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Education Programme

Education Programme

The Graduate School of Religion and Theology requires each PhD student to complete at least 30 EC (840 hours) of education or other relevant activities during their PhD trajectory. How you plan to meet this requirement is laid down in your Training and Supervision Plan (TSP), and is determined on an individual basis, depending on your previous education, academic competencies and area of specialization.

Your education plan consists of three modules that together make up 30 EC:

A. Mandatory Courses
B. Electives
C. Exemptions

The courses in your education plan need to comply with the so-called Dublin descriptors (third cycle).

Module A: Mandatory Courses

1. Research Design (6 EC)

This course is available only for members of the Graduate School of Religion and Theology, and is an online course which includes modules on Academic Integrity (2 EC), Methodology (2 EC) and Proposal Writing (2 EC). It lets you reflect on how to conduct research on PhD level and what is necessary to make your particular research project a success. Furthermore, this course leads up to the finalization of your research proposal. Normally, this course is taken as a whole, but it is possible to receive an exemption for part of the course. This all depends on the arrangements made in your Training and Supervision Plan, and the requirements for your particular project.

The course is offered twice a year; registration deadlines are 1 August and 1 February. To register, please fill in the application form.

Please consult the syllabus for more information about this course.

2. Two visits to academic conferences (3-4 EC)

The conferences must stretch over several days. One conference visit must include a presentation of your research (2 EC), the other can include a presentation (without presentation: 1 EC, including presentation 2 EC). (Thus, in total, 3 or 4 EC).

Please fill in a record of attendance form when you completed this component, and upload it in your portfolio in Hora Finita.

3. Transferable Skills (2 EC)

Transferable skills are the personal skills you acquire during your education and professional life that are related to academics, such as teaching, (research) communication, project management and organization, research and information management. Transferable skills are always directly related to academics, thus academic research or education.

During your PhD trajectory, you can obtain credits for transferable skills e.g. by active participation in one of the faculty’s research teams (giving lectures, organizing research activities, intervision group etc.). Also other research activities, such as participating in project groups can be done. Always consult your supervisor. It is also possible to earn credits by participating in a valorization activity of our faculty.

Please note that requests for a waiver need to be substantiated from your CV and/or relevant certificates. If you apply for a waiver, we ask you to show how the activities are related to academics.

Module B: Electives

The remaining credits of your 30 EC training programme can be chosen from research master-level and PhD-level courses in the subject area of your specialization. Electives that you choose must always contribute to your PhD research. The courses can be done either at VU, at one of our partner institutions, or at another university that offers courses on research master or PhD-level. The supervisor decides which courses are required in your specific case in consultation with the director of the Graduate School. The Graduate School must always first approve a course before you can follow it.

For courses developed specially for PhD students, you can consult the PhD portal. For courses offered at VU on research master level, you can consult the study guide.

Please note that not all courses are offered online. Furthermore, in some cases a fee (sometimes a considerable fee) is required. Always check in advance the institution's website. Courses offered by the Faculty of Religion and Theology are always free of charge.

Courses and activities that are not on the PhD portal or Study guide:

  • Visit of one inaugural lecture and four dissertation defenses at VU Amsterdam (1 EC).
  • Course(s) offered by NOSTER (variable EC) NOSTER (Nederlandse Onderzoeksschool voor Theologie en Religiewetenschap / Netherlands School for Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion) offers regular seminars and training for PhD students. The current programme can be found at the website of NOSTER. Membership is free for employed PhDs (aio’s); external PhDs pay € 1000 for the duration of their project.
  • Course(s) and activities organized by CLUE+ (variable EC). Our Faculty participates in CLUE+, the interfaculty Research Institute for Culture, Cognition, History and Heritage of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. It brings together researchers from a wide variety of academic disciplines to work on joint projects, reflect upon societal challenges and formulate strategies for addressing those challenges. With interdisciplinary teams, working in novel ways and with innovative methodologies, CLUE+ aims to provide an inspiring research climate for talented young academics as well as for senior and top researchers. For more information, click here.

All courses for PhD students that are offered by VU can be found on the PhD portal.

Module C: Exemptions

If you have a Research Master degree, you are exempted from the 30 EC requirements, including the mandatory courses. However, you are still strongly encouraged to follow parts of the education programme.

For other master degrees, you can apply for a waiver for the electives (not for the mandatory courses). Requests for substitution or exemption need to be substantiated by you and your supervisor, and must be requested by submitting a Waiver Request form. Substitutions and exemptions are taken up in your TSP, and are to be approved by the director of the Graduate School, and if necessary, in consultation with the Dean of Research.

If you want to apply for a waiver, please note that courses that were part of your master program cannot count as substitution. For example, you can use courses that were extracurricular or part of a second master programme for waiver requests. Furthermore, only activities or courses that are related to your PhD research can be used for waiver requests for electives.