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Curriculum

Several elements of the curriculum are affected by the ambition to provide interdisciplinary training. It speaks, for instance, to:

  • Opening up the school’s modules to PhD students from widely different fields.
  • Example: the practice at Loughborough University of opening up the doctoral college courses to all, irrespective of discipline, as long as subject-specific training has been undertaken at school.
  • A thematic organization of the curriculum or specific modules around topics and based on overlapping research interests that require an interdisciplinary approach. Some schools offer this in the form of a summer of winter programme.
  • Example: The University of Leipzig Graduate School Global and Area Studies organizes a Summer School and Three-Day Retreat in winter. The yearly thematic summer school, focusing on questions of globalization and transnationalisation, has in recent years become the trademark of the Graduate School and is jointly hosted by several units. The summer school serves as an interdisciplinary meeting point.
  • The inclusion of questions, literature and methods from different disciplines across all offered modules.
  • Example: The Erasmus Graduate School for Social Sciences and Humanities offers theme-based classes to researchers who want to look beyond their own project and are interested in learning more about the various research approaches represented in the Graduate School. Through engaging with such different perspectives on specific themes, PhD students will develop the sensitivities and skills needed for interdisciplinary research.
  • A bespoke course selector that allows PhD students to compose their own personal, interdisciplinary curriculum,
  • Example: Thessa at the University of Helsinki Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences. Since 2018, all doctoral students and their supervisors can set up supervision agreements and personal study plans online by using Thessa. Thessa is an online tool for the planning, supervision and follow-up of PhD studies. Thessa can be accessed outside UH, so that supervisors and thesis committee members from all over the world can log in [THESSA].
  • The organization of joint staff-student events in which all school members from different disciplines come together. All schools have this in many different formats and regularities.
  • Example: The Central European University, Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy and International Relations organizes ADC, a conference with which it hopes to bring together all CEU doctoral students (starting from the 2nd year) to share their work. The School also obliges its PhDs to attend the departments’ seminars, where they are exposed to talks that are not closely connected to their research.
  • The organization of practical courses or projects that require collaboration among PhD students and interdisciplinary solutions to given problems/challenges in society.
  • Allowing PhDs from different disciplines to come together and form a joint proposal for an academic activity that will be funded by the university.

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