Frequently Asked Questions

The Doctoral Schools aim to provide a distinctive framework for the Doctoral Training Programme and, in so doing, increase the visibility of doctoral research and enhance its image, both within and outside the academic world. Several faculties are associated with each Doctoral School and they join forces to organise the Doctoral Training Programme. Each Doctoral School is headed by a Director responsible for the day-to-day management of his or her Doctoral School. The Director will consult with the faculties involved and the other Directors in order to determine Doctoral Training Programme policy and content.

For more information click here or consult the Doctoral School Regulations

Upon enrolment as a PhD student, you automatically (and without additional costs) become a member of one of the VUB's three Doctoral Schools, which means you can partake in the Doctoral Training Programme.

Membership of a Doctoral School does not automatically imply the participation in the Doctoral Training Programme. That choice is free for all (unless your Faculty decides otherwise).

The Doctoral Training Programme enables you to follow many kinds of activities such as regular course units, specialized course units, workshops, doctoral seminars, summer schools, master classes, etc. Activities at both VUB and UGent are usually for free, there are however a few exceptions. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to have all your research related activities acknowledged such as publications, participation in conferences and presentations, supervising activities, etc.

More information can be found here.

Upon enrolment as a PhD student, you automatically (and without additional costs) become a member of one of the VUB's three Doctoral Schools, which means you can partake in the Doctoral Training Programme.

You can check whether your Doctoral School membership has been registered on your student card. Normally the card should state your Doctoral School. If this is not the case, please contact the sac [at] vub [dot] ac [dot] be (Student Administration Center).

In short:

  • EnrolmentUpon enrolment for the PhD all new students are automatically – and without additional cost – allocated to one of the Doctoral Schools. This entitles them to partake in the Doctoral Training Programme.
  • CompulsoryThe Doctoral Training Programme is in principle not compulsory. Although individual faculties may decide to make the programme or parts of it compulsory, basing themselves on a suitability check of the prospective PhD student’s personal file. However, as of academic year 2017-2018 it is compulsory for all PhD candidates (that started their research in 2017-18 or later) to follow the Introduction Day for New PhD candidates once during their PhD trajectory.
  • Purpose: The purpose of the Doctoral Training Programme is to serve as an aid to PhD students. It enables you to take part in many kinds of activities such as regular course units, specialized course units, workshops, summer schools, master classes, etc. Activities at both the VUB and the UGent are usually for free, there are however a few exceptions. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to have all your research related activities acknowledged such as publications, participation in conferences and presentations, supervising activitities, etc.
  • The Doctoral Training Programme consists of 60 credits. A minimum of 30 credits needs to be acquired through research activities, the other 30 credits are granted after the successful defense of the doctoral dissertation.
  • Certificate or AttestationPhD students who have obtained at least 30 credits and who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis, receive a Doctoral Training Progamme Certificate (Getuigschrift van de Doctoraatsopleiding) in addition to their Doctoral diploma. PhD students who did not obtain 30 credits and/or have not successfully defended their doctoral thesis may apply for an official document. An Attestation listing the activities attended as part of the Doctoral Training Programme.

Click here for more IMPORTANT information about the programme, the credits, the enrollment procedure, the certificate, ...

The Doctoral Training Programme is in principle not compulsory, although individual faculties may decide to make the programme or parts of it compulsory, basing themselves on a suitability check of the prospective PhD student’s personal file (a procedure which is, in fact, already being applied). The faculty is free to provide a maximum term in which this compulsory programme needs to be completed. Furthermore,  it is compulsory for all PhD candidates (that started their research in 2017-18 or later) to follow the Introduction Day for New PhD candidates once during their PhD trajectory.

Doctoral School members who have obtained at least 30 credits and who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis, receive a Doctoral Training Progamme Certificate (Getuigschrift van de Doctoraatsopleiding) in addition to their Doctoral diploma.

PhD students, which are member of a Doctoral School, who did not obtain 30 credits and/or have not successfully defended their doctoral thesis may apply for an official document. An Attestation (Attest van gevolgde activiteiten), listing the activities attended as part of the Doctoral Training Programme.

