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PhD trajectory

COEUR offers PhD candidates a research and education program tailored towards their individual requirements.

In order to defend a PhD at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), you must meet a number of admission requirements.
- Everyone who has obtained a Dutch master’s degree (in accordance with the WHW, the Dutch Higher Education and Research Act), an ir. (engineering graduate), mr. (law graduate) or drs. (other graduates) degree.
- Candidates with a non-Dutch diploma should contact the Admissions office in good time so that their non-Dutch diploma’s can be accredited. This procedure can take up to six months.
- Provisional admission is possible on the grounds of other Dutch diplomas e.g BSc (no MSc diploma). See Section 2 of the PhD defence rules.
- PhD candidates may be EUR employees, but you can also work on a thesis under the supervision of a professor (supervisor) of the EUR if you are not from the EUR.

A PhD program within Erasmus MC lasts 3-4 years of research work, in the case of a full-time position. There is no difference in the requirements for clinical and preclinical PhD programs; the 4-year duration is a basic principle for all PhD programs.

Training and supervision plan
At the start of the PhD program, each PhD student discusses the Training and Supervision Plan (TSP) with his or her promotor. The TSP needs to be returned to the COEUR secretariat within 2 months after starting the PhD program.
The TSP includes a number of standard items:
- General information: Names of PhD student, supervisor(s), promotor and co-promotor, research school.
- Supervision: frequency of appointments with supervisors and promotors. Note: All PhD candidates need to be supervised by at least two supervisors.
- Thesis lay-out: Working title, duration of PhD program, summary and research plan.
- Training program: Planned courses, seminars, conferences.
- Teaching and other tasks (if applicable).
- Assessment and evaluation: planning of assessment points after 6, 9 and 12 months.
- Signatures (mandatory).
The TSP can serve as a guide for evaluation of the PhD candidate and the progress of the PhD program. It is recommended that the TSP is adjusted during the PhD program, e.g. after the 6-months, 9-months, 12-months and annual evaluations.

Training of PhD students
Erasmus MC recommends students to obtain an average of 30 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) in education and training activities during the PhD program. Such activities involve obtaining knowledge or skills of a general, academic, or specialist nature, e.g. conferences or seminars in the Netherlands or abroad and participation in retreats or journal clubs. Erasmus MC and COEUR offer a number of courses. Provided it is relevant and contributes to their PhD research, research physicians or residents in training (assistenten in opleiding or AIOS) may also include instruction they have had in the context of their medical studies. A PhD student and his/her supervisors/promotor/co-promotor share responsibility for the type and amount of education and training completed during the PhD program. An overview of the obtained ECTS needs to be provided in the PhD thesis.

PhD Portfolio
On the last page of their thesis, all Erasmus MC PhD students should include a PhD portfolio which specifies all courses/conferences attended and teaching performed. Provided they are related to the PhD program, supervision of students or research assistants, as well as teaching or management activities can also be included.

Teaching can be a very useful additional activity for PhD students as part of their training or development. If PhD students do academic or skills-based teaching, it is a requirement that they obtain a basic teaching qualification ('deel-BKO, i.e. Basis Kwalificatie Onderwijs'), depending on the amount of teaching tasks. Teaching experience and the basic teaching qualification can also be included in the PhD student's portfolio.

Thesis evaluation guidelines
The thesis will be evaluated by the inner doctoral committee. This committee is central to high-quality evaluation. Its members are experts in the field who are qualified to assess the quality of the thesis according to the traditions of the field of study.
Before submission of the thesis to the inner doctoral committee, it needs to comply with the following rules:
- In order to be admitted to the PhD defense procedure, forms 1, 2 and 3 must be completed in stages and submitted to the Registrar's Office. This administrative procedure takes place through Hora Est, the online registration system of the Registrar's Office at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). The forms must be accompanied by the required signatures and enclosures: a certified copy of the qualification (if obtained elsewhere than the EUR), proof of ID and - if relevant - an application for exemption stating the reasons.
- A mandatory plagiarism scan and analysis of the report needs to be carried out. The supervisor must analyze the plagiarism scan report and take its findings into account in the definitive approval of the doctoral thesis.

Inner doctoral committee
The inner doctoral committee consists of two thesis supervisors (promotor (chair) and co-promotor), a secretary affiliated with EUR (not the thesis supervisor), a committee member from outside the department of the promotor(s) and at least one committee member external to Erasmus MC.
The inner doctoral committee members evaluate the thesis on the basis of the following four points:
- The quality of the thesis should be satisfactory. An important indicator for academic quality is the publication of all or various parts of the PhD research in peer-reviewed academic journals or an equivalent academic publication. The thesis should in principle contain at least four peer-reviewed international academic publications (accepted or published), at least two of which should be first author works, and at least two in the first quartile of the scientific field concerned. If there is a divergence from the guideline, it must be supported and justified by the promotor.
- The thesis content should be coherent.
- The PhD student should have made an essential personal contribution to the PhD research.
- The thesis should contain a portfolio, which specifies all the courses and conferences attended and teaching performed.

Reporting by the inner doctoral committee
On the basis of the four points specified above, each committee member reports their evaluation of the thesis in writing (by email) to the secretary of the inner doctoral committee. The secretary reports the final decision to the Doctorate Board (College van Promoties). If all members of the inner doctoral committee evaluate the thesis positively, the student can be awarded a PhD. If two or more committee members consider the quality of the thesis to be unsatisfactory, the student will be refused a doctorate. Before arranging for a new committee to be set up, there will be a discussion between the Dean of Erasmus MC and the promotor. The aim of this discussion is to gain full understanding of the judgment made and to reach agreement on the correct way to proceed. As described in the doctoral regulations, the promotor can then, following approval from the Dean, request the Doctorate Board to set up a new PhD inner doctoral committee.