Individual study plan


The individual study plan is the study and research plan of a doctoral student and an external doctoral student (Study Regulations, clause 74).

During the progress review the review committee assesses the doctoral student’s / external doctoral student’s academic progress and fulfilment of the individual study plan (Study Regulations, clause 114). Depending on the volume of completing the individual study plan

(1) gets either a positive or negative assessment, and
(2) will attend full-time or part-time study.

All activities taken into consideration at the progress review must be related to the doctoral student’s doctoral thesis.

The doctoral student compiles the individual study plan in cooperation with their supervisor (Study Regulations, clause 77). Good Practice of Doctoral Studies recommends that the supervisor monitors the deadlines of activities set out in the individual study plan and, if necessary, advises to adjust the individual study plan (Good Practice of Doctoral Studies, clause 9.18).

During the progress review, the review committee gives the doctoral student oral recommendations for completing and improving the individual study plan (Study Regulations, clause 123).

Individual study plan is a central document in doctoral studies. The individual study plan consists of several parts:

1) after the doctoral student has been matriculated, the individual study plan is compiled for the whole period of doctoral studies; this is a general plan of action;
2) together with the progress report, the doctoral student submits the individual study plan for the next semester/academic year; this is a more detailed action plan.

Recommendations for compiling the individual study plan

  • The individual study plan must meet the requirements set in the Procedure of Doctoral Students’ Progress Review. When compiling the individual study plan, consider how your research during the academic year is assessed at the progress review (see Progress Review → "How is progress in research assessed?). When less research has been (planned and) done than the Procedure of Doctoral Students’ Progress Review requires, the doctoral student will not get the full number of credit points for research.
  • Your individual study plan is your plan of action – consider carefully which activities you plan for the next semester/academic year;
    • how the courses and research-related tasks contribute to your development within four years.
    • Plan enough activities for the semester to get a positive assessment but try to avoid overexertion and potential burnout.
    • Consult your supervisor and, if necessary, the programme director. Particularly at the beginning of your studies, they can help you decide how to combine studies and research and how to divide your workload.
       
  • The individual study plan is an instrument in time management – four years is a long period of time and the individual study plan enables you to divide it into different work phases and set yourself realistic deadlines. At the same time, it is essential to consider the progress of your studies as a whole, relying on the Procedure of Doctoral Students’ Progress Review and the individual study plan that has been compiled after matriculation for the whole period of study. Because of the length of doctoral studies, skilful and consistent time management is essential. Skilful time management is centred on dividing larger work tasks into smaller parts and setting concrete deadlines for them. To remember the deadlines, enter them into a calendar that you use daily.
     
  • The individual study plan forms the basis for the progress report – the doctoral student has to compare these two documents, and the review committee does the same. If the doctoral student’s activities do not correspond to the individual study plan, this has to be explained and substantiated in the progress report. Research is generally not a linear process, rather developing in a spiralling manner. Therefore, it may be necessary to change, adjust or supplement the initial research plan.
     
  • The individual study plan and the progress reports record the doctoral student’s development during the studies. Compile them in a way that they are of use to you later on, for writing different overviews or summaries.

Structure of the individual study plan

I. Study: subjects (ECTS), including teaching duties assumed as part of PhD study, separate subjects taken at other universities.

The core of doctoral studies is research, and this should be done consistently throughout the years of doctoral studies (including in the first year). Courses that support research should also be divided over several years. At the same time, it is not advisable to leave the courses for the last year when you should concentrate on finishing and editing your doctoral thesis.

Teaching duties refer here to the course "Teaching practice in higher education" which is related to your speciality.

II. Research: research work, conference presentations presented, seminars attended, work published, etc; results of the work done and volume in credit points.  

A detailed research plan including a timetable of activities, description of the research problem, the reasons for engaging in the research project, the preliminary hypotheses and a list of references must be annexed to the individual plan.

The detailed plan of research is submitted after matriculation together with the individual study plan for the whole period of study. Here, it is appropriate to present an approximately 5-page project of the doctoral thesis that meets all the requirements mentioned above. In the following individual study plans, only the changes related to research are specified in the corresponding section of the individual study plan.

