Besides the training weeks, tutorials form a significant part of the NIG training followed by the Ph.D. students during the first two years of their appointment. While the modules give a general introduction to the field, tutorials are intended to study specific themes that are interesting and relevant to the participants’ own research. Ph.D. students must attend four such tutorials, preferably during the first two or three years of their research appointment. (Taking them at a later point will reduce the usefulness of the tutorial for education and research.)
Tutorials are given on a one-to-one basis, or in small groups of two or three Ph.D. students with similar interests, with a senior member of the research school. Topics may include the reading and discussion of recent or classic literature on a given theme, critical review and improvement of intermediate stages of the dissertation, acquiring a familiarity with research methods relevant to the thesis, or even writing a publication together.
The design of the tutorials is determined in consultation between the participant and the senior member, as is the number of times they will meet (including how long and where), and the assessment method. A tutorial is rated at 120 hours (4 EC). As a rule this means that there will be 5-7 meetings next to a review of a considerable quantity of study material. No matter which form is chosen, a tutorial must challenge the Ph.D. student to treat a topic, theory or method relevant for his/her research in-depth. This should be evident from for example new or significantly revised writings. A tutorial should not be restricted to having an ‘extra supervisor’ reading and criticizing the student’s existing writings without placing any further demands on the student.
If the knowledge needed for the research not be available among the members of the NIG, it is possible, with the NIG directors’ permission, to attend tutorials ‘outside’ the NIG. Candidates should contact the NIG directors in advance in such cases.
The procedure is a three step process:
- The student applies for a tutorial. Only after acceptance by the NIG office the next step follows.
- The student fills in details about the sessions.
- The tutor evaluates the tutorial (and can opt for a fee)
If a number of candidates report simultaneously for tutorials in the same subject from the same tutor, NIG will check whether the tutorials can be combined. The tutor and the Ph.D. student(s) will then make their own arrangements.
It is possible to substitute (part of) the tutorials with other customized forms of training that Ph.D. students may take such as summer schools, seminars and courses with other research schools, provided they are of a sufficient weight and are of a disciplinary nature. For example, a course on writing academic texts in English (for non-natives) can be a substitute for a tutorial. In addition, the State of the art courses and the QCA course can be a substitute for a tutorial as well.