For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
You are using a browser that is no longer supported by Microsoft. Please upgrade your browser. The site may not present itself correctly if you continue browsing.
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).

The aim of the PhD education programme

The aim of PhD training at the Research Institute for Child Development and Education (RICDE) is to support doctoral candidates to become highly qualified scientific researchers. The RICDE and the Graduate School of Child Development and Education (GSCDE) closely collaborate to train candidates to become competent and self-reliant researchers who substantially contribute to institute’s the research programmes, and who will have gratifying research careers inside or outside academia.

Research project, education, and teaching

The core component of PhD training at the RICDE is conducting original research to advance research knowledge and skills. Candidates therefore spend around 75% of their time on their PhD research project. Additional components include education to advance their academic and broader professional development (around 15% of their time) and teaching (around 10% of their time).

Supervisors offer the PhD candidate training as part of the supervision of the PhD research project. Besides this guidance from supervisors, PhD candidates often receive PhD training organized by a national research school. Since the introduction of the Graduate Schools in the Netherlands, PhD candidates can also receive PhD training from the Graduate Schools. A combination of courses and components taken at the Graduate School of Child Development and Education as well as from national research schools is also possible. For the specific requirements of the PhD training organized by the national research schools ISED, ICO and IOPS, we refer to their websites.

  • PhD education as part of higher education

    In line with the Bologna Process, the PhD phase is considered education is the third phase of higher education, following the Bachelor and Master phase. This third phase is much less standardized than the first and second phase and comes with greater responsibility for the candidates themselves to design their learning process.

    Candidates design their own learning process by setting personal learning goals and self-monitoring their learning experiences towards obtaining these goals. Candidates design their personal education plan to facilitate learning and critical reflection on learning. Because we train doctoral candidates to not only contribute to scientific debates, but to also be an active citizen and ethical leader, the education plan transcends basic research knowledge and skills, and also includes broader professional development such as research ethics and integrity.

  • Standardized and personalized

    Education plans are both standardized, ensuring that all candidates reach key intended learning objectives, and personalized, acknowledging the wide diversity in candidates’ backgrounds and future career paths. This is realized by ensuring that all candidates cover basic learning objectives pertaining to their research area and more general academic and professional skills, and allowing candidates to formulate their personal learning objectives within each of these domains.

  • Personal PhD education plan template and guidelines
    - Demonstrate an understanding of your broader research area, and specialist knowledge of your specific research area.
    - Demonstrate familiarity with relevant research methodology.
    Intended Learning Outcome (ILO) Intended Learning Activity (ILA) Self-Assessment (SA)
    • ...
    • ...
    • ...
    • ...
    • ...
    • ...
    • ...
    • ...
    - Demonstrate the ability to present and discuss your research, in speech and writing, with both the academic community and society.
    - Demonstrate academic responsibility and scientific integrity.
    - Demonstrate the ability to support the learning of others.
    - Demonstrate an awareness of future career possibilities, and a plan to prepare for relevant career possibilities.
    Intended Learning Outcome (ILO) Intended Learning Activity (ILA) Self-Assessment (SA)
    • ...
    • ...
    • ...
    • ...
    • ...
    • ...
    • ...
    • ...

    Guidelines for completing the personal PhD education plan

    1. Cover both domains (“research area” and “academic and professional skills”)
    2. Cover all subdomains, or explain why you decide to exclude some of them.
    3. First decide on your intended learning outcomes and then use the list of advised learning activities, the course scanner, and expertise from your supervisors, to decide on your intended learning activities.
    4. Intended learning activities are more than courses alone. For example, conferences, externa research visits, and summer schools can also be used to obtain your intended learning outcomes.
    5. Your personal education plan can be changed yearly, it will evolve as a result of your academic development and career goals.
    6. All RICDE/GSCDE PhD courses are free for candidates at the RICDE. Costs may apply for GSCDE MA courses (for non-UvA employees) and for courses outside the RICDE/GSCDE (for all candidates).
    7. If you consider applying for a RICDE PhD educational programme certificate, make sure to include the ECTs of your learning activities.
    8. For activities without a set number of ECTs (e.g., conferences), convert the numbers of hours spent on the activity to ECTs (1 ECT = 28 hours), with a minimum of 1 ECT.
    9. Keep in mind that learning takes place gradually. The self-assessment should not reflect perfect outcomes, but a critical reflection on your development.

