Universität Bielefeld

© Universität Bielefeld

Teaching concept of the doctoral degree program

With the internationalization of the scientific system and the introduction of tiered study structures in German universities on the heels of the Bologna Reform, the three-part degree program structure (bachelor, master and doctoral studies) has long been regarded as desirable by numerous scientific committees. The structure is intended to promote international comparability, but it is far from the standard at German universities.

Through its structured promotion of doctoral candidates, the Faculty of Health Sciences, as early as 2003, implemented the goals of educational policy reforms. Through the introduction of the doctoral degree program as the third component in the consecutive degree model, a step was made towards linking innovative teaching with intensive monitoring of a doctoral candidate's progress. The teaching concept of the doctoral degree program is oriented towards a clear, transparent structure with well-defined responsibilities, including a reasonable limit on the duration of the program and a strengthening of the doctoral student's individual responsibility and independence.

The doctoral degree program supports the important qualifying phase for junior researchers, through an interdisciplinary teaching concept with a practical orientation. The teaching program is offered as a part-time study program as block sessions.

Representatives of different scientific disciplines are involved in the teaching program. This is done in order to facilitate a meaningful balance between expectations and reality, and ambitions and possibilities of the doctoral project. At the same time, the doctoral students are encouraged to carry out their work projects on a continuous basis and to take part in the teaching program. In this way, the process of research is intensively monitored and the current research or methodological questions typical of a dissertation are discussed within the framework of the different teaching blocks.

Every year, in accordance with transparent admissions policies, participants from all health science disciplines are accepted to the program, reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of Public Health. The path to a doctorate is designed systematically and oriented towards a balanced teaching program, in order to create a productive scientific tension between instructors and doctoral candidates.

The successful implementation and organizational coordination is supported by an accompanying degree program head and research study coordinator. An elected class-spokesperson can, if necessary, mediate between the organization and/or university lecturers and the doctoral students, thus ensuring an intensive exchange of ideas.

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