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Belgium-French-Community:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

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Overview Belgium (French Community)

Contents

Belgium-French-Community:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Belgium-French-Community:Historical Development

Belgium-French-Community:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Belgium-French-Community:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Belgium-French-Community:Political and Economic Situation

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation and Governance

Belgium-French-Community:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Belgium-French-Community:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Private Education

Belgium-French-Community:National Qualifications Framework

Belgium-French-Community:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Belgium-French-Community:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Belgium-French-Community:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Belgium-French-Community:Funding in Education

Belgium-French-Community:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Belgium-French-Community:Higher Education Funding

Belgium-French-Community:Adult Education and Training Funding

Belgium-French-Community:Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-French-Community:Primary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Primary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Primary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Belgium-French-Community:First Cycle Programmes

Belgium-French-Community:Bachelor

Belgium-French-Community:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Second Cycle Programmes

Belgium-French-Community:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Belgium-French-Community:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Belgium-French-Community:Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Distribution of Responsibilities

Belgium-French-Community:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Belgium-French-Community:Main Providers

Belgium-French-Community:Main Types of Provision

Belgium-French-Community:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Belgium-French-Community:Teachers and Education Staff

Belgium-French-Community:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Management and Other Education Staff

Belgium-French-Community:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Belgium-French-Community:Management Staff for Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Quality Assurance

Belgium-French-Community:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Educational Support and Guidance

Belgium-French-Community:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Belgium-French-Community:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Belgium-French-Community:Mobility and Internationalisation

Belgium-French-Community:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Mobility in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Belgium-French-Community:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms in School Education

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Belgium-French-Community:European Perspective

Belgium-French-Community:Legislation

Belgium-French-Community:Glossary

Organisation of Doctoral Studies

The authorization to organize the doctoral training is granted, by domain or set of fields of study, jointly with the universities hosting a thematic graduate college approved by ARES and belonging to the graduate college overseen by the corresponding FRS-FNRS. This one is unique in the French Community.

For the award of a doctorate in art and sciences of art, universities hosting an approved doctoral college belonging to the doctoral college of the field, necessarily work in collaboration with one or more Higher Schools of Arts. Postgraduate studies include doctoral training and work related to the preparation of a doctoral thesis.

Doctoral studies and doctoral preparatory work are carried out in research teams at university or in close collaboration with and under the direction of the university ; they may lead to a level 8 of certification exclusively issued by a university.

Doctoral programs are supervised by associated teams in a thematic doctoral college approved by ARES on the advice of the University Thematic Chamber. They are linked to the specific skills of the research teams and give the graduates a high scientific and professional qualification. They can lead to the issuance of a training certificate in research with a lump-sum of 60 ECTS of training. They essentially consist of specific activities related to the profession of researcher and therefore cannot include more than 30 ECTS of learning activities (courses organized by the institution, including lectures, tutorial exercises, practical work, laboratory work, seminars, creative exercises and workshop research, excursions, visits and training courses).

Holders of an in-depth master's degree in the same field benefit from an automatic valuation of the maximum 30 ECTS for these learning activities.

Admission Requirements

Under the general conditions fixed by the academic authorities, students with a scientific research master’s degree for at least 120 ECTS have access to third-cycle studies with a view to obtaining the related degree.

Moreover, in addition to a diploma, degree or second-cycle certificate issued in the French Community or elsewhere, the jury of the studies concerned may award all the higher studies successfully completed by a student for at least 300 ECTS, with any additional conditions.

By way of derogation from these general conditions and the additional conditions which they lay down, the academic authorities may also admit to postgraduate studies holders of a diploma, degree or certificate issued outside the French Community who, in this system of origin , gives direct access to doctoral courses or studies and work related to the preparation of a doctoral thesis, even if the studies sanctioned by these titles or degrees are not organized in separate cycles or in at least five years.

This admission must be exceptional and duly justified, in particular on the basis, of the formal and genuine proof of this ability to pursue doctoral studies in the original system.

Status of Doctoral Students

All doctoral students are students. As members of the academic community, they are represented on the different bodies of their university at which decisions about programmes and regulations are taken.

There are three possibilities for the financing of a doctoral thesis, and the status of the doctoral student depends on which option is used:

  • A student wishing to prepare a doctorate may obtain a post as an assistant at one of the universities. The contract has a maximum term of six years full-time equivalent (contract renewable every two years).
  • Doctoral grants (from the FNRS and FRIA) are awarded by the research grant funds. These fixed-term grants have a maximum term of 48 months (two times two years). They may be obtained following the favourable classification of a research project examined by a committee. These grants are subject to social security, but exempt from tax. The universities may also award grants (training grants, doctoral grants or post-doctoral grants).
  • The doctorate may also be financed by means of an employment contract as researcher within the framework of either an agreement between the university and a public body, or a university-private sector research partnership.

The position of assistant involves participation in the work of supervising students (supervision of practicals, seminars, invigilating at examinations, etc.) for up to 50% of the time, whereas doctoral students with a grant or under an employment contract are not subject to such an obligation.

