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[Discipline related skills]
A+BE | Research Proposal for Architecture and the Built Environment
Feb 6th, 2017
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[Discipline related skills]
A+BE | Qualitative Research Methods for Architecture and the Built Environment
Feb 9th, 2017
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Doctoral Education

The majority of newly qualified PhD holders will leave the academic world and take up a professional career. The Doctoral Education (DE) programme has been set up to improve a PhD candidate’s abilities both as a future researcher and as a professional. It is therefore based on a matrix of learning outcomes (competences and skills) and meant to encourage a timely completion of the PhD programme and to broaden PhD candidates’ future career prospects.

For whom?

All PhD candidates who will have their thesis defence at TU Delft must follow the Doctoral Education programme. 'Old-style' PhD candidates and internal and external PhD candidates who were registered prior to 1 January 2014 do not have to follow the programme, but are encouraged to take some of the courses.


To complete the Doctoral Education programme, you must earn 45 GS credits (1 GS credit = 8 hours of coursework + 4 hours of preparation/assignment). The programme is divided into three skills categories. The total 45 GS credits are divided equally among these categories:

  •             Discipline-related skills (15 GS credits)

The discipline-related skills category focuses on giving you a greater breadth and depth of knowledge in the field of your doctoral research.

  •             Research skills (15 GS credits)

The focus of the research skills category is to improve your ability to conduct scientific research, and improve the skills needed for a role as a researcher in an academic environment.

  •             Transferable skills (15 GS credits)

The transferable skills category focuses on personal and professional development, which will help you now and in your future career.

How to obtain credits

You can earn credits in all three categories of Doctoral Education by taking courses. In the research skills category, you can also earn credits by ‘Learning on the Job’ (see below).

Learning on the Job

Learning on the Job only applies to the research skills category. It consists of a number of research activities that are part of your PhD research, such as writing a research proposal or giving a presentation. You should earn 5–15 GS Credits in the research skills category through Learning on the Job. The list of Learning on the Job activities and the credits associated with them can be found here: Learning on the Job overview.

As of November 21st 2015, Graduate School A+BE works with its own list. The list differs slightly from the generic list and includes a few activities specific to our domain.


Courses can be taken for all three categories of Doctoral Education. For each course you can earn a maximum of 5 GS credits, summer schools included. Courses can be obtained from a variety of providers.

  •              TU Delft University Graduate School (UGS)

UGS offers a number of courses in both the transferable skills category and the research skills category. For the transferable skills category the courses are free of charge for all PhD candidates at the School. An overview of these courses is available on the transferable skills course overview. The introduction course and one of the C10 professional development courses are mandatory. Other courses you can choose at your discretion, but always in consultation with your supervisors. Course registration is via Blackboard. Please read the instructions for first time enrolment. There are also  instructions on film, explaining how to enroll via Blackboard.   

For the research skills courses, UGS charges €160 per course day. An overview of these courses is available in the research skills course overview.

  •             Graduate School A+BE

Graduate School A+BE has developed PhD courses in the categories discipline-related skills and research skills. These courses are free of charge for all PhD candidates at the School. The A+BE courses Research Proposal and Capita Selecta are mandatory for all A+BE PhD candidates.

  •              MSc courses

Courses from MSc programmes can be used to earn your Doctoral Education credits. If you participate in a regular MSc course and take the exam, the ECTS of the course are converted into GS Credits (1 ECTS = 1 GS credit). For the research skills and discipline-related skills, there are MSc courses available at the School. A selection of these courses (with a focus on research methods) can be found in the course list. The full offer of MSc courses is detailed in the online study guide. Other universities both in the Netherlands and around the world also offer relevant MSc courses. Please contact us to check that the quality of the institution meets the School’s requirements.

  •              Research schools

Graduate School A+BE participates in two research schools:
- Nethur (Netherlands Graduate School of Urban and Regional Research)
- OSK (Dutch Postgraduate School for Art History)

The courses offered are in the categories research skills and discipline-related skills. If you completed a doctoral course at a research school or other organisation, your credits are determined by the duration of the course, not by the number of credits as stated by the provider. 1 GS credit = roughly 8 hours of coursework + 4 hours of preparation/assignment. If in doubt, contact us. 

  •             Online courses

Online providers such as EdX and coursera offer MOOCs and other online courses. For your Doctoral Education programme you can earn a maximum of 10 GS credits via online learning (a maximum of 5 GS credits per course). The promoter is responsible for the quality of the courses chosen. Discuss thoroughly and stay sharp: is this a course at BSc/MSc/PhD level? Only MSc and PhD level courses are allowed.

  •              Other providers

It is also possible to earn credits at summer schools and by taking courses at other institutions. We only announce those that are of value for multiple PhD candidates, so bear in mind that there is much more out there! Start your search from within the networks of your supervisors. If you find an interesting summer school or course yourself, please let us know, so we can check whether the quality meets the School’s requirements. If so, we can share it with the other PhD candidates.

Planning and keeping track of Doctoral Education

During the PhD agreement meeting (which is held after your first 3 months at the School), you will discuss with your supervisory team your planning for the courses and Learning on the Job activities you intend to take. Once this planning is agreed upon you should keep track of your Doctoral Education planning and progress in the Doctoral Monitoring Application (DMA). This planning should be approved in DMA by the supervisory team. As this planning is subject to change and courses will be completed, the PhD candidate should update DMA after each mandatory progress meeting, after which the supervisory team has to re-approve the adjusted planning and progress.

Credits and registering attended courses


In order to earn credits for attending a course, you have to get this course attendance form signed by the lecturer of the course (this also applies to MSc courses). If you receive an official certificate for the course you have followed, you may also use this as your proof of participation.

For online courses for which you do not receive a certificate you can use this online course attendance form. This proof of participation has to be uploaded in DMA in order for you to obtain credits for the course.

Learning on the Job

For Learning on the Job activities there is a special course attendance form. The requirement here is that you choose these Learning on the Job activities in agreement with your supervisors. Please refer to the Learning on the Job activities table for an overview of activities that qualify for Learning on the Job and the number of credits you can receive for these activities.

Obtaining the Doctoral Education certificate

When you have finished the Doctoral Education programme, you have to apply for the doctoral education certificate (which you need in order to get a date for your thesis defence ceremony). The process of applying for the certificate is as follows:

  1. Make sure all your courses and Learning on the Job activities are registered in DMA correctly (for the courses make sure you have uploaded the course attendance forms as well).
  2. Ask your supervisory team for approval of your Doctoral Education programme.
  3. Send an email to us asking for a final check of your Doctoral Education programme.
  4. Graduate School A+BE checks your Doctoral Education programme. If you fulfil all requirements, you'll get the doctoral education certificate. If not, you'll be told what to do.

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