PhD students receive scientific training, but also training related to professional skills and personal development.
The daily supervisors play the most important role in the scientific training of PhD students: they guide their study of scientific literature, help them in writing papers and preparing presentations, and show by collaboration and coaching how to do research. All research groups have research seminars for the staff and PhD students, which contribute to the scientific education. In addition to the local training, the students follow the educational program of the research school they participate in. This program typically consists of several advanced (post-master) courses, and workshops on specific research themes. These courses and workshops are often in areas that are somewhat, but not too closely, related to the student’s research area, thus providing a broader view of computer science and mathematics. Finally, students attend international conferences and summer schools in their own area of research, allowing them to set up a network within their research community.
The TU/e offers ample opportunities for personal development with a series of courses that are part of the TU/e PROOF program (PROviding Opportunities For PhD students). These courses make an excellent addition to the scientific education. Examples of courses are Planning and communication, Cultural awareness, Scientific integrity, and Career orientation. The PROOF program also contains courses of a more scientific nature, such as Presenting and Writing articles and abstracts. PhD students contribute to the bachelor or master program of the department, by acting as a teaching assistant. This way they develop teaching skills, which is important if they want to pursue an academic career.
The course program runs in parallel with the research project. Every PhD student has one or more advisors, one of which is a full professor (called the "promotor"). The PhD student becomes a member of the research school in computer science of which the research group and promotor are a member. There are three national research schools in computer science in the Netherlands: ASCI,IPA and SIKS. The "ICT-onderzoek Platform Nederland" or IPN bundles the ICT research in the Netherlands. This organization includes the research schools ASCI, IPA and SIKS. The schools organize courses, workshops, summer- and winter-schools and other scientific activities. Each activity is awarded a number of credits (ects) according to a commonly agreed-upon scheme.
The research schools organize a number of (course) activities for which they award credits. The schools also recognize a number of other activities such as summerschools, conferences and workshops as being learning activities of the PhD students. The PhD trajectory is supervised by a professor who can "sign off" that a student performed these activities.
Currently the PhD program in computer science does not require PhD students to complete a certain number of credits worth of course activities in order to be allowed to graduate. However, participation in these activities and obtaining at least 30 ects is highly recommended.