Since 1996, the universities have been authorised to award doctoral grants which are not subject to  withholding tax on professional income, but are subject to social security. In principle, therefore, the doctoral student receiving a grant from a university should benefit from the same social status (in terms of sickness and invalidity cover, family allowance, unemployment benefit, pension, pension etc.) whether he or she is a scholarship holder or under an employment contract. However, the social cover (entitlement to unemployment benefit, maternity leave and holiday pay in particular) may vary depending on the type of grant.

Current expenses associated with doctoral research (operating costs, use of equipment) are normally payable by the unit to which the student is attached. Additional resources are available for certain occasional expenses, such as participation in conferences, seminars and meetings and research trips abroad.

There are two types of graduate college: graduate colleges overseen by the Scientific Research Fund - FNRS  and thematic graduate schools.

Supervision Arrangements

The "landscape" decree doesn't stipulate anything about supervision arrangements for PhD students.

Employability

The university institutions have progressively implemented various initiatives with a view to publicising employment opportunities, training PhD students in the acquisition of transversal skills, and assisting graduates in finding a job.

The universities have close links with the socio-economic world through research work conducted in collaboration with industry, a research commercialisation policy, the creation of numerous spin-offs and the development of science parks.

The website dedicated to doctoral studies in Belgium provides the latest information about collaboration between universities and businesses: Enterprise-University interface units have been created by each of the universities under their own individual arrangements.
According to the site, the interface units have the following roles:

  • to create dialogue between companies and universities in order to encourage partnerships between them;
  • to develop the universities’ scientific and technical potential;
  • to use the skills of universities and research bodies to increase companies’ technical capabilities;
  • to orient the universities’ scientific skills towards the needs of the economy;
  • to make the research activities, skills and equipment of the university’s scientific services better known to local and international companies;
  • to make universities more accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises.

The Council of French-Speaking Rectors has published a guide to facilitate such partnerships, and public grants are available to finance cooperation projects.

The LIEU network brings together interface services and services for the commercialisation of research performed in universities and hautes écoles in the French Community.

Assessment

The doctoral degree is awarded to students who :

  • developed new knowledge at the most advanced frontier of a field of study and research, or at the interface of several fields, and demonstrated mastery of skills and methods of research ;
  • demonstrated the ability to design, plan, implement and adapt a comprehensive scientific or artistic research process with due respect for integrity ;
  • have contributed, through original research, to pushing the boundaries of knowledge or the field of art, developing meaningful works, some of which deserve publication or national or international diffusion according to the usual standards ;
  • are able to integrate knowledge to critically analyze, evaluate and synthesize new, complex and highly specialized scientific or artistic proposals in their field, or at the interface of several fields ;
  • are able to communicate, beginning in a critical dialogue, on their field of expertise with their peers, the scientific or artistic community in the broad sense, or with sophisticated audiences ;
  • are capable, within their academic or socio-professional environment, of contributing actively to societal, scientific, technical, artistic or ethical progress in a knowledge and sensitive society.

The academic degree of doctor is awarded after defending a thesis demonstrating the doctorand’s creativity and ability to carry out scientific research and disseminate its results. The doctoral examination consists of:

  • the production of an original dissertation in the discipline, in the form of either a thesis of personal character, or an essay by the candidate showing the value of a coherent set of publications and achievements for which the candidate is author or co-author;
  • the public presentation of this work highlighting its qualities and originality, as well as the candidate’s ability for scientific popularisation.

The faculty boards in particular are authorised to specify the prerequisites for admission to the preparatory work for a thesis or prior to the submission of a thesis, additional practical procedures relating to submission, the organisation of the private examination and the public defence, and the deliberation procedures and operational arrangements of the specific examination boards.

Certification

Third-cycle programmes in higher education comprise research training, leading to a research training certificate, and the preparation of a doctoral thesis, leading to the academic degree of doctor. These qualifications are at level 8 of the European Qualifications Framework for life long learning.

Diplomas certifying the academic degrees and certificates attesting successful completion of studies are awarded by boards made up of academic authorities.

They may only be awarded to students who have satisfied the conditions for access to studies, were regularly enrolled for a number of years corresponding to the minimum duration of studies, and have obtained the minimum number of credits for the corresponding study programme. They are delivered within three months of the announcement of awarding of the academic degree. Diplomas are signed by at least one academic authority or its delegate, and by the president and secretary of the board. Diplomas respect the form determined by the Government. They refer explicitly to the accompanying supplement to the diploma. The minimum information specified by the Government appears in French on the diploma. The supplement to the diploma includes the list of courses taken by the student, the conditions of access to studies, and the assessments certified by the awarded academic degree. The personal elements of this supplement, relating to the individual student, may be collected in an annex to the supplement. In this case, only the annex must be signed by the secretary of the board, whereas the common part of the supplement is certified by the institute.

For third-cycle university studies, the title is the name of the accredited graduate college or the research domain(s). The degree of doctor is mentioned in the title of the defended thesis.


Organisational Variation

There are no organisational variants for third-cycle higher education.