Study compares PhD programs in different countries

The PhD degree was established in Berlin 200 years ago and has spread across the world. Today there is a global tendency to follow the programs currently used either in the United States or in Continental Europe. A new study in FEBS Open Bio examines how US and European PhD programs are both similar and different.

The analysis, based on what is called the ORPHEUS self-assessment questionnaire, concerned research environment, outcomes, admission criteria, content of programs, mentoring, PhD theses, assessment of theses, and PhD school structure.

The results reveal that while there is considerable overlap in the aims and content of PhD programs, there are also considerable differences regarding the structure of PhD programs, mentoring, and assessment of PhD theses. The results show how we can learn from each other and will be useful in global discussions about the development and quality assurance of doctoral training.

"We can learn from each other through comparing and contrasting our training efforts. We hope that this report will stimulate discussions of best practices amongst leaders in graduate education on both continents," said Dr. Joey Barnett, lead author of the study.

Credit: 
Wiley