Flagship Course: The CERES PhD Training

You can register for the course through this form.


March – June 2023 (see dates below)

Course leaders: Prof. Andrew M Fischer and Prof. Tom De Herdt
Guest lecturers (provisionally): Prof. An Ansoms, Dr. Marie-Rose Bashwira, Prof. Arjun Bedi, Dr. Sara Geenen, Prof. Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Dr. Gemma van der Haar.
Location: In-person in Delft, The Hague and Antwerp (most modules are residential, including accommodation and food)
ECs: 16 (full course) or 4 (3rd module)


Full Tuition

  • PhDs from member institutions:  € 2500
  • PhDs from non-member institutions:    € 5000

Tuition for Module 3 only:

  • PhDs from member institutions:  € 600
  • PhDs from non-member institutions:    € 1200

In principle, member institutions pay for these fees, not the participants themselves.


The PhD Training Course is the classic centrepiece of the CERES offering, designed for PhDs in their first year from member institutions across the Netherlands and Belgium (Flanders), although PhDs from non-member institutions are also welcome. The course provides them with a unique learning experience and is specifically tailored to support PhDs in preparation for the defence of their research proposals at the end of their first year, or for Research Masters students who wish to gain insight into this stage of doing a PhD or to prepare a research proposal for a PhD application. A range issues is considered, relating to epistemology and ontology, positionality and subjectivity, philosophy of science, and an overview of the spectrum of interdisciplinary methodologies and methods that researchers commonly draw from in Development Studies, both quantitative and qualitative.

Two additional objectives of the course are to cultivate a general and shared understanding about what it means to do a PhD degree in the field of Development Studies, from the perspective of both theory as well as empirical research, and to cultivate a support network among the annual cohort of first-year PhD peers, which participants can continue to rely on throughout their PhD trajectory. The course also provides a safe space for PhDs, where they can discuss their research openly and creatively with their peers and senior researchers who are not (necessarily) in their supervision team.

The course begins in mid-March with an opening day at the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague (or online if not possible), followed by four modules of four to five days, ending in June. The June Safety and Security course is also included as part of the course package.

Participants are expected to be resident during these modules (unless online). Three of the modules will be in a resident retreat setting and one at the ISS, where participants will be accommodated at the ISS residences. At the fourth and last module, PhDs present their proposals and receive feedback from their peers and teachers.

Participants are expected to attend all four modules, in addition to the opening day at ISS and one ‘come-back’ day in June. However, an exception is made for the third module at ISS, which is focused on methods. PhDs not involved in other parts of the course can participate in this module as a stand-alone.

Member institutions recognise the Training Course as contributing 16 ECTs towards those required for a PhD degree (the 3rd module, if taken alone, is worth 4 ECTs).


Content Date  Location
Introduction Day 9 March ISS (The Hague)
Module 1: Proposing Research in Development Studies 27-30 March De Uylenburg (Delft)
Module 2: Moving from Questions to Methodology 18-21 April IOB (Antwerp)
Module 3: Overview of Methods in Development Studies research 8-12 May (and maybe 15-19 May, tbc) ISS (The Hague)
Come-back day 1 June ISS (The Hague)
Module 4: Presentation Tutorials 20-23 June De Uylenburg (Delft)
Safety & Security Course (optional*) 27-29 June ISS (The Hague)

Register for the course through the form linked here.


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