You will only need 30 credits to finalise the Doctoral Training Program (the other 30 credits are granted after the successful defense of your PhD). One good indicator to look at the number of awarded credits is the time and effort that has to be invested to obtain them. Taking a regular course requires an estimated investment of 125 hours, and often produces 6 credits. Writing an article also requires a substantial time investment, and generates less than 6 credits (the number of credits depends on the type of journal). So the "mere" attendance of a DS seminar will only generate a limited number of credits.
Credits obtained after the student has taken the degree providing access to a PhD programme can still be taken into account.In order to do so, you can upload them as an external regular course in your PhD Portfolio.
Here, you will need to provide the necessary evidence that you have obtained these credits. For regular courses, you need the confirmation of your supervisor that these (course) activities are relevant for your PhD. And, as in all cases, the Doctoral School Director needs to confirm this application.

Registration depends on who is organising these activities.

  1. For activities organised by the Central PhD Office or VUB Doctoral Schools: click here
  1. For activities organised by the UGent Doctoral Schools, click here

 

If you want to register for regular course units at the VUB you can do so by using the form Registration Regular Course Units signed for approval by your supervisor and the Professor teaching the concerned course. Deposit the completed and signed form at the Central PhD Office personally, by regular mail or by email (scanned version).

As a PhD student you are, just like the regular students, obliged to respect the registration deadline. The deadline for registering for course units of the first semester is usually set mid-October, registration for course units of the second semester can be done as of the beginning of January until the end of February. The exact deadlines can be found at the top of the registration form.

 

The new Doctoral Training Programme is organised in close cooperation with the University of Gent. This ultimately means the PhD students of the VUB can partake in all activities of the UGent and vice-versa. Participation in regular course units is free for both groups with the exception of courses which are part of a program with higher tuition fees.

In order to be able to partake in regular course units at the UGent, the VUB PhD student needs to register as a guest student at the UGent. This registration needs to be done in person at the Student Administration (Ufo, St-Pietersnieuwsstraat 33, Gent), you can consult the exact procedure here. After having been registered as a guest student, you can use this form to enrol for regular courses.

In order to be able to partake in activities organised by a UGent Doctoral School, the PhD student has to follow the regular registration methods as they are described in the announcement of the event (usually through the organising Doctoral School or through the Coordination Unit).

The activities of the UGent Doctoral Schools can be found here.

PhD students of the Ghent University need to register as a guest student first via https://aanmelden.cumulus.vub.ac.be and choose 'PhD' on the programme-page. Once your registration as a guest student is completed, you can use the Registration Form Regular Courses from this page to register for regular courses. To register for participation in Doctoral Seminars please contact the Central PhD Office (doctoral [dot] schools [at] vub [dot] be).

Yes, but organisers will follow the VUB priority rules. Participants of category 5 (PhD students of other universities, post-docs and other VUB researchers, researchers from other research institutions and other people interested - which also includes MA students) might be required to pay for their participation. The standard fee for category 5 participants is 25 Euro, but another fee structure might be applied for specific activities. Contact the Central PhD Office for more info (doctoral [dot] schools [at] vub [dot] be)

In order to make sure that the target groups of specific events are guaranteed access, a set of priority rules has been developed. These rules will guide the registration of participants.
  1. DS Members with the obligation to participate
  2. Members of the organising Doctoral School(s)
  3. Members of other Doctoral School(s) at the VUB or UGent
  4. VUB PhD students that are not a member of a Doctoral School, PhD students of the UGent that are taking the old PhD Training Programme, and ULB PhD students
  5. PhD students of other universities, post-docs and other VUB researchers, researchers from other research institutions and other people interested
  1. DS members with the obligation to participate
  2. Members of the organising Doctoral School (s)
  3. Members of other Doctoral School(s) at the VUB or the UGent
  4. UGent PhD students using the old doctoral system
  5. PhD students of other universities, post-docs and other UGent researchers, researchers from other research institutions and other people interested

You are of course welcome to do PhD research at the VUB. You will find more information about the road to the PhD here. Unfortunately, the Central PhD Office does NOT provide research grants.

Your supervisor will guide you throughout the entire PhD process. Therefore it is of great importance that you choose a supervisor who has the expertise in your field of research. Expertise at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel can be found through the search engine provided here.

