This post is for the GSN PhD students with any doubts about collecting ECTS points.
We need 180 points to graduate within a maximum of 10 semesters:
150 points come from completing your PhD project (so as long as you keep working on your project these points should take care of themselves).
30 remaining points should come from taking courses. These 30 points can be split into hard skills and soft skills.
- Hard skills (25)
- Soft skills or non-scientific skills (5): grant writing, poster presentation, scientific writing, etc. At least 1 ECTS (and maximally 3) point should come from teaching.
They are structured like this:
(you can find this in the PhD guidelines pdf here )
I thought I could share my approach to get the bare necessities covered. Please remember the whole point of the 30 ECTS is to equip yourself with all the necessary skills you might need, be it methods or soft skills. You should try to learn and pick up as many skills and points as you see fit, with the minimum being 30 ECTS. The following is just a way to think about the ECTS points to plan your PhD
DISCLAIMER : The following is my personal approach to the credits required to graduate and is not a communication from any GSN staff.
The gist of it is this: try to do the following and you should have no problems to get the 30 ECTS required to graduate.
- Enroll in one methods or theoretical course per year and, which will get you 2-3 ECTS for each course.
- Attend one 3 – 4 days conference/year in your area of interest and join the GSN retreat with a poster and/or talk.
- Attend lab meetings and journal clubs regularly. Highly recommended to go for institute seminars and other scientific talks.
- Attend one soft skill course per year and either teach a course or supervise a BSc/MSc student.
Lets break this down and map out a few things:
Lab meetings and Journal club
A typical PhD student would have lab meetings or progress reports. For attending these and presenting we get a maximum of 0.5 ECTS points per semester. Lets say you finish your PhD in 3 years (you have superpowers), that is 6 semesters = 3 ECTS from lab meetings. If you finish in 4 years (8 semesters), you can get 4 ECTS (0.5 x 8) from lab meetings.
Another typical activity would be journal clubs. If you attend a journal club for approximately 1 hr per week, that gives you a maximum of 0.5 ECTS pts per semester. Again, that’s 3 Yr PhD = 6 semesters = 3 ECTS points, or 4 yr PhD = 8 semesters = 4 ECTS points.
These 2 activities: lab meeting and journal clubs should give you 6- 8 ECTS points automatically. These points will be categorized under P1.1 where you can count a maximum of 8 ECTS points.
Attending other seminars in the institute, where you present your work once a year will also give you a Max of 0.5 ECTS per semester. Attending scientific talks on a regular basis also gives you points that you can count towards P1.1.
So P1.1 should be automatically fulfilled for a typical PhD student.
Conferences and Retreat
Now who doesn’t like to travel and present their work ? You get points for this as well.
1st year of PhD you may not go to any conferences. By year 2 you surely have some data to put on a poster. Say from year 2, you go for 1 conference a year.
For attending the event, sitting through the talks we get 0.25 ECTS /day of the event. Lets say a conference is generally 2 days long. That gives you 0.5 ECTS. You present your poster that should give you 0.25 ECTS. So grand total of 0.75 ECTS.
We also have the annual GSN retreat, where you can practice your presentation skills as well as have fun. Poster gives you 0.25 and the event gives 0.25/day. We generally have a 2 day retreat, which means another 0.75 points. If you give a talk that gives you 0.5 ECTS points. So, you could get 0.75-1 ECTS per year from the retreats.
In total, 1.5 – 2 ECTS points from conferences + retreat per year. 3 – 4 yrs of PhD should give you atleast 6 points. These points are counted in categories P1.2, P2.2 and P3.2, and we can count 3, 3 and 2 ECTS max in these categories respectively.
As mentioned earlier, we need at least 1 ECTS from teaching. You might take on a bachelors/masters student, help with a course or teach a course by yourself. We can get a maximum of 3 ECTS points for teaching under the category P3.3.
Hard skills is divided into categories P1.1, P2.1, P3.1 and P4.1. We have already taken care of P1.1 (see above). We now need 3 + 3 + 3 = 9 ECTS for P2.1, 3.1 and 4.1.
If you concentrate on taking one hard skill course per semester that gives you 1-2 ECTS points. Per year 2- 3 ECTS should come up to 9 ECTS points after 3- 4yrs.
You now only need 2-3 ECTS points from soft skill courses. If you attend one course per year, you should be set.