    Candidates decide on their personal education plan within 3 months after starting their PhD projects. Progress is monitored yearly.

    RICDE PhD education certificate
    To receive a RICDE PhD educational programme certificate, candidates need to complete 36 ECTs of relevant learning activities. Students who successfully completed a research master program can obtain an exemption of 18 ECTs and apply for a certificate with 18 ECTs of relevant learning activities.

  • RICDE/GSCDE Courses for PhD Candidates

    RICDE/GSCDE PhD courses include basic methodological and statistical methods and academic and professional skills. Advanced substantive and methodological and statistical methods courses are project-depended. See our course scanner for an overview of these courses at GSCDE MA programs and at external programs. Please note that costs may apply for these courses.

    Below is an overview of other courses for PhD Candidates on (1) basic research methods and statistics, (2) academic writing, and (3) research ethics and good research practices. The UvA Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) (4) offers courses to support your teaching skills. All RICDE courses are free for all RICDE PhD Candidates (employed as well as not-employed). TLC courses are free for those who teach at the UvA. 

    Although voluntary, we strongly advise PhD candidates to follow the courses research ethics, research data management, research integrity, and good research practices.

    (1) Basic research methods and statistics

    Descriptive statistics (1 EC) (anytime)
    On understanding and applying basic descriptive statistics to summarize, visualize and interpret quantitative data. 
    Structure: self-directed info clips and assignments on Canvas.
    How to sign up: self-enrol through this link.

    Inferential statistics (1 EC) (anytime)
    On understanding and applying basic inferential statistics to test associations and group differences using quantitative data.
    Structure: self-directed info clips and assignments on Canvas.
    How to sign up: self-enrol through this link.

    Qualitative research methods (1 EC) (anytime)
    On the basics of the iterative process of data collection, description, analysis and interpretation in qualitative research.
    Structure: self-directed info clips and assignments on Canvas.
    How to sign up: self-enrol through this link.

    Quantitative research methods (1 EC) (anytime)
    On the basic methodological concepts and criteria needed to design and evaluate empirical research studies in the social and behavioral sciences.
    Structure: self-directed info clips and assignments on Canvas.
    How to sign up: self-enrol through this link.

    (2) Academic writing

    Academic writing: the basics (0 EC) (anytime)
    On clear and convincing academic writing, with easy to apply suggestions and examples. (all MA students follow this course. Scrolling through its content may also be helpful for supervising MA theses).
    Structure: self-directed info clips and assignments on Canvas.
    How to sign up: self-enrol through this link

    Writing Club (1 EC) (starts in October and again in Jan/Feb)
    On developing gratifying writing habits, elements of style in academic writing, and submitting papers to peer-reviewed journals and responding to peer review.
    Structure: 5 monthly 1-hour group meetings (Fridays 13.00-14.00 or 16.00-17.00) + brief assignments.
    How to sign up: email Milica Nikolic (  

    (3) Research ethics and good research practices

    Research Ethics (1 EC) (anytime)
    On preparing research protocols for ethics approval at RICDE.
    Structure: self-directed course on Canvas with final assignment in TestVision.
    How to sign up: self-enrol to the Canvas course through this link. Ready to make the final assignment in TestVision? Send Milica Nikolic a note ( and we’ll add you to TestVision.

    Research Data Management (1 EC) (anytime)
    On safely storing and organizing your research data at the UvA.
    Structure: self-directed info clips and assignments on Canvas.
    How to sign up: self-enrol through this link.

    Good Research Practices (1 EC) (anytime)
    On recognizing and avoiding questionable research practices.
    Structure: self-directed assignments on Canvas.
    How to sign up: self-enrol through this link.

    Research Integrity (1 EC) (Spring)
    On navigating complex ethical and moral academic situations in a professional and responsible matter.
    Structure: workshop.
    How to sign up: email Milica Nikolic (

    (4) Teaching skills

    The TLC announces courses on their website. In addition to an overview of all courses (e.g., teaching an international classroom, applying blended learning, providing written feedback etc.) they provide tips (e.g., time savers) and teachers share their experiences (e.g., on flipping the classroom)

    Our faculty-specific TLC-FMG organizes courses for working group teachers. These courses are open to PhD Candidates at the FMG. TLC contact person for our department is Arna van Beek (

    Want to become part of the TLC community? Sign up here: