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Completing a PhD at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies KU Leuven.

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Presentation on theme: "Completing a PhD at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies KU Leuven."— Presentation transcript:

1 Completing a PhD at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies KU Leuven

2 About the information in this powerpoint-presentation This presentation is meant to give an idea about opportunities and challenges while completing a PhD, but it does not claim to be complete. Some of the information provided may be subject to regular up- dating and modification.

3 Workload Dissertation to be completed within 4 years (including the defence; but may take longer in case of illness, maternity leave, …) PhD study entails additional work such as completion of required course work, paper contributions to congress(es), writing of article(s), potentially faculty service, etc. Potential side-job (part-time) if needed Unpaid teaching, when desired and available

4 Finances COST University fees: € 319,90* first registration and the year of defence, no fee for in-between years Living expenses: around € 750,- (including rent); with partner around € 1350,- Added costs: e.g. study material, travel expenses (conferences, visiting home, etc.) INCOME Faculty support for doctoral students: one-time amount of € 750,- (of which € 350,- are set aside for reception and printing cost at the time of the defence; the remaining € 400,- reserved for traveling, proof reading, buying books, etc. to cover minimum of research related costs) * Valid for academic year

5 Opportunities Immersion in a theological/religious topic PhD degree Acquisition of skills and competences such as: organization skills, time management, editorial skills, communication/presentation skills, language skills, networking, inter- cultural/inter-denominational competences, self-discipline Engaging in creative, innovative, original work Contributing to Church, society, and academic world Personal and identity development; growing in self-awareness Opportunity to perfecting language, writing and research skills through formation courses Teaching opportunities, if available Participating in international and local conferences Relatively free and independent life-style Potentially opportunities for maternity leave (see: https://admin.kuleuven.be/personeel/intranet/statuten/overzicht_bursalen) https://admin.kuleuven.be/personeel/intranet/statuten/overzicht_bursalen

6 Typical challenges Limited income (see funding opportunities) Can be lonely Can require hard work (especially if you have to juggle academic work plus a part-time job on the side, or if other unforeseen difficulties arise) Academic environment as strongly competitive Language barriers Uncertain future (not obvious that you will find an academic job after the PhD) Emotional ups and downs; ups and downs in research success

7 Finding help Doctoral promoter is there to help, answer questions etc. Ombuds for PhD students Career Center of the KU Leuven (https://www.kuleuven.be/personeel/careercenter/intranet/English/index)https://www.kuleuven.be/personeel/careercenter/intranet/English/index Spiritual help outside the faculty (University Parish, … ) Theo Writing Lab ‘Buddies’ in research unit Peers, fellow researchers on same topic (in research group, abroad, etc.) Friends, communities, parish, family etc.

8 Questions to ask yourself Do I really want to do a PhD? Do I have an intrinsic motivation for it such that I can tackle the challenges? Why do I want to do this? Be realistic about expectations (uncertain job future, etc.) – and focus on the process and personal development What kind of a person am I? How do I work? What are my main interests and what is my typical working method? To what kind of topics and methods do I feel most attracted? What are my work/life priorities? What kind of promoter could I see myself working with (consider their personality type, research expertise, work method, communication style)? What kind of information do I want to exchange with my promoter (mutual exchange about expectations is recommended)

9 Funding opportunities

10 Funding bodies FWO (Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek): individual doctoral fellowships (assigned solely on basis of merit for students with an initial European Master’s degree) or projects via promoter IRO: awards scholarships for doctoral research focused on development of the Global South for students from specific underprivileged countries Anonymous sponsor: awards scholarships for students from Central and Eastern Europe (currently on hold – no further information available) MWI Missio: awards doctoral scholarships for students from specific underprivileged countries Flof: Faculty support mostly for 1 year and depending on current financial resources – step-up fellowships to enable successful application with FWO or other funding Financial assistance program of the faculty Projects by the promoter, funded by other bodies: KU Leuven Internal Funds, FWO etc.

11 Explaining differences between scholarships Why should not everyone be encouraged to apply for FWO funding? What are the key differences between the scholarship funds? What are the challenges of each specific scholarship program?  These questions are addressed below NB: Each funding body has its own criteria and decision-making processes, such that a student considered excellent by the Theology faculty’s doctoral committee may nonetheless be refused funding from a given funding body

12 FWO (Research Foundation – Flanders) Availability and conditions of individual fellowships Typically 1-3 doctoral stipends each year (depending on quality, number of applications, …) Benefits o around € 1900,- depending on family situation o scholars employed by the faculty (  receive bench fee, e.g. for purchase of computer, travel expenses, translation work, etc.) Responsibilities o to complete a dissertation within 4 years o high expectations regarding academic output such as international publications, etc. o 8 hours of faculty service a week (e.g. ombuds service, editorial work, teaching assistance, setting up conferences, etc.)

13 FWO Selection criteria Eligibility: outstanding students of all nationalities and with an initial Master’s degree from a European faculty (see FWO guidelines for further restrictions) Strong competition: based solely on merit (grades, research proposal, references) Time-consuming application; must be submitted with support of doctoral promoter before 1 February Further information:

14 MWI Missio Availability and conditions Number of scholarships: variable, depending on varying internal priorities Benefits o around € 9 000,- a year (amounts to minimum Belgian wage but may mean that you want/need to get a part-time job; scholarship holders are the first to be contacted todo paid student jobs for the faculty) Responsibilities o Complete dissertation in 4 years

15 Missio Selection criteria Eligibility: doctoral students from specific underprivileged countries as determined by MWI Missio Competition: excellent marks, excellent doctoral proposal and promoter’s recommendation that the student can finish in 4 years Age limit The Committee for Study Allowances is in charge of the selection and nomination of the candidates

16 IRO (Interfaculty Council for Development Cooperation) Availability and conditions Number of scholarships: usually max. 1 for theology faculty per year Benefits: 75 % of the salary of a university-assistant and the possibility to stay in cheaper housing of the university Responsibilities: * 8 hours of faculty services per week (to promoter, research unit, faculty, …) * Complete dissertation within 4 years

17 IRO Selection criteria The applicant must be a citizen of one of the countries on the OECD DAC table that are listed under the following categories: Least Developed Countries, Low Income Countries or Low Middle Income Countries. The applicant must not possess dual citizenship, where the second citizenship is from an EU country. The time period between the date of completion of MA degree and the date of submission of scholarship application can be no more than ten years. Excellent academic results Excellent research project, with clear relevance for development cooperation Motivation in the framework of development cooperation: local co-promotor needed, etc… Excellent recommendations Further information:

18 Flof Availability and conditions Availability o Normally one or two per year o For one year – under the condition that candidate and promoter apply for other financial resources Benefits o around € 1900,- depending on family situation Responsibilities o Complete dissertation within 4 years o 8 hours of faculty service per week (e.g. ombuds service, editorial work, teaching assistance, setting up conferences, etc.)

19 Flof Selection criteria Eligibility: outstanding students of all nationalities Competition: based on merit (grades, research proposal)

20 Financial assistance of the faculty Limited resources for students with excellent results who do not fit in any of the previous categories and show enough potential for completing a PhD. The Committee for Study Allowances is in charge of the selection of the candidates. Information on (partial) financial support can be found on lots of webpages such as:

21 Projects funded by the promoter Varies from time to time, depending on what projects the promoter is working on and has funding for Promoter him- or herself will decide (faculty only intervenes with regard to admission to the doctoral program) Mostly full salary comparable to FWO-scholarship Responsibilities: 8 hours faculty service a week (service to promoter, research unit, faculty); completing a PhD (usually in no more than 4 years including defence), other possible duties related to the project


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