in academic teaching and research at Utrecht University shares in the responsibility to maintain academic integrity. MyPhD registry contains an item in which you confirm that you are aware of The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity 2018 and promise that you will always perform your duties accordingly (see also your appointment letter). The graduate school will provide for further compulsory training in this aspect of teaching and doing research (in the near future).
To obtain a PhD degree, you have to fulfil the requirements laid down in the course programme of your (national) research school. In total, the Graduate School of Natural Sciences, requires a training program of 20 EC, with at least 4 EC of training of general skills, with e.g. teaching skills, academic writing and project management (see PhD courses). These 20 EC include visiting seminars, summer schools and conferences. Use MyPhD for the registration of your courses and teaching activities.
If it is not done for you, plan a meeting a.s.a.p. after the start of your contract with your (co-)promotor to discuss training and teaching activities, together fill in your Course Plan and subsequently upload the Course Plan in MyPhD under the TSA-tab. After you have taken these courses, you can register them, together with the certificates, under the Portfolio-tab in MyPhD.
During your PhD track
Every year, you will have an Assessment & Development interview (A&D) with your (co-)promotor. The first interview takes place in the twelfth month of your employment. The second A&D interview, in the sixth month of your second year, includes a decision on continuation of your project (Go/No-Go). Thereafter, A&D interviews continue every twelfth month of every year of your contract.
When an A&D interview is due, one month before the scheduled date, you will receive an email through MyPhD with the incentive for the interview. Write your progress report with the form which is provided on intranet and email this to your (co-)promotor. Before the interview, print the ‘portfolio’ form from MyPhD which recounts the formerly agreed planning of courses and teaching activities. Use the meeting to renew these agreements, e.g. on expected output, supervision, working or a research internship abroad, planned attendance of conferences (see tips and tricks), teaching activities and courses (see PhD courses). Plan with your supervisors (‘promotor’ and ‘co-promotor’) beforehand which topics will be addressed. Register the new activities you have decided on in MyPhD. Your promotor will upload a signed A&D report in MyPhD to be filed by the HR-department.
If you are not employed by Utrecht University you will have a yearly review with your supervisor(s) about your annual progress.
Most PhD candidates employed by the Science Faculty spend time on teaching activities. You can be requested to do so up to a maximum of 10 or 15% (depending on the department) of your appointment. Specific tasks and the way they are distributed differ per department and research group. The objective of these teaching activities is to gain teaching experience and improve qualifications for a future academic position, and to contribute to the teaching tasks of the department.
You are required to follow a course in teaching and supervising student research, see PhD courses for the course offerings. An example is Start to Teach , which is open to all staff members (including PhD candidates) who have little or no teaching experience. You may use MyPhD to keep track of your teaching activities.
Valorisation is one of the core tasks of Utrecht University – Teaching and Research being the other two. Valorisation activities may be targeted at the societal domain, for example, contributing to the public debate through public engagement. Economic valorisation, on the other hand, is aimed at the creation of economic value from knowledge, for example, through initiating a start-up. Valorisation may be relevant in your research as well. You may want to discuss the possibilities with your supervisors. Also, courses and workshops are available if you want to learn more about this (see PhD courses).
Finishing your PhD track
Near the end of your track, your PhD thesis will have to be approved and you will have to defend it in order to obtain your degree.
To be allowed to defend your PhD thesis and obtain your PhD, you will have to follow a number of official procedures. This starts with uploading your thesis in MyPhD, thereby asking the approval of your thesis by your (co-)promotors, at least six months before your intended date of the defense. Upon the promotors’ approval, you should contact the Beadle’s Office to assign a provisional date for the doctoral thesis defense ceremony. Approval of your thesis by your promotor sets in motion subsequent procedures which in the end results in the final approval of your thesis by the College for Doctoral Programs (of which you will receive notice).
When you have completed 20 EC of training you can apply for a certificate. To be eligible for a certificate you must upload an item of proof (e.g. a course certificate of a confirmation for registration of a conference) for each activity that you register. Contact the graduate school policy officer dr. Egbert Mulder (firstname.lastname@example.org ) to obtain one.
The UU pages on practical matters provide more information on the PhD thesis approval and the regulations to complete your PhD (including information about the ceremony and a time schedule).