Rules and Regulations

doctoral process UT

brief outline

Brief outline of the UT doctoral processes with reference to the revised Doctoral Regulations, the PhD Charter and the ProDoc doctoral candidate monitoring system.


The policy for doctoral candidates is designed to improve the quality and efficiency of doctoral trajectories at the UT. The PhD Charter and the ProDoc doctoral candidate monitoring system are new instruments for this. The PhD Charter describes the entire doctoral process including the roles and responsibilities of the various players and is in line with the updated Doctoral Regulations that cover the final phase, the defence of the dissertation. ProDoc is a tool for documenting registration and the supervision process and, in the end, for monitoring the protocol of the Doctoral Regulations. All doctoral candidates in all categories (see below) will be included in the monitoring system. Twente Graduate School (TGS) handles registration of all PhDs (irrespective of membership of a TGS programme).

The following categories of doctoral candidates have been identified:

  1. Standard: UT employee (‘AiO’)
  2. Internal: UT employee (graduating member of staff, other than AiO, usually in permanent employment)
  3. Contract (three subcategories): UT grant, other grant or own funding, employed elsewhere
  4. External: no sponsor (no time, no funding; limited facilities).

The various phases of a doctoral process are as follows:

Initial phase: recruitment, selection, contract and arrival

Recruitment and selection

  • Recruitment through the PeopleXS vacancy system (HR) may refer to an application for an existing vacancy (for AiOs) or through a request for admission as bursary or self-paying PhD candidate. The first are handled by HR staff; the others are referred to a suitable professor. It is of course also possible for professors to contact potential candidates directly (and vice versa).
  • Doctoral candidates are always part of a faculty (the dean has final responsibility).
  • The professor (future supervisor) makes the pre-selection, leads the recruitment and selection process, ensures that the academic, language and financial admission criteria are met and decides whether to admit a candidate.
  • The professor is advised by a committee he appoints (consisting of himself as chairperson and the proposed assistant supervisor(s) and at least one member of the staff of a different discipline, and if required other specialists) and the faculty’s HR employee. For non-employee candidates a second opinion of at least one staff member outside the chair is required.
  • A self-test for potential candidates is available along with an interview checklist.
  • An interview on campus at which the selected candidate meets the research group (and vice versa) is part of a normal selection procedure.


  • A new appointment (cat. a) or study contract (cat. c and d) for each new candidate must be approved before the start by the dean of the faculty, according to the faculty procedures . The contract includes a research plan encompassing the entire doctoral process and covering funding, timetable and logistics. Non-employee PhD candidates (bursary, self-paying (cat. c) and external (cat. d)) are obliged to pay a tuition fee, that under certain conditions may be (partly) waived by the faculty. For internal candidates only (cat. b; WP) arrangements can be made in the FJUT interviews, with the approval of the dean, for the possibility to write a dissertation.
  • Each new appointment (for cat. a) and/or contract (cat. c and d) is reviewed and registered by HR (through the local HR staff to central HR - also for a fiscal check).
  • After approval by the dean, HR administers all doctoral candidates in OracleHR: a and c on the start of the appointment and/or grant/sponsorship; b and d at least two years before the doctoral defence ceremony.


  • The formalities required before a candidate can arrive are organized by the departments. In the case of foreign doctoral candidates, these include immigration matters. The following is pending the implementation of the conclusions of the I-column/chain working group (and so are provisional).
  • The hybrid status (employee/student/external) means there is a danger that expertise is also dispersed and/or duplicated. A uniform location (front office) offering the necessary information and where all Dutch and foreign PhDs can arrange matters is very important.
  • For foreign doctoral candidates, attention must be given to matters such as:
  1. Immigration (IND): residence and/or work permits;
  2. Insurance (at the same time as IND formalities in order to avoid non-insurance: employee doctoral candidates in basic insurance, international grant PhDs with AON);
  3. Accommodation;
  4. Diploma validation (Faculty à CES/AO);
  5. Assistance with Dutch-language forms etc. (Department, with regular information introduction meetings if necessary).

TGS intake

  • Every new doctoral candidate is invited for an admission interview by TGS, usually after arrival (the candidate is already present in the case of 2+3/MSc+PhD), to examine the registration information and familiarise the doctoral candidate with TGS, for example:
  1. ProDoc doctoral candidate monitoring system with assessment points (qualifier, annual progress meetings);
  2. TGS clusters and programmes (if applicable);
  3. TGS training and certificate: 30EC requirements, TGS courses, CDC, TCP and other opportunities;
  4. Next TGS introduction workshops, including integrity workshop.
  • The doctoral candidate may be linked to a UT research institute and/or a TGS programme or a (national KNAW) research school. The TGS records these affiliations in ProDoc if they are reported by the doctoral candidate and confirmed by the proposed supervisor.
  • Until the qualifier (six to nine months after commencement), the doctoral candidate is “prospective” and supervisor(s) and day-to-day assistant supervisor(s) are “proposed”.
  • Once the qualifier has been passed (see 2.), an application for the appointment of supervisor(s) and assistant supervisors is submitted to the Doctorate Board and the result is recorded in ProDoc (this is, therefore, considerably earlier than in the current situation).
  • It is not possible to remain registered in ProDoc without a proposed or appointed supervisor (except in limited transitional situations) and so it is also not possible to obtain a doctorate from the UT. In the event of early deregistration, there is an exit interview with TGS.

