Programme outline

In addition to performing their thesis research project, PhD students participate in an educational programme that consists of a series of courses, seminars and master classes on specific subjects within the field of cancer genomics & developmental biology taught by internationally renowned experts.

Seminar series
Every Thursday at 16.00 pm an invited (international) speaker presents a seminar on a topic relevant to the school’s research programme. PhD students are expected to attend the seminars and engage in the discussion sessions. A seminar committee is responsible for the selection of high quality speakers. Both group leaders and PhD students are asked to send suggestions to the committee’s chair. The seminar terms can be downloaded here. The seminar schedule is posted on the home page.

Introductory course
All first-year PhD students participate in a 1-day course aimed at introducing them to the school’s research programme. The course consists of a theoretical part and a visit at the organizing departments as an introduction to the practical aspects of the research performed by the affiliated research groups. A syllabus containing abstracts of the presentations and background literature is provided.

Specialized courses
Several specialized 1-5 day courses are organized every year on topics such as bioinformatics, genome biology, signal transduction pathways in cancer, and zebrafish, plant and mammalian development. In addition, the school offers courses on technology transfer and science communication and education (the ‘non-science’ courses). Click here to view the course schedule.

Master class
Every December, a 2-day Masterclass is organized for all PhD students at a conference centre away from the lab. International leaders in the field of cancer genomics and developmental biology are invited to present the latest developments in their research area and discuss these with the participants.

PhD student retreat
This 3-day meeting in June is organized entirely by and for the PhD students. The school's PhD committee composes a programme consisting of seminars by the senior PhD students and poster sessions by the junior PhD students, that are discussed between themselves without any interference from supervisors.

Registration educational programme
PhD candidates are required to propose and follow an educational programme consisting of a minimum of 5 credits* for each year of research appointment, which will be at least 2 years and no more than 4 years (10-20 ECTS in total). Below an overview of the number of ECTS that can be obtained by following the various parts of the PhD programme. Click here to download the 'Training and Supervision Agreement (TSA)' in which the educational programme for each newly registered student must be recorded.


  Number of days Number of times
in 4 years
TOTAL credits*
Seminars (20 out of 40/year) 3 4 4
Introductory course 1 1 0,3
(International) Specialized courses 5 4 6
Masterclass 2 3 3
PhD student retreat 2 3 3
General courses     4
Symposia/conferences**     4

* according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS): 1 credit=28 hr and 1.5 credit = 1 week

** a maximum of 20% of the total credits

According to the rules formulated for the Utrecht Graduate School of Life Sciences (GS-LS), of which the CS&D is part, 4 credits must be earned by following general courses. Of the remaining 16 credits, at least half must be obtained within the CS&D programme (‘core-training’). The remaining 8 credits may be earned through other (international) programmes or institutes.
For more information on the generic courses offered in- and outside the GS-LS, click here
For more information on the GS-LS click here