The Tilburg University PhD regulations incorporate a number of statutory provisions in conformity with the Higher Education and Research Act (in Dutch: WHW), and a number of conditions laid down by the Doctorate Board of Tilburg University.
On April 13, 2023, the Doctorate Board adopted new PhD regulations and decided that it would be effective as of June 1, 2023. The PhD Regulations are reviewed every two years and revised if necessary. Because of the pandemic, the revision has taken a little longer.
In 2022, a Working Group (Werkgroep Promotieverdediging) conducted an exploratory study and made recommendations to the Doctorate Board. Read the summary of the recommendations. The Doctorate Board has incorporated these recommendations into the new PhD Regulations. Below, you can find a summary of the most important revisions.
- PhD regulations as of June 1, 2023
- Elaboration of some elements of the PhD regulations for external PhD candidates as of June 1, 2023
Also see the FAQ on the PhD regulations
The main revisions are:
- The duty of care and tasks for the supervision of PhD candidates during the PhD program have been made more explicit. These tasks focus not only on the creation of the thesis but also, for example, on preparing the PhD candidate for the defense. This means in any case that the (Co-)Supervisors encourage and facilitate sufficient substantive feedback moments on the PhD research by the (Co-)Supervisors themselves and by other academic colleagues and ensure that the PhD Candidate presents the PhD research at least twice in the PhD program during a research meeting of the School and/or Department.
- Ius promovendi: an associate professor may be granted the ius promovendi (the power to confer PhD degrees) for, in principle, an indefinite period of time, instead of the ius promovendi being granted to the associate professor for each PhD program by the Doctorate Board.
- Composition of the PhD Committee: at least half of the members of the PhD Committee are full professors, rather than the majority.
- A PhD candidate must take the scientific integrity training offered by the university before the PhD candidate is admitted to the PhD defense session.
- A PhD candidate with special support needs may discuss this with his/her (co-)supervisors and the GS, and if there are circumstances that may affect the smooth running of the PhD defense session, the opportunity will be offered to conduct the defense in a manner adapted as far as possible.
- The assessment criteria are explicitly declared as being applicable to both the thesis and defense.
- An academic summary in English and Dutch should be attached to the thesis; a summary for non-experts should also be provided in English and Dutch (applies to PhD candidates whose dissertation will be approved by the PhD committee as of September 1, 2023).
- After approval of the thesis by the PhD Committee, the PhD candidate may still only correct an obvious slip of the pen. Members of the PhD Committee may no longer accompany their assessment with suggestions and/or recommendations.
- The PhD candidate concludes the public introduction with a statement, determined by the Doctorate Board, to the effect that the PhD candidate has operated in accordance with the principles of scientific integrity during the PhD program. In addition, at the time of the awarding of the PhD certificate, the PhD candidate promises to conduct future scientific research in accordance with the principles of scientific integrity.
- The procedure after the defense of the thesis, during the deliberation, has been modified and clarified. After the defense, a negative opinion of the PhD Committee can only be adopted by unanimous vote (unanimity) of all members of the PhD Committee present (physically or online). The chairperson of the PhD Committee (who has no voting rights) may decide whether or not at the request of one or more of the members of the PhD Committee, to proceed to a secret ballot. In the event that the PhD Committee issues a negative opinion, the chairperson suspends the PhD defense session and refers the matter to the Doctorate Board. The PhD Committee forwards a written report of the negative recommendation to the College of Promotions by return. If the decision to award the degree is not made immediately after the defense, the Doctorate Board decides on the follow-up within five working days.
- The supervisor cannot propose to award the designation of Cum Laude.
- An amendment has been made to the "Elaboration of some elements of the PhD Regulations for external PhD candidates", to the effect that the additional requirement for the composition of the supervisory team no longer applies.
FAQs on the PhD regulations
We offer you an overview of the frequently asked questions. Should you have an additional question, please contact the Graduate School.
- Do the PhD regulations apply to all PhD candidates?
Yes, the PhD Regulations apply to all PhD candidates who want to do a PhD at Tilburg University. For external PhD candidates, the elaboration of some elements of the PhD Regulations for external PhD candidates also apply.
The Doctorate Board consists of the Rector Magnificus (chair), the Vice-Rector Magnificus and the Deans of the Schools of the university (Article 2.1).
- Where can I find the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity?
The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (Universities of the Netherlands, 2018) can be found at the website of Universiteit van Nederland.
- Is it possible to obtain a dual degree at Tilburg University?
No, Tilburg University does not provide double doctorates or dual doctorates (Article 11.1(5)).
- Are Graduate Schools allowed to establish additional rules and guidelines to supplement the PhD regulations?
Yes, each Graduate School may establish (admission) rules and guidelines to supplement the provisions of these Regulations. These rules and guidelines require the approval of the Doctorate Board (Article 15.1, paragraph 2).
- Where can I find the PhD regulations until May 31, 2023?
PhD regulations valid until May 31, 2023.
Prior to admission to the PhD program
- I am an external PhD candidate. Do I also have to prepare a Training and Supervision Plan?
Yes, all PhD candidates at Tilburg University who have been admitted to the PhD program by the Doctorate Board as of January 1, 2018, must prepare a Training and Supervision Plan (Article 6.2).
- I have not completed a Master's degree. Can I pursue a PhD degree at Tilburg University?
