Doctoral Program Structure

At SCIoI, every doctoral researcher follows a tailored curriculum. This includes the attendance of lectures and the completion of a teaching program. The curriculum consists of core courses (mandatory for all, including soft-skill courses) and elective courses to be agreed on with the supervisors.

Structure of the Program:

The doctoral program is planned over 6 semesters or 36 months. SCIoI recommends to complete the majority of the teaching requirements within the first four semesters. The program has a total of 180 ECTS credits: 150 credits for your Doctoral Thesis and 30 for the Teaching Program.

The six semesters are structured as illustrated in this table:

Mandatory courses

Doctoral researchers are required to fulfil certain curricular requirements within the current cohort, which include:

  • PI Lecture attendance: 2 ECTS
  • Journal Club: 2 ECTS

The individual curriculum, which is determined in agreement with the researcher’s supervisor (PI), requires completion of 18 ECTS that can be obtained by successfully participating in courses from the following subject areas:

  • Philosophical Foundations ECN block course: 3 ECTS
  • BCCN Winter School – Ethical Issues and implications for Society: 3 ECTS
  • Methodological Foundations (Lecture + Tutorial): 6 ECTS
  • Analytical Sciences (Lecture + Tutorial): 6 ECTS
  • Synthetic Sciences (Lecture + Tutorial): 6 ECTS
  • Soft-skill Courses add up to 8 ECTS and include seminars on scientific writing and presentation, time and conflict management, teaching skills, career planning, project management, among others.

Mandatory soft skill courses:

Good Scientific Practice

Additionally, doctoral candidates must choose at least 2 courses from the following areas:

  • Scientific Writing
  • Grant Application Writing
  • Teaching
  • Conflict Management
  • Scientific Presentation
  • 1 poster presentation on a conference can be credited as one course
  • The recognition of ECTS for soft skills must be approved by the supervisor of each doctoral student.


Courses are offered by the following programs and institutions:

Humboldt Graduate School HGS @HU
Dahlem Research School DRS@FU
Technische Universität Berlin ZEWK and CJS @TU
Substitution / recognition of ECTS

The following general rules hold for substitution / recognition of ECTS:

All achievements must be proved by a certificate of participation or equivalent

  • 2 ECTS can be granted for a poster presentation in an international conference
  • 2 ECTS can be granted for an oral presentation in an international conference
  • up to 4 ECTS can be granted for teaching
  • up to 2 ECTS can be granted for organization of scientific events such as workshops in international conferences

Participation in summer/winter schools can be credited equivalently, however prior approval from the supervisor is required.

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