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Supervisory process

The supervision of international PhD candidates requires several different encouragements, insights and skills from supervisors. The schools in Graduate Spirit have addressed this challenge in several ways, by:

  • Offering English language training to staff
  • Developing a better understanding of different supervision and educational needs of PhD candidates through supervisor workshops and training courses
  • Laying down supervision needs and agreements in a formal training and supervision plan.
  • Example: According to the Erasmus University doctoral regulations, all PhD students must have a Training and Supervision Plan (TSP). This formal agreement contains the composition and roles of the supervisory team, the frequency of supervisory meetings, suggestions for courses and teaching responsibilities. The Graduate School wants PhD students and their supervisors to develop and determine a TSP within the first two months of the PhD track; at least 30 ECTS credits in the TSP should be dedicated to PhD training
  • Allowing co-supervision of PhD students by academics from foreign universities
  • Offering financial or other types of rewards to supervisors recruiting international PhD candidates
International assessment

Being assessed by an international committee of examiners contributes to the further internationalisation of the curriculum. In the Graduate Spirit schools several examples have emerged of good ways to do this, by::

  • Supporting international examiners on their arrival and settling in at the university
  • Involving international examiners in the defense committees of PhD students
  • Organizing exam practice for international students, by role-playing and taking them to actual vivas or public defenses
Best Practice

The Train-the-Trainer programme of the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki offers training in university pedagogics and academic supervision to make sure that supervisors of international candidates are fully aware of the specific challenges and needs [PDF-link pages 34-36].

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