Social support

Charter PhD candidate - PhD supervisor

This charter describes the roles and responsibilities of (co)supervisors and PhD candidates. It can be considered a declaration of intent, to be endorsed and implemented by both parties. In addition, it can be used as a tool to discuss mutual expectations, both at the start of the PhD and throughout, with the joint goal of finishing the PhD successfully and within the postulated time period.

Buddy trajectory

Doing a PhD can be fun and hard at the same time. When you start a PhD, it can be hard to find all relevant and useful information by yourself. During a PhD, everyone experiences ups and downs and everyone needs to tackle problems. These problems can be surprisingly similar for different people.

Let it be clear: you are all in the same boat.

PhD trajectories also contain lonely moments; some more than others. To prevent psychological distress and mental health issues (which PhD students seem to be more vulnerable to than others), it is good to have someone to fall back on. Everyone needs someone to talk to from time to time. Talking to a more experienced colleague can be especially useful and reassuring.

For these reasons, there is a buddy trajectory for PhD students. Junior buddies are starting PhD students. Senior buddies are PhD students from their second year on.

The buddy trajectory can be whatever you make of it. It can be just one meeting with Q&A with respect to practical issues. But buddies may also talk about what it means to be a PhD student, which difficulties or pitfalls one can be confronted with, professional goals, etc. There are no explicit rules. Respect, confidentiality and professionalism are considered self-evident.

If you are interested in the buddy trajectory (as junior or senior buddy), please note that you can apply here:

  • If you are a recently started PhD student and you would like to get a senior buddy (and thus be a junior buddy yourself), please complete this form by November 30, 2022.
  • If you are willing to be a senior buddy, please complete this form by November 30, 2022.

The further procedure will be as follows:

  1. The doctoral schools team will make pairs of people, trying to pair up people from the same faculty / doctoral school as far as possible.
  2. The name of your buddy will be communicated to you in the second part of December, 2022.
  3. All buddies will receive a lunch voucher, so they can plan their first meeting at one of the university restaurants.
  4. A social activity for buddies will be organised by the Doctoral Schools around Spring 2023. More info will be sent by email.


Doing a PhD is hard work. Serious business. No arguing about that.

But everyone occasionally needs to relax. Also, it's good to know who's in the same boat as you, in order to get some social support in times of stress.

The doctoral schools of UHasselt are here to help you. Yes, we already offer you lots of interesting courses and workshops, but we want to do more. Why not treat you to some drinks?

Starting from academic year 2014-2015, there are two editions of ‘PhDrinks’ each year. 'PhDrinks' is meant to be a social event with an informative touch, organized on Friday afternoons. In a first part, you are provided with some useful information (food for the mind), after which a reception is organized during which you can socialize and get to know each other (food for the soul).

The next editions of PhDrinks will be organised on September 30, 2022 and December 9, 2022.

Past editions:

  1. November 21, 2014 - launch of the project
  2. April 24, 2015 - workshop 'Selling myself during a job interview'
  3. October 23, 2015 - testimonies with respect to international and intersectoral mobility
  4. April 15, 2016 - workshop on networking through social media
  5. December 16, 2016 - interactive lecture 'Your awesome research, explained clearly'
  6. April 21, 2017 - interactive lecture 'Pleasure at work'
  7. May 18, 2018 - interactive lecture 'How to stay sane during your PhD'
  8. Sept 14, 2018 - interactive business theatre 'Not like that, like this... Better networking'
  9. April 26, 2019 - lecture on happiness & happiness at work by the renowned Leo Bormans
  10. November 29, 2019 - interactive lecture ‘Round about, connection when communication jams'
  11. April 30, 2021 - online lecture 'Putting the oxygen mask on yourself first'
  12. April 29, 2022 - interactive theatre 'The mailman always thinks twice' 

Psychosocial well-being & ombuds service

During a PhD project, numerous difficulties and obstacles may arise. If the smooth progress of the PhD trajectory or the working relationship between the PhD student and the promoter is disturbed, both the PhD student and the promoter can appeal to the ombudsperson for PhD students in an attempt to get the PhD project back on track.

A full overview of the supportive services is available here.