Research phase: supervision and assessment

This only lists the formal steps. Arrangements on day-to-day supervision are made between the supervisor, the day-to-day assistant supervisor(s) and the doctoral candidate and set out in the T&SP.

T&SP: a personal Training & Supervision Plan (T&SP) for the doctoral candidate must be recorded in ProDoc within three months of arrival. It sets out arrangements on supervision and the knowledge and skills that must be in the training plan. The actual subjects (courses etc.) will be described in greater detail, including details of specific activities, in the course of the doctoral process. The T&SP is, therefore, a dynamic document that should be updated at each annual progress meeting. At least 30 EC credits (divided roughly equally between broadening and deepening) must have been achieved by the end of the doctoral process. A TGS education certificate (with supplement) will be drawn up for this and signed by the supervisor and the Director of the TGS. The supervisor may apply to the director of the TGS for exemptions for all or part of the training plan, based on recognition of prior learning (EVCs). The director of the TGS may consult the dean of the faculty and/or the training professor of the TGS programme concerned before making a decision.

Qualifier: between six and nine months after starting, the supervisor will set a ‘qualifier’ exam. The doctoral candidate explains the research proposal, provisional results and updated planning in writing (2 A4) and in a public oral presentation to a qualifier committee (supervisor, daily supervisor(s) and at least one other professor). The committee will make a recommendation accompanied by supporting evidence. There are two possible outcomes: sufficient and insufficient. In the case of insufficient, the committee defines clear objectives for a possible second qualifier exam three months later. After a second qualifier exam no other improvement period is possible.

Annual progress meetings: the recommendation of the qualifier committee forms the input for the first annual progress meeting, held and recorded by the supervisor (go/no-go). If there is an negative outcome following the single 3 months improvement period, the employment contract is not extended and/or renewed. The same applies for the termination of a study contract. In these cases the doctoral candidate may appeal in writing to the dean of the faculty. There is always an exit interview with TGS in the event of early termination of a doctoral process for any reason.

With a positive outcome, the results and objectives for the following period are recorded in the T&SP. The supervisor holds further annual progress meetings at which the T&SP is discussed and updated. The planning of the doctoral defence ceremony, or a possible extension (force majeure), must be discussed at the third assessment interview (i.e. near the start of the fourth year) along with the activities that still have to be undertaken for the TGS education certificate (30EC) in the final year.

End phase: doctoral defence ceremony

Please see the revised Doctoral Regulations. The following steps are identified:

Approval of manuscript

The doctoral candidate notifies the supervisor that the manuscript is in ProDoc and that the educational programme (EP; 30EC) according to the T&SP is complete.

The supervisor accepts the manuscript and the EP (or not à back to doctoral candidate).

Approval of TGS educational programme:

The doctoral candidate notifies the director of the TGS that the EP has been approved by the supervisor.

The director of the TGS accepts the EP (or not à back to doctoral candidate).

On approval, the TGS certificate is prepared for issue during the doctoral defence ceremony (distribution via Doctorate Board and beadle).

Setting the date of doctoral defence ceremony.

The supervisor institutes a committee and ensures that sufficient nominated members will be present on the provisional date/time. The date accepted by the supervisor and dean is recorded by Doctorate Board.

N.B.: if a new date has to be set, it must be six months after the set date. The dean can ask the Doctorate Board to make an exception in the case of force majeure.

Appointment of doctoral defence ceremony committee.

The dean approves the final membership of the committee proposed by the supervisor. The application to appoint the committee is sent to the Doctorate Board.

Appointment of doctoral defence ceremony committee.

The Doctorate Board appoints the members of the committee by e-mail/PDF letter (with a link to the manuscript and deadline for response) and an evaluation form (attached to the e-mail). The letter also informs the committee members that they can request a hardcopy manuscript from the doctoral candidate, which will be sent by post.

Response of committee members.

The committee members give their assessment by completing and returning the form to the dean.

The doctoral candidate must submit the title page to the Doctorate Board.

Result of assessment committee

The dean examines the responses and sends them to the Doctorate Board, where they are placed in ProDoc. If there are adverse responses, the dean notifies the supervisor and other members of the committee (no more than one member of the committee may have an adverse opinion and he may abstain from signing). The dean also takes action if the members of the committee and/or supervisor propose an award of the distinction cum laude.

The supervisor decides whether improvements suggested by the members of the committee should be incorporated in the final manuscript and if the other members of the committee and the dean should be notified of this.

Defence of dissertation

Set date (possible result of cum laude procedure).

File information in ProDoc and pass to Alumni Office.

PvD 24-09-14 updated draft