Hora Finita is the PhD tracking system of VU Amsterdam. All processes related to the PhD trajectory, from the admission to the trajectory to the submission of the dissertation, run through this system. PhD candidates are registered in Hora Finita within the 3 months (external PhD candidates within the first year and at minimum 2 years before the completion of the dissertation) by the research policy officer. PhD candidates and their supervisors have access to Hora Finita with their vunet-id.
Training and Supervision Plan
To be formally admitted to a PhD trajectory at the VU, the PhD candidate and supervisors fill out the Training and Supervision Plan (TSP). This TSP should be created within the first three months of a project, except for the PhD candidates of the ABRI Part-time PhD program in Business who will fill out the TSP after the 1st year when the supervisory team is appointed. When the TSP is completed, it will be sent to the PhD candidate advisor for approval. When the plan is approved, the plan will be uploaded in Hora Finita. A PhD candidate cannot be formally admitted to a PhD trajectory without an approved TSP and a PhD cannot be completed without a fulfilled TSP. The TSP consists of the following items:
1 Research Proposal and work plan
Every PhD candidate works with a feasible research proposal as of the start of the PhD (3-year trajectories) or within the 1st year (other trajectories), including a realistic work plan. It should be updated over time to make sure that at each moment a candidate has a feasible plan to complete within a mutually agreed time-frame.
PhD students who are employed at SBE have a teaching obligation because it is important for their (academic) career to gain teaching experience. Regular PhD candidates have a teaching load between 0.1 and 0.2 fte. Scholarship PhD candidates and external PhD candidates have no teaching obligation. Departments have flexibility to spread teaching load across candidates and across periods. Supervisors and department heads need to ensure that PhD candidates do not teach more than expected.
SBE has set up a teaching skills course, the so-called mini-BKO, for its PhD candidates to give them the skills to teach and supervise theses. This teaching course consists of 3 modules: Module 1 (basic teaching skills) takes place in September, Module 2 (advanced teaching skills) takes place in January and Module 3 (thesis supervision) takes place in March / April. Once a PhD has completed all modules, he / she will receive 4 ECTS.
All PhD candidates at the VU need to receive training at PhD level of a total size of at least 30 ECTS. PhD candidates who have completed a research master's degree in a relevant direction are exempt from following training. All PhD candidates of SBE are affiliated with the Tinbergen Institute or ABRI where they can take the courses to fulfill the requirement of 30 ECTS. It is also possible to take courses at other graduate schools within or outside the VU. An overview of all courses offered at the VU is available on the VU website. In consultation with the supervisors and upon approval of the Doctoral Director, a training plan is drawn up at the start of the PhD process. The following components are in any case compulsory for all PhD candidates:
- Research integrity course/module
- Research data management course/module
- Research methods course (free to choose)
- At least 1 presentation at a conference
- Transferable skills course/module
- How to manage my PhD project-workshops/modules
The remaining parts of the training program should form a complete and coherent whole. Only in exceptional cases PhD candidates are exempted from training.
Every PhD candidate has at least 2 supervisors. We expect supervisors to be able to be closely involved and co-responsible for a project (e.g. contact every two weeks). Supervisors should support and mentor candidates, make sure that candidates have a feasible (high-level) planning throughout the trajectory, and that supervisor and candidate mutually agree on expectations that are aligned with career prospects. PhD candidates and supervisors should explicate expectations on content, process, and ambitions, which may be tailored to domain, topic, and candidate. The PhD candidate and the supervisors should discuss expectations at the start of the PhD and continue the conversation. Expectations may differ between candidates who aim for a position outside academia and candidates who want to be competitive at the academic job market. The role of supervisors could also become part of conversations as part of monitoring of progress.
When the TSP is completed, the plan will be sent to the PhD candidate advisor for approval. When the plan is approved, the PhD candidate can upload the plan in Hora Finita. A PhD cannot be completed without an approved and fulfilled TSP.
Monitoring and support
SBE has two PhD candidate advisors, one for the TI PhD candidates (to be announced) and one for the ABRI PhD candidates (Maria Tims). These PhD candidate advisors meet with all PhD candidates at least once a year in which progress and other PhD-related issues are discussed. In these meetings light-weight progress reports may be used. In case of concerns, the supervisor(s) should be included in the conversation.
In addition, PhD candidates can make an appointment with the confidential counsellor of the faculty, Ina Putter, to discuss other issues that may occur. Depending on the issues, she may refer the PhD candidate to other persons such as the confidential counsellor for academic integrity issues, the confidential counsellor for VU personnel, or the PhD psychologist.
