Doctoral students perform research for four to six years, sometimes combined with a limited amount of teaching, administrative or other tasks for the university. Those who complete this period successfully are awarded the degree and title of doctor - the highest possible academic degree in Belgium.
What does a PhD actually entail? For starters, this depends on the chosen research field. Regardless of the research subject, doctoral students spend a vast amount of time on studying literature, collecting data or samples and analysing them, and then reporting on their research findings. In each of these steps they are supported by a scientific expert, a promoter. At the end of the PhD study period, the entire research process is reflected in a doctoral thesis, which is defended in front of an international scientific jury.
More information about the PhD process can be found on our website.
The image of a PhD candidate as a 'lonely researcher in an ivory tower' is outdated. Today’s PhD candidates are expected to share their work with the outside world from the very beginning and find their place in scientific fora within their research field. They can do so by publishing work, exchanging ideas with colleagues, attending conferences and workshops, holding presentations and expanding their scientific network.
Thanks to the doctoral schools PhD students are offered the opportunity to develop not only academic skills during their PhD, but also so-called 'transferable skills'. These are generic skills which are transferable to other sectors, such as skills in project management and communication.
More information can be found on the website ‘doctoreren in Vlaanderen’.