The role of doctoral schools to enhance quality in doctoral education


in cooperation with PRIDE - Association for Professionals in Doctoral Education
Centre for Advanced Academic Studies of the University of Zagreb in Dubrovnik, 2-5 September 2018


Download the 'save the date' announcement


Extended application period: 20 April – 13 June

Target audience

 Vice-Rectors/Heads/Deans of Doctoral Schools/Programmes, doctoral supervisors, academics, senior managers and professionals from UNICA/PRIDE and outside the UNICA/PRIDE Networks working in the area of doctoral education 



UNICA introduced the PhD MASTER CLASS in 2009. At that time, doctoral schools were recently or barely introduced in many European universities. Ten years later, the landscape of doctoral education has changed significantly. While numerous universities have developed doctoral programmes, the scope and focus of doctoral education has evolved. Apart from its initial objectives, namely increasing the completion rate for PhD degrees, boosting the research output, shortening the time-to-degree, monitoring closer the PhD trajectories and enhancing the quality of doctoral education, additional aims have been set, such as the development of transferable skills of doctoral candidates and providing guidance for career planning of doctorate holders. Increasingly, this requires considering perspectives outside academia in a context in which employability of doctorate holders becomes a critical issue. A recent study undertaken by the EUA-CDE also shows that issues such as adequate funding, research ethics, international recruitment or well-being of candidates are currently considered as strategic priorities at many institutions. Many of these topics are actually closely linked to tasks associated with doctoral schools.


The UNICA Doctoral Education Group believes it is useful to take a step back and address questions such as:

  • What have we learned about Doctoral Schools over the last 10 years?
  • Which failures did we encounter along the way?
  • What are the relevant components of a Doctoral School depending on the specific context of an institution?
  • How do we communicate about Doctoral Education?
  • How to monitor/observe/measure the impact of what we do in Doctoral Education?


Through a series of keynote talks, group exercises and an exchange of practices and experience among participants, the 9th UNICA PhD MASTER CLASS will aim to identify:

  • the pros & cons of and drivers for establishing a Doctoral School,
  • the stakeholders that benefit most of DS,
  • what is (and what is not) the role of a DS,
  • in which context and under which conditions DS are relevant,
  • what are the advantages and/or drivers of particular models according to different (institutional & strategic) goals,
  • what is the best model in YOUR context.


How to apply, important dates and participation fees

  • Applications will be accepted on motivation & short biography and upon submission of a questionnaire on doctoral schools (see below).
  • To apply, please complete this online application form.
  • As part of your application, please fill in the questionnaire on doctoral schools available under this link.


Programme schedule 

Detailed programme will be available in late May.

Opening: Sunday, 2 September, 15:30

Closing: Wednesday, 5 September, ca. 17:00


Important dates & additional information:

Extended application period: 20 April – 13 June 2018

Confirmation of acceptance: by Wednesday 18 June 2018

Maximum number of participants: 25

Participation fee: €650 (UNICA member universities, PRIDE Association members), €800 (participants not associated with UNICA or PRIDE).

Participation fee includes: accommodation (4 nights at the Residence of the Centre for Advanced Academic Studies), breakfasts, lunches, coffee breaks, 2 dinners and the participation in the social programme. The fee does not cover travel expenses of participants.



If you need further information, please contact Marta Brelih-Wasowska (UNICA Secretariat) at: marta.wasowska@unica-network.eu

Sunday, 2 September, 2018 to Wednesday, 5 September, 2018
Centre for Advanced Academic Studies University of Zagreb in Dubrovnik