In doctoral studies you need to focus on writing research papers and publishing research results. See how the Faculty’s Procedure of Doctoral Students’ Progress Review describes the assessment of the doctoral student’s research according to academic years (see Progress Review → "How is progress in research assessed?).

The review committee assesses the doctoral student’s research in credit points. The optimum (recommended) volume of credit points for research per one academic year is 40 ECTS, the standard volume for two studied semesters (studies and research combined) is 60 ECTS in total.  

Note that no more than 10 ECTS per academic year are given at the progress review for attending conferences and seminars (including events of graduate schools) (Procedure..., clause 3.3). Consider carefully which events are most essential to attend for the advancement of your research; if necessary, consult your supervisor.

III. Other tasks and infrastructure use related to PhD study: information concerning the carrying out of grants and research themes and joint study projects, etc.

Here report the research projects which you are officially involved in as a research staff, and which are related to your doctoral studies. Specify the tasks related to the project and their connection with your doctoral thesis.

IV. Other: teaching duties, supervising, participation in the research field related commissions and projects within and outside of the university, etc.

Here report all the activities that are not directly related to research (and neither to studies in section I), e.g.

1) participation in projects that are not related to your research (including, e.g., popularisation of research);
2) supervising and reviewing;
3) (co-)organising events;
4) participation in decision-making bodies and attendance of their meetings.

Note that no more than 6 ECTS per academic year are given for other activities (sections III and IV) at the progress review (Procedure..., clause 3.4). This means that the volume of these activities should be carefully planned together with the supervisor and, if necessary, reduced.

Form of the individual study plan

Form of the individual study plan is used:

  • by the doctoral student after matriculation for submitting the individual study plan for the whole period of doctoral studies and for the first semester of doctoral studies.
  • by the external student for submitting the individual study plan together with the application for receiving the status of an external student.

Annex: a revised plan of research and study for the next year (at the end of the progress report form) is used: 

  • by the doctoral student and external doctoral student before the progress review for submitting the individual study plan for the next semester/academic year. The formulation of the annex is free, but we recommend to follow the sections given in the form of the individual study plan (see Individual study plan → Structure of the individual study plan) as those correspond to the structure of the progress report.

When does the individual study plan have to be submitted?

Note that the time for compiling the individual study plan is relatively short. Use this time intensely and make a timely appointment with your supervisor (and, if necessary, with the programme director) for discussing your individual study plan.

1st-year doctoral student after matriculation:

  • The doctoral student must compile the individual study plan for the whole period of study and a more detailed plan for the first semester and enter it into the Study Information System no later than by 15 September (Study Regulations, clause 77).

  • The doctoral student matriculated during the academic year must compile the individual study plan for the whole period of study and a more detailed plan for the first semester and enter it into the Study Information System within two weeks after matriculation (Study Regulations, clause 77).

1st-year doctoral student before the first progress review:

  • Together with the progress report and other documents required by the Procedure of Doctoral Students’ Progress Review (see Documents and forms), the doctoral student has to submit an updated plan of studies and research for the next semester (see the annex at the end of the progress review form). The documents must be entered into the Study Information System at least 8 working days before the progress review date. (Study Regulations, clause 119, Procedure..., clause 7.1)

The doctoral student of the 2nd academic year and onwards:

  • Together with the progress review and other documents required by the Procedure of Doctoral Students’ Progress Review (see Documents and forms), the doctoral student has to submit a detailed plan of studies and research for the next academic year (see the annex at the end of the progress review form). The documents must be entered into the Study Information System at least 8 working days before the progress review date. (Study Regulations, clause 119, Procedure..., clause 7.1)

The external doctoral student:

  • To receive the status of an external student in a doctoral curriculum, an application and, together with it, the individual study plan have to be submitted. The individual study plan has to be compiled for a semester or an academic year, depending on the period for which the status of the external student is applied (Study Regulations, clause 21).

  • Together with the progress review and other documents required by the Procedure of Doctoral Students’ Progress Review (see Documents and forms), the external doctoral student has to submit a detailed plan of studies and research for the next academic year (see the annex at the end of the progress review form). The documents must be entered into the Study Information System at least 8 working days before the progress review date (Study Regulations, clause 119, Procedure..., clause 7.1).

 

*Study Regulations
**Good Practice of Doctoral Studies
***Procedure of Progress Review