Frequently Asked Questions
For PhD students
For organisers, lecturers and supervisors
Answers for PhD students
What is the Doctoral School of Life Sciences and Medicine?
The doctoral school is an interdisciplinary and interfaculty organ of the VUB, which aims to A/provide support to PhD students, B/stimulate quality in and C/promote PhD research by 1/organising and coordinating workshops, seminars and courses, 2/providing advice to faculty and university management, and 3/informing potential PhD candidates.
The official text of the Doctoral Schools is currenly only available in Dutch, an English translation will be issued soon.
You can find this document here "Reglement Doctoral Schools"
How can I register as a member of the Doctoral School?
When you register as a PhD student at the VUB, you will have to enrol at the same time for one of the Doctoral Schools. You can only enrol in one Doctoral School, and that choice is made together with your supervisor. The choice needs to be confirmed by your Faculty. Enrolment in a Doctoral Schools is part of the PhD application procedure(*), and does not require additional steps.
If you enrolled as a PhD student at the VUB before 2008-2009, you have the choice to become a member of a Doctoral School or not. If you do chose to become a member and want to take part in the new Doctoral Training Programme, please use this form: Enrolment Form Doctoral School. Complete the form and have it signed by your promoter and the Dean of your Faculty. Then send it to the Registrar's Office. As soon as the new information is processed, you are member of a Doctoral School, which entitles you to attend 60 credits worth of courses in the Doctoral Training Programme.
(*)See here for the Dutch text on the PhD application procedure, and here for the English version.
What are the advantages of becoming a DS-member?
Enrolment for the Doctoral Training Programme entitles you to attend 60 credits’ worth of courses at the Doctoral Training Programme. This enrolment does not incur additional fees.
All course units offered by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel may in principle be attended free of charge (possible exceptions apply for courses incurring increased tuition fees). Under the strategic alliance which the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Ghent University have formed, PhD students from the two institutions may compose their programme selecting course units from both universities. Students may also attend course units and seminars at other institutions provided their promoter and the Director of their Doctoral School have given their permission. Taking courses outside the VUB may incur additional costs.
Enrolment for the Doctoral Training Programme also does not oblige you to finish the Doctoral Training Programme and you can obtain your PhD without finishing the Doctoral Training Programme (unless your Faculty has decided to make (part of) the Doctoral Training Programme obligatory.
I am a VUB PhD student. Do I have to become a DS-member?
When you enrolled as a PhD student at the VUB in or after 2008-2009, you have to become a member of one Doctoral School. If you enrolled as a PhD student before 2008-2009, you can choose. But enrolling in a Doctoral School does not automatically imply the participation in the Doctoral Training Programme. That choice is free for all (unless your Faculty decides otherwise). But in order to participate in the activities of the Doctoral Training Programme, you do need to enrol in this Programme.
Is my Faculty a member of the DS of Life Sciences and Medicine?
At this point in time, four Faculties have joined the Doctoral School of Life Sciences and Medicine. They are : Medicine and Pharmacy, Science and Bioengineering, Arts and Philosophy, Physical
Education and Physiotherapy. Each of these Faculties are represented in the Doctoral School Council, which supports the School.
How to enrol in the Doctoral Training Programme?
In order to take part in the Doctoral Training Programme you need to be a member of a VUB Doctoral School. Enrolment in a Doctoral School entitles you to attend the Doctoral Training Programme. It is not possible to enrol separately for the Doctoral Training Programme, nor by means of a credit contract or exam contract.
for more information.
Do I have to complete the Doctoral Training programme?
The Doctoral Training Programme is in principle not compulsory, although individual faculties may decide to make the programme or parts of it compulsory, basing themselves on a suitability check of the prospective PhD student’s personal file (a procedure which is, in fact, already being applied).
How does the Doctoral Training Programme work?
The Doctoral Training Programme consists of 60 credits. PhD students can select these credits on an individual basis. There are 4 different clusters of activities to select from:
- Regular course units from Bachelor’s, Master’s and Advanced Master’s programmes, and specialised course units organised by a Doctoral School, an institution for lifelong learning, etc.
