PhD Education

The PhD educational program of MHeNs has a strong multidisciplinary character and is on a European level embedded within the European Graduate School of Neuroscience EURON.

The aim of the program is to promote a high level of competence in a specific research field, but also in more generic, transferrable skills that are important for high-level professional careers in research, education, or clinical practice.

A large part of the PhD training occurs in the context of conducting a research project, supervised by an expert. In addition, all PhD students will engage in more specific or generic educational activities. Students outline and regularly update their personal research plan (PRP) and training and supervision plan (TSP), together with their supervisors (promotor and co-promotor). Their choices are based on a thorough assessment of previously acquired competencies, skills specifically required for the PhD research, more general knowledge and skills, and future career plans.

For students with a 4-year PhD position, training activities should add up to at least 20 European credits (EC, or ECTS). This requirement is in line with the 2011 NFU Guidelines for PhD tracks in biomedical sciences in the Netherlands, which recommends 20-30 EC for doctoral level academic training programs. The total credit requirement for PhD students, who complete their PhD on a 3-year contract and who have previously completed a 2-year research master (or equivalent), is reduced to 15 EC.
Credits allowed for each category of activity are summarized in this table.

MHeNs certificate
A MHeNs certificate can be obtained at the end of the PhD period, when the PhD student has undertaken the following activities as part of their training:

  • at least one presentation (oral or poster) of the PhD research at a national or international congress;
  • two or more presentations at the annual MHeNs Research Day;
  • participation in two or more MHeNs Topics in Translational Neuroscience workshops.

All activities together should be equivalent to 20 EC, or more.

In the past, many PhD students have received a MHeNs certificate. Here is an overview of laureates since 2014. Download here the document "How to Request a MHeNs certificate".

Additional Remarks

  • PhD students can still obtain a PhD degree, without meeting the MHeNs EC and activity distribution guidelines.
  • Certificate regulations were introduced in 2013, but some PhD students who started their training before 2013 still may qualify for a MHeNS certificate.
  • There is also a EURON certificate for PhD students, who regularly participated in the training activities of this international graduate school. How to qualify for a EURON certificate can be found here. Some students may qualify for both certificates.


For more information on certification, contact: Martin van Boxtel (MHeNs) or Nicole Senden (EURON).