Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

PhD Roadmap, TSP & Diploma

The SENSE PhD training programme provides training for PhD candidates to become qualified scientific researchers with strong developed competencies to:

  • Carry out scientific research independently and in a systematic and productive way
  • Present the results of research to an international audience
  • Contribute to an improved understanding of the causes, consequences and solutions of environmental issues 
  • Position scientific research in a multidisciplinary context

On this page you read more about:

When are you a SENSE PhD

You are a SENSE PhD when your supervisor is a professor at one of the SENSE partner institutes. If you are in doubt, please ask your supervisor if (s)he is a member of the SENSE Research School.
PLEASE NOTE: Every SENSE partner institute has its own administrative requirements. 

Training and Supervision Plan (TSP)

Each SENSE PhD candidate in SENSE develops an individual Training and Supervision Plan (TSP). This plan is tailor-made for your personal development to become an independent researcher in your field. When you have fulfilled all TSP requirements at the end of your PhD, you can apply for the SENSE Diploma, which is centrally organised (see below).

Please fill out the TSP in close consultation with your supervisor. We advise you to submit your TSP within 3-6 months after the start of your PhD to your university/institute for approval. All TSPs should adhere to the SENSE TSP requirements. IHE, VU and WIMEK have additional requirements. You should be informed about these additional requirements by the local PhD coordinator. Every SENSE partner institute organises the evaluation and approval of the TSP in its own way:

IHE Delft  Please e-mail your TSP to the IHE Delft Graduate School for approval by the PhD Coordinator:
In case of changes after approval: please note that as long as changes are small, you do not have to ask approval for the updated versions of your TSP.
TSP form IHE Delft 
VU-ESD Please submit your TSP for approval by uploading it on the VU Hora Finita.
ESD PhD coordinator: Mónica Sánchez-Román (
VU-IVM IVM PhD candidates are informed about SENSE-related procedures by the IVM PhD Coordinator Paolo Scussolini (, upon starting their PhD. This information is included in the IVM PhD Guidelines document, which constitutes the reference for all aspects of PhD life at IVM.
WU-WIMEK Check this site for WIMEK specific procedures and the WIMEK TSP form.
You can send the TSP form for approval to
UU, OU, RUG, UT You can send the TSP form for approval to TSP form UU, OU, RUG, UT

The training and education plan is not fixed after approval. Please note that, in consultation with your supervisor(s), it is possible to change your TSP whenever you see (good) reason to do so. The plan can be adjusted to your preferences throughout your PhD research, as long as you make sure that you meet the overall requirements for the SENSE Diploma in the end.

TSP requirements

The TSP covers a minimum of 30 credits, using the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS; one credit is equivalent to a workload of 28 hours), including the following compulsory components:

Course type / Activity Description ECTS
SENSE PhD Introductory SENSE PhD Introductory Course A1 2
SENSE A2 Project Individual assignment 'Environmental Research in Context' 2-4
Specialised PhD courses PhD courses on content, methodology, or other research skills to improve your expertise of your research field ≥ 2
Oral Presentation Present your research at an open international convention ≥ 1
Total ≥ 30

You can add optional elements such as:

  • General skills courses for PhD candidates, e.g. on writing and presenting, information literacy, research ethic
  • Research skills training
  • Didactic skills training
  • Management skills training
  • Professional skills training, such as communication courses and career courses
  • Publications

There is a maximum credits per training activity. For detailed information see our complete overview of education and training activities and the minimum and maximum number of credits per activity (in pdf).

The SENSE Diploma

All PhD candidates who have fulfilled the SENSE Education programme successfully and have an approved PhD thesis, can apply for a SENSE Diploma for specialised PhD training issued by SENSE.

PhD candidates can apply for the SENSE Diploma at least 15 weeks before the proposed defence date, by
filling in the SENSE Diploma application form and send it to

Finding suitable courses

SENSE aims to offer a complete package of courses that are suitable for SENSE PhD candidates. Considering the broadness of SENSE, it is impossible to provide a complete package of courses that include all SENSE related research subjects. Do search for courses provided by other research schools, institutes, and course portals as well.  

Consult our courses page for more information!


Do you have questions or suggestions, please let us know! Contact form