Training Programme for PhD researchers

You choose which activities to take part in, although there are of course some compulsory components, like the training programme for PhD students. Thanks to the programme, you will acquire skills that will benefit your career and the university. 

Are you a PhD student? Then you are obliged to follow a doctoral study programme at VUB. The emphasis is on a flexible and individually tailored programme that meets your needs.

The activities within it will help you develop more versatility. They will help you acquire additional skills to support your research and possibly teaching activities, and can also be useful outside your field of study and the academic environment. You can attend free seminars and numerous workshops, for example on presentation techniques, project management, academic English, or career coaching.

You choose which activities to take part in, although there are of course some compulsory components, like the Introduction Package for PhD students. Thanks to the programme, you will acquire skills that will benefit your career and the university. 

Take a look at the We Are PhD-portal for all relevant information!

What and why?


As a doctoral candidate, you must follow the training programme for doctoral students. You must obtain at least 30 credits before submitting your doctoral dissertation. You must have at least 5 credits for each category:

  • Research output
  • Education and supervisorship
  • Training in specialised skills
  • Training in transferable skills

The FWO will probably make a doctoral training course compulsory for doctoral students with an FWO grant. Because VUB does not wish to differentiate between FWO doctoral candidates and others, everyone must follow the programme. Thanks to the programme, you will acquire skills that will benefit your career and the university.


Doctoral students who started their doctoral studies before the 2019-2020 academic year are not required to follow the programme. There are some other exceptions. You can request an exception by submitting this form to the Researcher Training & Development Office.


A full PhD programme consists of at least 60 credits, 30 of which are for training and research activities and another 30 for successfully writing and defending your PhD thesis. You decide how many credits you take per activity for your training and research activities: regular lectures from the Bachelor's and Master's programmes, specialised lectures from a Doctoral School, doctoral seminars, research activities, or teaching activities.

The perfect start

Events that will get you started in the right direction

As a doctoral student, you decide which skills you need and how you plan to develop them. VUB organises several events to help candidates get started, please find all relevant information on our internal pages.

There are 2 activities you must participate in as a PhD student:

  • The introduction days for new PhD students. During these days, you will obtain important information about the services you need, how the Doctoral Schools work, what is appropriate scientific behaviour and what is not, etc.
  • Your faculty can decide to make the training programme for PhD students (or parts of it) compulsory if they feel it adds value to your process.

Doctoral Schools

VUB offers research programmes that meet the highest international standards, in a strong research environment. Our three Doctoral Schools support you with a broad offer of activities, courses and workshops on general scientific and interdisciplinary skills as well financial aid for research activities.

VUB has three Doctoral Schools:

  • Doctoral School of Human Sciences
  • Doctoral School of Life Sciences & Medicine
  • Doctoral School of Natural Science and Bioscience Engineering

Doctoral School of Human Sciences

What the Doctoral School of Human Sciences stands for

Diversity and broad expertise - that is what our Doctoral School stands for. We therefore work according to the principle of active interaction, with a dynamic organisational model and input from various sources. 

  • Not only do we offer numerous activities to expand and promote your skills,
  • but we also support you in setting up activities with existing formats (seminars, master classes, etc.). 
  • We are strongly committed to working together to meet the needs of our doctoral students. 
  • And we will keep you informed of all developments with a monthly newsletter and on our website.
Our network

The DSh PhD Network is an organisation of and for PhD students and postdocs from the VUB Doctoral Schools of Human Sciences. The network promotes the well-being of PhD students and postdocs, keeps them informed about training courses, workshops and the ins and outs of VUB, enhances their experience at VUB and in Brussels, and much more.


All courses and seminars on quantitative and qualitative methodology can be found on the website of FLAMES. For other courses of the VUB/RTDO/DSh, you can peruse the offers at TEO and VUB LRN

Take a look at the We Are PhD-portal for all relevant information!

Doctoral School of Life Sciences and Medicine

What the Doctoral School of Life Sciences and Medicine stands for

With a PhD in Life Sciences & Medicine (LSM) from VUB, you are ready for an academic career or another profession with a high level of competence. Your Doctoral School in Life Sciences & Medicine supports your path with training courses, travel grants, and publication grants.  

Our networks

PhD United: a group of motivated PhD students working on the VUB campus in Jette. They organise social activities and the annual Jette PhD Day. Their goal? Promoting communication between PhD students outside the lab and making life more enjoyable for them.

Bionitiative: a group of PhD students and science professionals with a passion for life sciences and lifelong learning. They organise after-work activities that reduce the distance between academia and the workplace.


f-TALES: Flanders Training Network Life Sciences, a collective training initiative of the 5 Flemish universities with excellent free workshops for PhD students and postdocs. You can find an overview of the agenda on their website.

FLAMES: Flanders Training Network for Methodology and Statistics, an inter-university network for training on statistics and methodology.

External training courses

Keep an eye on our newsletter or take a look at these organisations: 

VIB: research institute for life sciences
Imec Academy: world leader for R&D and innovation in nanoelectronics and digital technologies a dynamic organisation whose direction is determined by more than 350 members from Belgium and abroad

Take a look at the We Are PhD-portal for all relevant information!

Doctoral School Natural Sciences and Bioscience Engineering

What the Doctoral School of Natural Science and Bioscience Engineering stands for

PhD research is of the utmost importance to the VUB and our knowledge-based society. Hence, it is important to facilitate not only research, but also the so-called transferable skills.

The doctoral schools at the VUB support the PhD researchers by organizing activities related to general scientific and transferable skills. The scientific follow-up of the PhD is guaranteed by the faculties themselves. This separation of responsibilities guarantees that there is no conflict of interest between the scientific research and the transferable skills.

Our network

The NSE PhD Network was created for and by PhD students. As a PhD student from the faculty of WE or IR, you can ask questions, meet the teams, and participate in activities. The organisation wishes to promote social contact between PhD students from different departments, help new PhD students get started, and inform master's students about the PhD programme.


PhD students and young post-doctoral researchers from the faculties of WE and IR are welcome to attend the activities of the Doctoral School. Those activities revolve around topics such as scientific integrity, intellectual property, software and tools relevant to researchers, etc. The Doctoral School also supports researchers in other ways, e.g., by supporting the organisation of activities, stimulating internationalisation with travel grants, improving publications with language support, announcing activities, etc.

Take a look at the We Are PhD-portal for all relevant information!