PhD Training & Education
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) offers several types of training for PhD candidates and Postdocs.
Requirements and the Training & Supervision Plan (TSP)
Focus of PhD training and education is the acquisition of the T-shaped Skills. In general, up to 15% of a PhD candidate’s time is spent on training and education which comes down to 30-32 ECTS (European Credits). PhD candidates can furthermore spend up to 10% on teaching.
In the first three months upon starting the project, a Training and Supervision Plan (TSP) is formulated by the candidate and supervisors. In this plan, the candidate and supervisors agree on a tailor-made training and education programme that matches the aims of the PhD project and the wishes of the candidate with regard to acquiring in-depth knowledge, and developing skills and competences. The TSP expresses the right of PhD candidates to receive training and education as part of their PhD programme. Although the TSP is a formal document it should particularly be seen as a document that allows an open discussion on the needs and interests of PhD training, supervision and other elements of the programme (i.e. co-authorship, teaching duties, progress evaluation, go / no-go decision).
The format and requirements of the TSP slightly vary between the Graduate Schools. This is described on the website of the Graduate School the PhD candidate is affiliated with. Generally, the candidate first has an introduction meeting with the PhD Programme coordinator/manager of the Graduate School. In this meeting the candidate is informed about the PhD programme, procedures to be followed, tasks, responsibilities and details of the TSP. Once the TSP has been filled in and all agree upon the content, it is signed by the candidate and supervisor(s) and submitted to the Graduate School.
The chair group of the PhD candidate provides a budget to support the PhD candidate in financing training and education activities (i.e. courses or travel, boarding and registration expenses for conferences). This budget, the ‘education rucksack’, is a minimum of €3500 for the 4-year period.
When the PhD candidate has completed the training and education activities and these meet the criteria of the Graduate School, a Training and Education Certificate can be requested from the Graduate School. The certificate lists the training and education activities the candidate has performed and is awarded to the candidate together with the PhD degree after public defence. The education activities are also be listed in the thesis. A request for a Training and Education Certificate and the list of education activities to be published in the thesis is done when the reading version of the thesis is submitted for evaluation. Here too procedures and criteria vary between Graduate Schools which are described on the Graduate Schools websites.
Courses and activities for PhD candidates
Courses organised by the Graduate Schools of Wageningen University & Research
Three types of courses can be identified:
All Graduate Schools of Wageningen University & Research offer an array of in-depth, topical courses lying in the specific fields of research of the Graduate School concerned. These courses can also be offered in collaboration with other Graduate Schools
All Graduate Schools offer a host of methodological courses
Graduate Schools of Wageningen University & Research annually organise one to two interdisciplinary on-site courses which are very often held in a developing country. In these courses an interdisciplinary group of (international) lecturers and participants address a topic that has clear relevance for the location where the course is given. Examples are Land Dynamics, Farming Systems and Rural Livelihoods, Human-Induced Land Degradation and The Science of Conservation. All Graduate Schools offer a host of methodological courses.
See the following list of the Graduate School Webpages where the courses are listed*:
*Plesase note that, apart from the jointly organised courses by WGS, as a (WUR) PhD you can participate in mostly all courses offered regardless of your own research school, unless stated otherwise.
Skills, competence and career oriented courses
Wageningen Graduate Schools (WGS) offer a large variety of competence strengthening, research ethics, career building and language skills courses. For an overview of the courses offered see: https://wgs.crs.wur.nl/
Other activities (symposia, seminars, discussion groups, workshops, excursions)
The Graduate Schools also organise an array of activities to stimulate scientific interaction. Each school has its own set of fixed activities and ad-hoc symposia, workshops and seminars. These can be found on Graduate School website.
Courses, activities organised by others than the Graduate Schools of Wageningen University
PhD candidates can also follow courses and scientific meetings outside Wageningen University & Research. These can be paid for with education rucksack money and are credited in the TSP when approved by the supervisor(s).
Support in career development
As listed on the WGS courses site Wageningen Graduate Schools organise various courses, assessments and workshops to support PhD candidates with their career perspectives. Moreover, Wageningen University & Research also offers a career event, generally in February, in which one can visit various workshops to orientate on the career possibilities and meet with an array of employers.