Why get a doctoral degree

A doctoral degree ...

  • constitutes a milestone in the doctoral student’s career
  • is an important requirement for those who aspire to a long-term academic career at a university
  • is a special asset for those who wish to work in a different - scientific or non-scientific - environment

Doctorates are also useful outside the academic world. With a doctorate you will have learned ...

  • to sharpen your critical reflexes
  • to do presentations
  • to report orally and in writing (in several languages)
  • to process scientific information, define and solve problems
  • to work independently but also in (an international) group, ...

The university considers doctorates to be a special form of research valorisation, which is also acknowledged by the Flemish government. The funding of Flemish universities by the Flemish government is partly calculated on the basis of the number of doctorates that have been awarded.

Why Arts and Philosophy

The faculty is the host institution for young researchers who are looking for a PhD supervisor in the vast discipline of human sciences.

The faculty professors have significant experience in supervising doctoral research. For interdisciplinary projects, suitable co-supervisors can be found, both inside and outside this faculty. Colleagues of other Belgian or foreign universities may also act as co-supervisor.

The Doctoral School offer students a framework during their doctoral studies and provide an extensive training programme that prepares them for their career prospects related or unrelated to the academic world.

PhD types and doctoral degrees

The faculty only awards doctoral degrees after the submission and successful public defence of a dissertation, in which you demonstrate that you can answer a scientific question within one or more disciplines adequately. The dissertation can be original or can be based on your own published articles (or some articles that are still to be published) in academic journals.

Doctorate procedure

Before you start your doctorate, you will need:

  • an administrative supervisor responsible
  • a research topic
  • the permission to enrol for a doctorate granted by the faculty

You are to submit a request to obtain a doctoral degree via the Faculty Council. The request concerns:

  • the intended discipline
  • the language in which the dissertation will be written
  • the topic
  • the supervisor(s)
  • the doctoral advisory committee (DBC)
  • the decision whether or not the doctoral student is obliged to follow a doctoral training programme (and if appropriate, the contents), etc.

When you have been granted permission by the Faculty Council, you need to officially enrol for the doctorate and for the doctoral training programme.

Then the actual research begins. You will be coached by your supervisor(s) and your doctoral advisory committee (DBC). You may also follow extra training.

If you wish to submit your dissertation ...

You may officially ‘submit’ the dissertation to the Faculty Council. By doing so, you declare that you are ready for your dissertation to be assessed.

  • the Faculty Council will officially assign the Examination Board and will set a date for the first deliberation
  • the first part of the doctoral examination is the first deliberation of the Examination Board behind closed doors
  • the second part of the doctoral examination is the public defence. Prior to this, you need to register the dissertation in Biblio (Ghent University Academic Bibliography) and upload it.

After the successful public defence of the doctorate, you will obtain the doctoral title and the doctoral degree. Those who have completed a full doctoral training programme will be awarded a certificate.


All doctoral students are assigned one administrative supervisor responsible.

The supervisor acts as the main contact during the period of the doctorate, and he/she will coach you during the doctoral activities. Your supervisor is affiliated with the faculty of Arts and Philosophy or, if sufficiently substantiated, with another Ghent University faculty. This supervisor is to be a professorial staff member (ZAP). He/She may also be a visiting professor with a research assignment at Ghent University or a retired professorial staff member who has been granted permission to continue his/her paid educational activities at Ghent University.

In addition to the administrative supervisor responsible, one or more supervisors who are affiliated or unaffiliated with Ghent University (for example, emeriti and postdoctoral researchers) may be appointed.

Doctorate in the Arts. You are assigned one Ghent University supervisor and one supervisor of the School of Arts of University College Ghent. The Ghent University supervisor is the administrative supervisor responsible. It is necessary to have a positive recommendation of the School of Arts of University College Ghent before the Faculty Council can give its approval about the appointment of the supervisors.

Doctoral advisory committee (DBC)

All doctoral students are also assigned a doctoral advisory committee (DBC).

This committee does not assess and evaluate you, but supervises and supports you throughout your doctoral activities. The doctoral advisory committee (DBC) consists of three to five members, including the supervisor(s). At least one member is an expert preferably from outside Ghent University.

If none of the supervisors are a member of the study programme in which the doctorate is intended, at least one member of this study programme will chair in the doctoral advisory committee (DBC).

Doctorate in the Arts. If the Ghent University supervisor is not a member of the faculty of Arts and Philosophy, at least one member of the faculty of Arts and Philosophy will sit in the doctoral advisory committee (DBC). Moreover, the committee also has an external artist with specific expertise in the field of the intended doctorate. It is necessary to have a positive recommendation of the School of Arts of University College Ghent before the Faculty Council can give its approval about the appointment of the doctoral advisory committee (DBC).

The administrative supervisor responsible will ask the doctoral advisory committee (DBC) to convene at least once a year. This can be done electronically. As a doctoral student, you may also convene the doctoral advisory committee (DBC).

Examination Board

Upon completion of the doctoral process, the Examination Board shall appraise your doctoral dissertation.

After the dissertation has been submitted, the Faculty Council will assign an Examination Board. Supervisors can be part of the Examination Board, but they will never be qualified to vote.