PhD Survey 2014: The Results

On April 16th 2014 we sent a survey to the PhD candidates at Utrecht University. A total of 773 individuals filled in the survey, of which 700 respondents indicated that they were currently working on a PhD project at Utrecht University. The full report can be accessed through here, below follows a short summary of the most salient points. Background information on the questions can be found here.

Most Salient Results

Most PhD candidates know what is required for the completion of their dissertation (e.g., amount of articles/chapters). Only 8% of the respondents don’t know this. However, only 14% of respondents have a written agreement with their supervisor about this.

Almost three quarters of PhD candidates (73%) made a formal agreement with their supervisor about their supervision and education. The majority (85%) of the respondents think or are certain that they filled in all necessary registration forms.

The Doctoral Degree regulations are not very well known. 32% of the respondents do not know what these regulations are, and an extra 48% did not know they have been changed. PrOUt compiled a document indicating the changes in both English and Dutch.

The intranet is not very well know. 37% of respondents had no knowledge of the existence of the new intranet and another 28% had not visited it.

There is some confusion on what happens after your employment contract ends. 78% of respondents know that they have to finish their PhD in their own time after their contract ends. However, 44% of all respondents think that they can still get unemployment benefits during their work on their PhD in their own time, which is contrary to the rules.

There is quite some lack of knowledge about the costs of thesis completion and promotion ceremony.  34% of respondents think that the university pays for most of the costs for the completion of their dissertation and ceremony (printing, etc.). 66% of the PhD candidates who do know that they have to pay most of this themselves cannot estimate the costs of their PhD completion.

Among international PhD candidates, there is knowledge about the 30% rule: more than half of the non-Dutch PhD candidates have knowledge of the 30% rule and almost half of these respondents received help from the university applying for this.