- Doctoral Seminars organised by a Doctoral School or the Central PhD Office (specialised knowledge or generic skills)
- Research Activities such as publications and participation in conferences
- The successful defence of one’s doctoral thesis
In order to complete the Doctoral Training Programme, PhD students have to obtain 60 credits, taking into account the minimum and maximum number of credits allowed per cluster. The main reason for this rule is to guarantee a variety of activities within the Doctoral Training Programme.
- Regular course units and specialised course units: minimum 12 and maximum 40 credits
- Doctoral Seminars: minimum 9 and maximum 25 credits
- Research Activities: minimum 8 and maximum 30 credits
- Successful defence: minimum and maximum 3 credits
There are no time constraints, the credits can be obtained for the entire duration of the PhD.
for more information.
Why don't I get more credits for an activity?
You will only need 60 credits to finalise the Doctoral Training Program. One good indicator to look at the number of awarded credits is the time and effort that has to be invested to obtain them. Taking a regular course requires an estimated investment of 125 hours, and often produces 6 credits. Writing an article also requires a substantial time investment, and generates less than 6 credits (the number of credits depends on the type of journal). So the "mere" attendance of a DSh seminar will only generate a limited number of credits.
What happens if I get less or more than 60 credits?
If you obtain less than 60 credits, or less than the credit minima of one of the 4 clusters, you will not complete the Doctoral Training Programme. Nevertheless, you will receive a document that confirms your participation in the Doctoral Training Programme, referring to the activities that you have undertaken. Having more than 60 credits has no consequences.
Can I validate past activities in the Doctoral Training Programme?
Credits obtained after the student has taken the degree providing access to a PhD programme can still be taken into account. Here, you will need to provide the necessary evidence that you have obtained these credits. In case of cluster one activities, you also need the confirmation of your supervisor that these (course) activities are relevant for your PhD. And, as in all cases, the Doctoral School Director needs to confirm this application.
Can I organise activities in the DS of Life Sciences and Medicine?
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Apart from participating in the Doctoral Training Programme, you can also propose and organise activities yourself, as long as they are open to other PhD students and are of relevance for a considerable group of PhD students. In order to facilitate the process of organising activities, the Doctoral School works for permanent calls for activities, proposed by PhD students themselves.
For more information, see here
How do I register for DocBe seminars or DS-LSM seminars?
Registration depends on who is organising these activities.
- For DocBe seminars (organised by the Central PhD Office), click here
- For other seminars (organised by the Doctoral School of Life Sciences and Medicine), click here
- For activities of the UGent Doctoral School of Life Sciences and Medicine click here, for registration information, see below.
Please keep in mind that priority rules will apply. See here
for the VUB priority rules.
How do I register for regular courses?
For regular course units, the regular rules apply. Members of the doctoral school have free access to these courses (possible exceptions apply for courses incurring increased tuition fees). In order to register, you will need to fill out a special form, which you can download here
. The form has to be signed for approval by your supervisor, and handed in at your Faculty Secretariat.
In order to take part in regular course units, you need to fulfil the necessary prerequisites, applied on the regular students as well. In order to gain credits you will also need to successfully pass the course. The way of assessment will depend from the course (exam, presentation, paper...).
for more information.
How do I register for DS activities at UGent?
Under the strategic alliance which the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Ghent University have formed, PhD students from the two institutions may compose their programme selecting course units from both universities under equal conditions. In some cases, payment for attending UGent activities may still be required, depending on the type of activity. These expenses will need to be paid by you - the DSh will not refund them.
- The first step is to register as an UGent guest student. To register, you need to fill out an application form. More information can be found here
- For registering for regular courses, please contact the UGent student administration (Dutch or English website). Please make sure to obtain approval by your supervisor for taking these (regular) courses.
