Research Training Group

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A graduate college is a mostly limited-term, systematic study and research program with the aim of attaining a doctorate . In a broader sense, the term generally refers to associations of doctoral students that are formed for the purpose of joint research and work under the scientific direction of university lecturers . For the graduate program various terms are used, such as graduate school , structured doctoral program , graduate school , graduate school or doctoral program , in Switzerland, Pro * Doc . There are also international graduate colleges in which research is carried out together with a foreign partner.


Supervised by one or more university professors, doctoral students can familiarize themselves with a comprehensive research context in research training groups. The aim of the colleges is, on the one hand, to bundle scientific research in terms of content, but on the other hand, to structure the work of the doctoral students organizationally. The doctoral students are often employed as research assistants or receive a scholarship . A graduate college usually includes regular courses, special courses, seminars , colloquia , college conferences or workshops.


Graduate colleges are mainly located at universities, as they have so far had the exclusive right to award doctorates in Germany. Universities and non-university research institutions can therefore only collaborate in graduate schools, but not manage them alone.

Research training groups are usually supported by several university professors and led by a spokesperson. Usually, different areas of responsibility are defined internally, which are assumed by the university lecturers. The doctoral candidates are involved in the design and organization of the Graduate School through various participation options.


In Germany, the German Research Foundation in particular finances graduate colleges. In Austria, the Science Fund (FWF) supports the establishment of doctoral colleges. In Switzerland, among others, the Swiss National Science Foundation finances graduate colleges. At the end of 2002, the German Science Council called for graduate colleges to be introduced as nationwide as possible in order to improve doctoral training.

The advantages and disadvantages of graduate colleges were discussed in a very informative way for business informatics (see Heinzl 2008).

Other forms

In addition to formally established graduate schools, in some departments there have also been initiatives by young scientists who hold a colloquium without professors and support one another.

There are also inter-university graduate colleges and cross-border cooperations, such as the virtual graduate college , in which doctoral students from Freiburg, Münster and Tübingen work together, or the Nordic Network for Ph.D. Courses , which bundles course offers from the universities in Lüneburg, Hamburg, Kiel, Flensburg and the Syddansk Universitet as well as various non-university research institutions and opens up to doctoral students from the member institutions.


In the humanities in particular, the trend is sometimes criticized for the promotion of doctoral procedures via graduate schools with third-party funding. According to the historian Christof Dipper , the absence of free doctorates, as exists in Italy , means that “the possibilities for individual approaches, original research approaches and unorthodox questions [...] are directed towards profit formation, efficiency and, accordingly, control Youth care "dwindle. On the other hand, the coexistence of the two systems ensures “overall healthy competition”.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. St. Stock, P. Schneider, E. Peper, E. Molitor (eds.): Successful Doctorate. 2nd Edition. Springer Verlag, 2009, ISBN 978-3-540-88766-9 , p. 31.
  4. ^ Christof Dipper: The Italian contemporary history research. In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , Volume 63 (2015), Issue 3, pp. 351–377, here p. 365.