That depends. A request for this can be submitted by the Director of the Graduate School for discussion in the Doctorate Board (Article 3.1, paragraph 3).
- I was awarded a PhD before. Can I then obtain a PhD at Tilburg University?
No, it is not possible to obtain a PhD at Tilburg University more than once (Article 3.1, paragraph 4).
- I am doing PhD research and do not have an employment contract at Tilburg University. When should I have been admitted to the PhD program?
You should be enrolled at the Graduate School at least two years before the (intended) date of the PhD defense and have been admitted to the PhD program by the Doctorate Board (Article 3.2, paragraph 2).
- What are the requirements to be appointed as a (co-)supervisor?
For each PhD candidate, a supervisor is appointed by the Doctorate Board and, in addition, a second supervisor, a supervisor or co-supervisor. A minimum of two and a maximum of three (co-)supervisors are appointed. The (co-)supervisor shall be an expert in (part of) the field of the subject described in the thesis. Persons with a family or similar personal relationship, persons with a business relationship to the PhD candidate, or other persons who have such a relationship to the PhD candidate that they should not reasonably be required to exercise judgment, do not qualify for an appointment as (co-)supervisor (Articles 4.1 and 4.2).
- I am an assistant professor. Can I be granted the ius promovendi?
No, only associate professors can be granted the ius promovendi (Article 4.5).
Admission to the PhD program
- My research proposal is not ready yet. Can I already submit a request to be admitted to the PhD program by the Doctorate Board?
Yes, the missing information should be submitted as soon as possible:
- Within 6 months if the PhD candidate has an employment contract with Tilburg University;
- Within one year if the PhD candidate does not have an employment contract with Tilburg University (Article 3.2(1)).
During the PhD program
- I want to quit my PhD program. What do I have to do?
After you have coordinated this with your (co-)supervisors and the Graduate School, a written request, stating the reasons, must be submitted to the Doctorate Board by the Graduate School (Article 3.4).
- I am a full professor at Tilburg University and will retire soon. Can I still function as a supervisor for PhD candidates after that?
As a full professor, you can only supervise PhD candidates for whom you have already been appointed supervisor by the Doctorate Board. Moreover, these PhD candidates must obtain their PhD within five years of your emeritus status (Article 4.4).
- I am a full professor at Tilburg University and will soon be honorably discharged. Can I still function as a supervisor for PhD candidates after that?
As a full professor after honorable discharge, you may only supervise PhD candidates for whom you have already been appointed as supervisor by the Doctorate Board. Moreover, these PhD candidates must obtain their PhD within five years after the honorable discharge takes effect (Article 4.4).
- Can the composition of the supervisory team be changed?
In special circumstances, a change in the appointment of the (co-)supervisor(s) may take place. Such a change is possible only with the approval of the Doctorate Board (Article 4.1, paragraph 4).
- Am I required to take courses?
Every PhD candidate must take the research Integrity training (Article 6.2, paragraph 4). Furthermore, the Graduate School may require certain courses or training. Please contact the Graduate School for this.
The assessment of the thesis
- What requirements must the composition of the PhD Committee meet?
The composition of the PhD Committee must meet the following requirements (Article 5.3):
- The committee consists of at least 4 members, at least half of whom are full professors or emeritus professors with the power to confer a PhD degree (ius promovendi).
- Members hold PhD degrees.
- At least one of the members is from outside Tilburg University.
- At least one of the full professors is from Tilburg University;
- At least one of the members is male and one is female;
- The composition is sufficiently diverse in terms of expertise;
- The members have no family/personal/business relationship to the PhD candidate and have no other interests related to the PhD research.
- Are (co-)supervisors members of the PhD Committee?
No, (co-)supervisors are not members of the PhD Committee (Article 5.3, Paragraph 2).
- Can the composition of a PhD Committee be changed?
In special circumstances, a change may be made in the composition of the PhD Committee. Such a change is possible only after approval by the Doctorate Board (Article 5.2, paragraph 5).
- What assessment criteria must a thesis meet?
The assessment criteria are listed in Article 7.2 of the PhD Regulations.
- When is the designation of Cum Laude awarded?
The designation of Cum Laude is awarded if the thesis demonstrates exceptional ability of the PhD candidate to practice science independently and, indicatively, to be among the 5% best theses within the scientific field. The procedure and criteria are set out in Articles 10.1 and 10.2 of the PhD Regulations.
The PhD defense session
- Can committee members participate in the PhD defense session via videoconferencing?
Non-Benelux Committee members are not expected to be physically present. They can participate in the PhD defense session via videoconferencing. One week before the defense session, the Beadle will send instructions, including the videoconferencing link.
- How does the PhD defense session proceed?
You can find this in the Instruction for PhD candidates.
The answers to the frequently asked questions have been carefully formulated. However, the text of the PhD Regulations is always leading.
The Graduate School is the first point of contact for practical questions concerning the PhD process and registration. During the PhD program a number of administrative steps need to be taken in the PhD tracking system Hora Finita, for example for admission to the PhD program, the appointment of the (co)promotors and the approval of the PhD committee and the PhD thesis.
In addition, more practical aspects have been included in:
- Instructions and time schedule for PhD candidates
- Format training and supervision plan (use Acrobat Reader)