Annual Introduction Meeting
In October SBE organizes an introduction meeting for all the new PhD candidates. During this meeting, the PhD candidates receive information about their PhD programme from the two graduate schools (ABRI and TI) and about the facilities offered by the faculty. The meeting will be concluded with drinks where PhD candidates can get to know each other.
Within one year after the start of the PhD trajectory the PhD will be evaluated by the supervisors in a Go/No Go interview (coinciding with the first yearly evaluation), based on a progress report of the PhD candidate and the (updated) TSP and advice of the PhD candidate advisor.
In this interview, the supervisor will discuss the work of the PhD, his/her performance, the atmosphere at work, and working conditions. Furthermore, agreements will be made concerning the quality and execution of research and other tasks.
VU and SBE mandate at least one plagiarism scan for education and prevention purposes. PhD candidates who started after September 2022, need to scan their first academic product (article or chapter) using the dedicated VU-licensed plagiarism software. Results have to be discussed with PhD supervisors, and conclusions are to be shared with SBE’s Research Office and uploaded in Hora Finita. In case of serious concerns, performance of another scan is mandatory before the thesis is finished. In future, this policy may be extended to the whole dissertation.
A successful PhD project also depends on a supportive community. PhDs can find this among other PhD candidates in the graduate school as well as in the departments. Both ABRI and TI stimulate the development of collaborative relations. At SBE a PhD council has been installed in which the PhD candidates of the faculty are represented and who organizes academic and social events for all the PhD candidates of SBE. Furthermore all PhD candidates have access to the PhD community page at CANVAS.
PhD candidates who are employed at the School of Business and Economics have a research budget of €6,500. Full time PhD candidates with a scholarship for the China Scholarship Council have a research budget of €2,000. This budget is for traveling (in and outside the Netherlands for attending conferences, workshops, and summer schools, and for research visits at other universities), for literature, and other research activities.
PhD candidates who are employed on an NWO grant have a benchfee of 5,000 euro for research and traveling. When the 5,000 euro is spent, they have another 1,500 euro research budget of SBE.
Dissertation printing costs
PhD theses of TI students are published in the Tinbergen Institute Research Series. For this purpose, TI has made an agreement with Rozenberg Publishers in Amsterdam. All PhD candidates of TI are supposed to publish their thesis in these series, provided that they finish their thesis within two years of the end of their TI appointment. When the thesis is published in these series, TI pays the printing costs of the thesis up to a maximum of €1.250.
PhD theses of ABRI PhD candidates are published in the ABRI Dissertation Series. For this purpose, ABRI will give the PhD candidate the ABRI logo and format to put on the back cover and the spine of the book. All PhD candidates of ABRI are supposed to publish their thesis in these series. SBE pays the printing costs up to a maximum of €1.250.
Tuition fees external and part-time PhD candidates
For the scholarship PhD candidates who receive a scholarship from their government and for whom the government is willing to pay a tuition fee, SBE asks a tuition fee of €5,000 per year. This tuition fee covers the following costs for 4 years: doctoral education, research costs, dissertation printing, vunet-id, and hospitality agreement, including access to office space and IT facilities.
External PhD candidates who are doing a part-time PhD at SBE (outside the ABRI part-time PhD programme) pay a tuition fee of €7,500 for the entire PhD trajectory (to cover costs for vunet-id, doctoral education and supervision): €2500 per year for the 1st and 2nd year, and €1250 per year for the 3rd and 4th year. The maximum duration of external PhD trajectories is 10 years.
The external PhD candidates who are doing the part-time PhD programme for business leaders at ABRI are required to pay €20000-€25000 in case of a 4-year trajectory including the costs of modules, individual supervision, access to ABRI research courses (optional) and summer schools, registration, food catering and access to VU facilities and services.
In the Doctorate Regulations all matters concerning your thesis and defense are described in detail.
Doctorate Regulations (PDF)
According to the Doctorate Regulations article 9.3 a dean may grant ius promovendi to an associate professor of their own faculty. The dean evaluates the competence of the staff member concerned in relation to the relevant criteria set by the College of Deans. The criteria are:
- the Associate Professor is a good researcher, as demonstrated by multiple peer-reviewed publications of excellent scientific quality. In particular, the associate professor meets the publications criteria as set for professor 2 and associate professor 1.
- The Associate Professor is a good supervisor, attested by at least two successfully completed PhD theses that he / she has supervised in the formal role of co-supervisor.
If an associate professor meets these criteria, he/she can submit an application for ius promovendi to the dean via Ina Putter (firstname.lastname@example.org).