A supervisor always needs to be an active ZAP-(Zelfstandig Academisch Personeel - Independant Academic Personnel) member of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He or she can be supported by one or more other supervisors. The other supervisor needn't be members of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, they do however need to carry the title of "Doctor".

The supervisor is obliged to guide and stimulate the PhD student throughout the PhD process. The PhD student has the same obligation towards his/her supervisor.

In order to clarify the expectations of both parties, the "profile of a good supervisor" was drawn up by the Research Council (OZR). This document is used by the PhD Progress Monitoring Commission (CDO) in their yearly assesment of the PhD project. The commitment between supervisor and PhD student is ratified by the "Research registration Form" that needs to be filled out by both the supervisor and the PhD student with every re(appointment).

Since the PhD process usually covers several years, it could happen that your supervisor retires during this time. As an emeritus he/she can still remain your supervisor as long as you find a second supervisor who is an active member of the academic staff at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

For an overview of various types of research funding click here. These pages (on the Research & Data Management website) are dedicated to finding funds and centralizing all relevant information on project funding available to academics at the VUB. It will not only help you to find the right funding for your projects but it will also guide you through the administrative support landscape of our university.

After your enrolment and/or registration as a member of staff, it is essential that you should activate your VUB account. You will be asked to create a login and password which will allow you access to a number of electronic services, such as email, University databanks, Intranet etc. Activate your account using this link. In this way you will also receive all electronic communications sent out to students and staff.

If you will not be using the University's email services, for instance because you already have one or more email addresses, please make sure that mail sent to the VUB email address does reach you. In order to set up this procedure, use this link. This page allows you to link up your usual email address to your VUB email address so that all messages will automatically be forwarded. For answers to a range of questions concerning the computer infrastructure of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, look here.

Currently there isn't a template available yet in the VUB's corporate identity. You can however find some examples of other printwork (flyers, etc...) and guidelines in the VUB's corporate identity guide at http://huisstijl.vub.ac.be/ (Dutch only).

For the lay-out of folders, posters, invitations and brochures a.o., you can consult the Marketing, Communications and Events (MARCOM) department of the VUB. Lay-out work in the corporate identity of the VUB is free of charge. Please make sure to deliver all documentation (texts in WORD, pictures and illustrations of satisfying resolution, preferably 300dpi) and other information such as the desired format, quantity and delivery date, to the Internal and External Communication service in time (at least 14 days before the delivery date). A proof print will be made available to you on which you can add corrections or remarks. Once the print is approved you can have it either pressed (through the Communications service) or printed (through the Reproduction service). Printing and/or pressing costs need to be payed in full.

Further questions? Please contact the Internal and External Communications service, tel: 02 629 21 34 or marcom [at] vub [dot] ac [dot] be

Printing in a very large format, like A0 posters, can be done at the Computing Centre of the VUB. The prints need to be picked up on the ULB Campus.

Click here for specifications, prices and location.

The doctoral training programme at VUB is still largely free of choice, meaning that you can decide for yourself what skills you need to develop as a researcher and how you should acquire them.
The doctoral schools and the central PhD Office design the offer of workshops and seminars specifically to help you in each step of your PhD trajectory.
As of academic year 2017-2018, the first day of the introduction days for new PhD candidates is compulsory, because it includes necessary information about which services to contact, how the doctoral schools operate, what is good scientific conduct and what not, etc. You still can decide afterwards if you want to make use of the interesting and free offer of workshops by the Doctoral Schools and the Central PhD Office, or not.

The introduction days are offered twice a year: the second week of October and the second week of February. Next to that, there is also a shorter yearly introduction day at Campus Jette. You thus have up to three opportunities to follow it in the first year since you started your PhD.
If you are working abroad for a longer period of time or you have another fulltime job, you can mention this in your progress report and you will be admitted to the next academic year. Other justifications will be considered by the Doctoral Progress Monitoring Commission of each Faculty.

There are only consequences for PhD candidates who started their PhD from 2017-2018 onwards. In the progress report, you will have to mention your attendance with proof from your PhD portfolio.
In case there is no proof and no justification, you will get a warning by the Doctoral Progress Monitoring Commission. If this is repeated in the second year, you will not be able to enroll for the next academic year.

 

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