The conduct of a research project by PhD students is central to ASCoR’s PhD programme. A research project is based on a proposal that is usually written by one or more senior ASCoR faculty, but in some cases by the PhD candidate him/herself. In all cases the project conforms to the following criteria:
- Fits into the ASCoR Research Programme.
- Contains all compulsory elements of a Dutch Science Foundation application. Definition of academic relevance (theoretical background), research question, proposed methodology, societal relevance, work plan and a budget.
A PhD project usually consists of 3 or more research studies, leading to three or more peer-reviewed academic publications. In addition to writing articles, ASCoR PhD students also follow courses to broaden their knowledge, have the opportunity to visit (inter)national conferences and attend relevant workshops and symposia
PhD training is organized by the Graduate School of Communication. All ASCoR PhD candidates are enrolled in the PhD Training Program of the Graduate School of Communication. As most PhD candidates hold a Research Master degree in Communication Science, the coursework is generally limited to 9 ECTS. PhD students follow the course ‘Introduction to a PhD in Communication Science’ and have the opportunity to follow other courses on a topic that is relevant to their project.
If a PhD candidate does not hold a Research Master degree in Communication Science, the coursework varies between 12 and 60 ECTS and the candidate needs to finish a Transfer Program before the PhD project can start.
In addition to the Graduate School coursework, all PhD candidates are also members of a PhD Club in which research is discussed every two weeks, and of course each PhD candidate has his/her supervision team.
Introduction to a PhD in Communication Science
The course ‘Introduction to a PhD in Communication Science’ is a workshop for first year PhD students. The course dates are every year in Spring.
The PhD introduction course aims to build discipline awareness, to address PhD-specific issues involving integrity, project management, and paper submission, and to stimulate discussion about academic careers and societal impact. First year NeSCoR PhD's are invited after consulting the NeSCoR Management.
PhD progress evaluation
Progress of all PhD projects at ASCoR is monitored at several points during the project through the following instruments:
Training & Supervison Plan
The basic work plan, agreements about supervision, and the training plan are laid down in the Training & Supervision Plan 2 months after the start of the PhD project.
First Year Paper
Nine months after the formal start of the PhD project, a paper must be ready and submitted to the ASCoR Board for a formal assessment. The paper is either an empirical article or a theoretical review article and the quality of the article should be such that the article can comfortably be submitted to those outlets that are well-recognized in the particular sub-area.
In the Progress Portfolio, the PhD candidate and the supervision team report on the progress so far, and indicate whether and how successful completion of the project before the project end date can be guaranteed. The portfolio consists of an outline of the dissertation, an overview of progress so far of all thesis chapters, an overview of papers that have resulted from the project so far, and a 'statement of feasibility' that the dissertation can and will be submitted a number of months before the project end date.
PhD thesis and thesis defense
The final months of each project are devoted to finishing the PhD thesis, which is based on the articles written throughout the project. After the dissertation has been read and approved by a committee of experts, there is a public defense, held at the University of Amsterdam.