Organisation of Doctoral Studies
Duration of doctoral studies
The doctoral study cycle in Biology takes six semesters (three years) and has 2 components: Advanced training program lasting one semester and Scientific research program with a duration of five semesters. The two programs are compulsory.
The doctoral student’s training program
The doctoral study cycle is composed of an “Advanced training program”, credited with 30 ECTS credits, lasting one semester, and a “Scientific research program” with a duration of five semesters, ending in the defence of a doctoral thesis.
Advanced training program
The advanced training program is conducted in the DSB based on a curriculum endorsed by the CDS and approved by the Senate. Covering this program must ensure the obtainment of 30 ECTS credits. The curriculum includes one semester where compulsory subjects are studied, providing for all doctoral students a unitary vision in addressing scientific research in doctoral field, as well as management skills for scientific research projects, leveraging scientific results, scientific research ethics and notions of biostatistics. Compulsory subjects have modular planning. Assessment is made by the course coordinator using the following ratings: “Very Good”, “Good”, “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory”.
If the doctoral supervisor considers that it is necessary for the doctoral student to acquire basic knowledge that are taught in Research Master’s courses hosted by the Doctoral School, or in other Bachelor or Master’s programs, s/he may require the student to attend some courses, in any semester of doctoral training, without taking an examination, with the consent of the coordinator of that course and the management of the faculty where they are taught.
The first semester of the first year is completed by developing a Project of the Scientific Research Program, which aims to define the doctoral topic, the general framework of studies and their conduct, the objectives of study, the research methodology concerned, chart of planned activities, etc. The doctoral topic is determined by the doctoral supervisor, along with the doctoral candidate, being correlated with the doctoral supervisor’s field of expertise, VGWU issues and strategy.
For graduates of Research Master’s study programs hosted by the Doctoral School, the compulsory subjects contained in Advanced training program may be recognised as equivalent. In this sense, Master’s graduates will submit a request to the Doctoral School Council, which will examine the equivalence of subjects and will grant right of equivalence. The request will be accompanied by the descriptions of subjects studied under the Master’s programs proposed for equivalence.
The scientific research program
The scientific research program is organised individually for each doctoral student by the doctoral student, with the doctoral student. Responsibility for conducting the scientific research program lies first with the doctoral student, and second with the doctoral supervisor, both being parties to the contract for doctoral studies.
The scientific research program begins after admission of the scientific research project, which thus becomes the program for developing the doctoral thesis.
The doctoral student’s research activity is evaluated by three research reports presented to the supervision committee and the doctoral supervisor, as follows:
in the second semester of the first year, the doctoral student will present a bibliographic report (Report 1) comprising the analysis of the current state of knowledge in the field for the specific doctoral topic.
two reports in the second year of doctoral studies, which will include interim results of research; each doctoral supervisor will decide on the content of these reports.
The deadlines for presenting the research reports are provided in the individual scientific research plan. The deadlines for presenting the three reports can be extended on request by the doctoral student, with the endorsement of the doctoral supervisor and the approval of the director of the doctoral school.
Presentations of reports are evaluated using a rating: “Very Good”, “Good”, “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory”, by a committee consisting of the doctoral supervisor and the supervision committee. The comments and suggestions of the evaluation committee members and invited members of the department are noted in the minutes, and the doctoral student must take them into account in writing the thesis.
In case of rejection of a report (which was rated “unsatisfactory”), the doctoral student will present it again before the same committee.
The date of each oral presentation of the report is determined by the doctoral supervisor, following receipt of a written request from the doctoral student. The interval between two consecutive presentations cannot be longer than 12 months. The doctoral supervisor cannot miss any presentation, and from the supervision committee there must be at least 2 members present at each presentation.
A Report on the progress of doctoral research is submitted to the DSC, along with minutes signed by the doctoral supervisor and the supervision committee members who were present, within 3 working days from the date of presentation. The minutes are included in the doctoral student’s file.
The scientific research program and, implicitly, the doctoral studies end in the development and public defence of the thesis.
The DSB regularly organises specialised conferences held by VGWU collaborators with international visibility in the field of the Doctoral School, where all doctoral students are invited, no matter the stage of their training program, in order to provide them access to up-to-date specialised information nationally and internationally. These optional trainings will be mentioned explicitly in the doctoral student’s individual education plan.