- For registering for Ugent doctoral school activities or other UGent activities, please contact the doctoral school support cell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure that you check (beforehand) whether there are any registration fees. Also keep in mind that priority rules will apply.
for more information.
I am a Ghent PhD student. How do I register for LSM activities?
PhD students of the Ghent University need to register as a guest student first. You can download the form here
. Deposit the form at the Infopoint Students / Infopunt Studenten at the VUB, or mail it to them at email@example.com
Depending on the type of activity, fees might apply. Please always check beforehand. Also keep in mind that priority rules will apply. See here
for the VUB priority rules.
For registration for specific DSh activities, please use the registration
I am not a VUB or Ugent PhD student. Can I join LSM events?
Yes, but organisers will follow the VUB priority rules
. Participants of category 5 (PhD students of other universities, post-docs and other VUB researchers, researchers from other research institutions and other people interested - which also includes MA students) will be required to pay for their participation. The standard fee for category 5 participants is 25 Euro, but another fee structure might be applied for specific activities.
Registration fees have to be transferred to the VUB account 001-0686455-62, with mentioning CONI277/SCOMINK21 and the name of the activity.
For registration for specific DS activities, please use the registration
How can I be sure that participation in VUB activities is registered?
For regular course units, your participation will be registered by the Faculties. If you pass the evaluation, you will receive the credits. In most other cases, you will have to make sure that you obtain a document that confirms your participation (and positive evaluation when applicable).
In case of LSM seminars, you can use this form
, to be signed by the seminar organiser.
Does the DS-LSM provide grants for my research?
You are of course welcome to do PhD research at the VUB. You will find more information about the road to the PhD here
. Unfortunately, the DS-LSM does NOT provide research grants.
Answers for organisers, lecturers and supervisors
How can I actively support the DS of Life Sciences and Medicine?
Apart from stimulating your PhD students to participate in the Doctoral Training Programme, and in the Doctoral School of Life Sciences and Medicine, you can welcome PhD students in your regular courses, and you can (co-)organise seminars.
In case you want to organise a seminar, you can use this form
, to be returned to the Doctoral School Director.
I am a VUB lecturer or professor, can I organise a LSM seminar?
The basic rule is that: "Minimally one PhD student member of the DS-LSM has to be among the organisers." This allows for other organisers, including VUB lecturers or professors to be involved in the organisation of these seminars.
I am (co-)organising a LSM seminar, what do I have to do?
Most requirements are explained in the call texts
. A few things to keep in mind:
- When (internally or externally) communicating about the LSM seminar, please always mention that the event is (co)organised by the DS-LSM. Please use the LSM logo
- When registering students, please point them to the registration module for LSM seminars
- Please keep an eye on the VUB priority rules for registration
- If you want to have an update on the registrations, please email DocBe at firstname.lastname@example.org to request an overview
- Please point out to participants that they can have the organisers (=you) sign a Registration of participation form for DSh seminars. It is the participants' responsibility to fill out the form and print it for you. Please only sign it after all necessary conditions for obtaining the credits attributed to the event are fulfilled.
- If you have received formal confirmation that your activity is being financed by the DSh (for a specific amount), you will be able to have your expenses reimbursed by the DS-LSM by submitting all necessary documents (following the VUB rules) and clear instructions to Jane Verlinden, DocBe, VUB Room M326. For questions, please email her.
- the DS-LMS can use VUB rooms without additional costs, please book your LSM seminar rooms via Jane Verlinden, DocBe
What are the VUB's priority rules for registration?
In order to make sure that the target groups of specific events are guaranteed access, a set of priority rules has been developed. These rules will guide the registration of participants.
- DS Members with the obligation to participate
- Members of the organising Doctoral School(s)
- Members of other Doctoral School(s) at the VUB or UGent
- VUB PhD students that are not a member of a Doctoral School, PhD students of the UGent that are taking the old PhD Training Programme, and ULB PhD students
- PhD students of other universities, post-docs and other VUB researchers, researchers from other research institutions and other people interested