Ethics of Technology

PhD programme

The second year of the Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society Master’s consists of mandatory courses (50%) and work directly preparing for the PhD thesis (50%). The 3-year PhD programme will also contain training and educational elements, with a minimum size of 30 credits. A tailor-made programme will be made for each PhD student. 


Firstly, PhD students can choose elective courses, depending on specific needs, educational background and thesis topic. Such courses will as a rule not be taught by 3TU.Ethics staff, but will be bought in from elsewhere, for example from the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management (Delft), the Netherlands School for Research in Practical Philosophy (OZSE) or the Dutch graduate school for Technology, Science and Modern Culture (WTMC). Elective courses can also be taken at one of the foreign partner institutions during the stay of the PhD student (see below). A list of suggested courses for students with different backgrounds will be drafted. These courses will have a large chance of being approved.

Secondly, the PhD student will participate in and prepare for seminars / colloquia, peer reviews, tutorials and reading groups. This part of the education of PhD students, spread over the whole duration of the 3-year programme, will be more informal and flexible in nature than the mandatory and elective courses. Students are expected to maintain a portfolio (a standard format will be provided) of these activities, with a review with the daily supervisor taking place on a regular basis. A short description of possible elements of the portfolio:

  • Peer review sessions, supervised by a senior researcher, in which students present their own work. PhD students from all years and specializations will attend, so that PhD students just starting will benefit from their more experienced colleagues, while the latter will benefit from the opportunity to practise presenting their work clearly to an audience that is not (yet) specialized in their field.
  • Seminars and colloquia given by staff members of 3TU.Ethics, as well as guest seminars by foreign researchers. PhD students will mix here with more senior researchers and learn from them as well as from the guest speaker(s). The PhD student may also include seminars and colloquia at other research schools and departments in the Netherlands in his/her personal programme.
  • Tutorials on a particular subject, organized by a staff member on request of one or a few PhD students. The tutor will be able to give individual attention to the students. The subjects for tutorials should be highly relevant for the specific research projects of these PhD students.
  • Reading groups concerning a standard work chosen by mutual agreement. These readings groups are organized at the departments for all researchers, whether PhD student, postdoc or senior researcher.


Naturally, not all elective courses that the PhD student takes during his/her programme need to be related directly to the research project. Twente graduate school format asks for an “educational programme aimed at widening the perspective of the research student on societal, ethical and philosophical issues, as well as on innovation and entrepreneurship”. Social, ethical and philosophical issues are already central to the whole programme. For the 3TU.Ethics PhD students that fall under Twente Graduate School, it is also possible to choose from the broadening and research management courses offered by TGS and the academic skills and career development courses offered by the Centre for Training and Development


PhD students in the programme are required to spend 3 to 6 months abroad during the 3rd year of their full 5-year graduate programme. During their stay abroad the PhD students can continue their research under supervision of a local researcher, broaden their horizons and network, and follow additional courses. They will be asked to propose a plan before leaving. To facilitate a quality stay abroad, arrangements have been made with the following universities / centres / groups:

  • Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Oxford, UK (prof. Julian Savulescu)
  • Centre for Applied Philosophy and Practical Ethics (CAPPE), Canberra/Melbourne, Australia (prof. Seumas Miller)
  • Philosophy Department, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden (prof. Sven Ove Hansson)

These groups have been chosen as preferred international partner for the 3TU.Ethics PhD programme because of their excellent research quality and their international status. Each of them has different specializations and together they provide the 3TU.Ethics PhD students a wide range of options for making a close connection with their PhD project. Funds are available in the budget of the graduate program for travel costs and for covering possible teaching fees or costs of supervision at the foreign university in question. The PhD student is, however, required to pay for costs of living and accommodation.