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:

Registration as SENSE PhD - the SENSE Portal

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.

All SENSE PhD candidates need to register with SENSE. After creating your own account on the SENSE Portal, you will be included in our systems and mailings, you will be able to use our TSP tool, and more: the SENSE Portal provides an interactive platform for participation in PhD courses, the SENSE Research Clusters and an online PhD Roadmap which guides you through the SENSE PhD programme.

PLEASE NOTE: Every SENSE partner institute has its own administrative requirements. Registration with SENSE does not mean you are sufficiently registered at your own university/institute. Please check at your own university how you should register there!!

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. SENSE PhD candidates with an approved TSP are eligible for the reduced fee offered by SENSE courses. We advise you to apply for an approved TSP within 6 months after the start of your PhD. You can download the SENSE TSP application form from the TSP tool on the SENSE Portal and submit it there for approval.
When you have fulfilled all TSP requirements at the end of your PhD, you can apply for the SENSE Diploma.

The training and education plan is definitely not fixed after approval. Please note that it is possible to change your TSP whenever you see (good) reason to do so, in consultation with your supervisor(s). 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, will be granted a SENSE Diploma for specialised PhD training issued by the General Board of the SENSE Research School.

PhD candidates can apply for the SENSE Diploma at least 15 weeks before the proposed defence date, by

The PhD Roadmap

A PhD project is a journey of four years, which entails innovative research, training and education in research skills personal and professional skills. Achieving your PhD in 4 years is a real challenge! To support our PhDs we have developed an online tool The PhD Roadmap, which guides a PhD candidate through the SENSE PhD programme.

The PhD roadmap includes:

  • Application for approval of your SENSE Training and Supervision Plan (TSP)
  • Application for your SENSE Diploma
  • Information and registration A1 SENSE Introductory course
  • Information about the individual SENSE A2 project: Research in Context
  • Information about the SENSE PhD Council
  • Network opportunities
  • And many more...

All SENSE PhDs (you are a SENSE PhD if your supervisor is a professor at one of the SENSE partner institutes) should create an account.  

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