Doctoral Education

A PhD degree alone is often not enough in today’s competitive job market. You must be equipped with a number of competences too; the creativity and flexibility of a research mind-set is of value to many positions and careers. In order to deepen and broaden these competences, the Graduate School offers you the Doctoral Education – Skills Training Programme.

Your personal development process is kick-started during the PhD Start-up, where you need to think carefully and strategically about your competences and skills. After this you will prepare your tailored DE Plan that covers specific needs and expectations, in consultation with your supervisory team.

Skills Training Programme

DE at A+BE Graduate School

A+BE Graduate School has developed domain specific PhD courses in the categories 'Discipline-related skills' and 'Research skills'. The A+BE course 'Research Proposal' is mandatory for all A+BE PhD candidates as of September 2014.

MSc courses

Courses from MSc programmes can be used to obtain your Doctoral Education credits. If you participate in a regular MSc course and take the exam, the ECTS of the course are converted to GS Credits as 1 ECTS = 1 GS-Credit. For the 'Research-' and 'Discipline-' related skills there are MSc courses available at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. 

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 accessible in the online study guide. Other (inter)national universities offer relevant MSc courses as well. Please contact us to check if the quality of the institution meets the Graduate School requirements.

Research schools

A+BE Graduate School participates in two research schools: 

  • NETHUR (Netherlands Graduate School of Urban and Regional Research) 
  • OSK (Dutch Postgraduate School for Art History) 

The Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment is member of the Netherlands Graduate School of Urban and Regional Research (NETHUR). This school offers a range of courses for PhD students, more information can be found here: They offer courses on skills such as presenting research findings, debating and writing in English, but also courses on urban and regional research. The courses are high quality and very well evaluated and Nethur offers a unique opportunity to network with PhD students from other universities in the Netherlands. If interested in these courses please sign up with NETHUR.

The courses offered are both in the category of '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 the amount of credits as stated by the provider. 1 GS credit is roughly 8 hours of coursework + 4 hours of preparation/assignment. When 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 obtain up to a maximum of 10 GS Credits via online learning (with a maximum of 5 GS-credits per course).

TU Delft MOOCs for PhD candidates
As of September 2022 all TU Delft PhD candidates can get full access to MOOCs offered by TU Delft for free. This includes access to all course content, access to graded assignments and a verified certificate upon completion of the MOOC.

For an overview of the TU Delft MOOCs go to: Full access voucher

In order to get full access to the MOOC of your choice, the PhD supervisor needs to request a voucher by sending an email to containing the following information:
• The url of the course run you wish to use the voucher for,
• How many vouchers are needed,
• The emailadres(ses) of the PhD candidate who is going to participate in the MOOC,
• The rationale for this request: PhD training.

The full access voucher will then be requested with edX, sent to the PhD candidate and the PhD supervisor will be informed when the voucher has been sent out.

The process between the request and the delivery will take up to 10 working days. 

The 2023 Open Science MOOC is open for registration
In this introductory course, you will learn the objectives, main concepts, and benefits of Open Science principles along with practices for Open Data management and Open Data sharing.

Those who will benefit most include academic researchers at different levels: PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and professors; researchers working for governments; researchers working for commercial enterprises; MSc and BSc students interested in learning about the principles of Open Science. Register to participate.

Skills for Engineers Courses 
Engineering is a vast industry with many specialisations. Nevertheless, there are many skills that are useful right across the entire engineering umbrella. Alongside up-to-date technical knowledge, nowadays, skills in communication, stakeholder management, project management, leadership, business models, decision making, data strategies and ethical responsibility are essential to excel in engineering roles, projects and activities. This is where our targeted courses can help professionals, and engineers in particular. More information

Other providers

It is also possible to obtain credits at summer schools and courses at other institutions. We only announce those that are of value for multiple PhD candidates, so be aware there is much more out there! Start your search from within the networks of your supervisors. If you have found an interesting summer school or course yourself, please let us know, so we can check if the quality meets the Graduate School requirements and we can share it with the other PhD candidates.

Planning and keeping track of Doctoral Education

During the PhD Agreement meeting (at 3 months) you should discuss your planning for the courses and Learning on the Job activities you intend to take with your supervisory team. Once this planning is agreed upon you should keep track of your Doctoral Education planning and progress in the Doctoral Monitoring Application (DMA). As this planning is subject to change and courses will be completed, the PhD candidate is requested to update DMA after each progress meeting. The supervisory team has to approve the adjusted planning and progress on the Go No Go and Yearly Progress Meeting Forms.

Credits and registering attended courses

In order for you to obtain credits for attending a course you have to get the 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 don't receive a certificate you can use the online course attendance form. This proof of participation has to be uploaded in DMA in order for you to obtain credits for the course.

The attendance forms can be found on the employee portal (Graduate School page).

Learning on the Job
Please refer to the BK Learning on the job list for an overview of activities, which qualify for Learning on the Job and the amount 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.