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PhD programme

PhD Training

Graduate School of Child Development and Education

The main task of a PhD student is to do research and write a dissertation. PhD students spend about 75% of their time working on their PhD research project. The remainder of their time is spent on education (about 15%) and tasks in teaching (about 10% of the time).

Supervisors offer the PhD student training as part of the supervision of the PhD research project. Besides this guidance from supervisors, PhD students often receive PhD training organized by a national research school. Since the introduction of the Graduate Schools in the Netherlands, not all national research schools have continued to offer education programmes for PhD students. Consequently, graduate schools have been setting up PhD education programmes. PhD students at the Department of Child Development and Education can now receive PhD training from the Graduate School of Child Development and Education as well as from national research schools, if the supervisors and the PhD student choose this combined training.

The aim of the PhD education programme

The aim of the PhD training at the Graduate School of Child Development and Education is to help students to become highly qualified scientific researchers. After finishing their PhD project, students should have an in-depth overview of their research area, be acquainted with relevant research methods and analyses, and be able to present and publish their results for an international audience of researchers.They should also have basic knowledge of teaching, to be well prepared for an academic career within the university. A certificate of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education is awarded to the PhD student upon completion of the PhD training according to the standards described in the next section.

  • PhD Training

    The PhD student will receive a certificate if the following requirements are fulfilled:

    1. The education programme consists of: (a) specialization into the subject of the PhD study, (b) methods and statistics, (c) other support courses (e.g., writing academic English) and (d) basics of teaching.
    2. The PhD training in total is worth a minimum of 36 credits (ECTS).
    3. The content fits the subject of the PhD thesis. The PhD student proposes his or her own programme, in consultation with his/her supervisors. 
    4. The PhD student's education programme is approved by the Graduate Studies Committee.
    5. The Graduate Studies Committee judges whether the components of the proposed programme: (a) form a consistent whole and fit the thesis subject, (b) are of sufficient quality (all parts at least at master level), (c) are of sufficient size (1 credit = 28 hours at the required level).

    The components of the PhD education programme can be taken from the Master and Research Master programmes of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education or from another graduate school of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences of the University of Amsterdam, from the education programmes of the national research schools Institute for the Study of Education and Human Development (ISED), Interuniversity Centre for Educational Research (ICO), Interuniversity Graduate School of Psychometrics and Sociometrics (IOPS), or from an education programme elsewhere.


    A course in basics of teaching and didactic knowledge prepares PhD’s for a Basic Teaching Qualification (Dutch acronym: BKO) that is a requirement for academic teaching in Dutch universities. In addition, conference attendance (preferably international) can also be considered as a component of the education programme, up to a maximum of 6 credits (ECTS) in total.

    Three examples of programmes

    Example A

    1. Two in-depth courses in pedagogics or educational science together accounting for 12 credits, taken from the Master programme of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education and/or from ICO or ISED.
    2. A methods and statistics course (a basic course) and a course in multilevel data analysis together accounting for 18 credits, taken from the  Research Master programme of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education.
    3. Course in basics of teaching and didactic knowledge (2 credits).
    4. Training in writing academic texts in English for 6 credits, taken from the PhD education programme of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education.
    5. Participation in a Summer/Winter School for PhD students at a national research school for 2 credits. 

    Example B

    1. Two in-depth courses in pedagogics or educational science together accounting for 12 credits, taken from the Master programme of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education and/or from ICO or ISED.
    2. A methods and statistics course (a basic course), a course in structural equation modelling and a course in qualitative analysis together accounting for 24 credits, taken from the Master programme of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education and from a national research school or another graduate school of the faculty.
    3. Course in basics of teaching and didactic knowledge (2 credits).
    4. Participation in a Summer/Winter School for PhD students at a national research school for 2 credits.

    Example C

    1. An in-depth course in pedagogics or educational science for 6 credits, taken from the Master programme of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education and/or from ICO or ISED.
    2. Courses in multilevel data analysis, structural equation modelling, longitudinal data analysis and meta-analysis together accounting for 26 credits, taken from the Master programme of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education and from another graduate school of the faculty.
    3. Course in basics of teaching and didactic knowledge (2 credits).
    4. Training in writing academic texts in English for 6 credits, taken from the PhD education programme of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education.

    As already indicated, components of the PhD education programme taken from a national research school are valid for the PhD training of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education. For the specific requirements of the PhD training organized by the national research schools ISED, ICO and IOPS, we refer to their websites.

  • PhD training tailored to individual needs

    The education programme can be tailored in specific cases. PhD students may decide, in consultation with their supervisors, the director of the research institute and the programme director of their research programme, not to follow an entire PhD education programme, possibly because this would require too much preparatory education.

    Furthermore, the PhD student may not be planning for a future as a researcher, which makes the training for carrying out their own PhD project more relevant. The education programme can be tailored in such cases. This can be discussed with the programme director. The PhD student and his/her supervisors can together design a plan. The PhD training director can act as advisor and mediator. So as to leave no doubt: following a limited number of courses and training does not result in the award of the PhD training certificate of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education. In order to obtain this certificate, it is necessary to fulfil all the requirements described earlier.

  • Exemptions

    PhD students can receive exemptions on the basis of certificates obtained earlier. In most cases this will apply to PhD students with a research master diploma. All PhD students propose an education programme worth 36 credits, but this programme may include courses that they completed earlier, up to a maximum of 18 credits.

    The Graduate Studies Committee of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education judges if and to what extent training completed or to be completed elsewhere could lead to dispensation from the requirements for its own certificate. The Graduate Studies Committee does not only consider the quality and size of the substitute components but also considers the consistency of the PhD student's education programme.

  • Application and Admission

    Application

    Supervisors register the PhD student to the Graduate School of Child Development and Education and possibly also to one of the national research schools. PhD students who apply to the Graduate School of Child Development and Education for training must obtain the approval of the director of the Graduate School and the director of the Research Institute.

    After application, PhD students submit an education programme that must be approved by the supervisors of the PhD student and the Graduate Studies Committee. Any changes must be submitted to and approved by the Graduate Studies Committee.

    Once a year the PhD student submits a written overview of his/her progress in the education programme to the programme director of the PhD training.

    PhD student admission

    All PhD students at the Department of Child Development and Education are admitted to the PhD training of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education provided they intend to fulfil the requirements outlined above. By exception, PhD students of other graduate schools may also be admitted to the programme.