Research School for Economic and Social History

PhD Programme: Advanced Training

Please note that the Advanced Training is currently under evaluation. The information displayed below may therefore be subject to change. In case you need more info on the most recent situation, please contact us via

The Advanced Training is based on an individual curriculum, aimed at assisting the PhD student to position him-/herself as an autonomous and known colleague among the national and international community of researchers in Economic and Social History and other relevant disciplines. PhD students participate in the research school on an individual basis and design their own portfolio.

Portfolio criteria

The portfolio has to meet five criteria:

  1. the internationalisation criterion: at least one paper in an international journal or one working paper in an international Working Paper series and a paper presented at an international conference (other than the Posthumus conference);
  2. the network engagement criterion: participation at the annual Posthumus conference, in the second year as commentator and in the third year as speaker;
  3. the exercise criterion: presentation of a paper at two research training activities (e.g., masterclass, seminar, workshop, or colloquium organised by Posthumus or another academic institute other than the home department of the participant);
  4. the organisation criterion: organising a masterclass, seminar, conference panel or valorisation activity, or a similar event;
  5. the job preparation criterion: attending the Posthumus Career Event. Alternatively, the PhD student may fulfill this criterion by following an elaborate coaching trajectory at the home university.

Please note that the elements mentioned above indicate the minimum required level of advanced learning:  PhD students can participate in Posthumus activities such as masterclasses or advanced seminars as much as they want. They can also participate in workshops and other activities organised by the research networks of the N.W. Posthumus Institute.

Qualification end terms

A PhD student qualifies for the Posthumus Research Certificate if the student has adequately fulfilled the requirements specified above. PhD students are encouraged to plan masterclasses and write an article/paper during their second and third year, so that the certificate can be granted well before the end of their project and they can concentrate upon finishing their thesis. To follow up on their progress, PhD students are required to send articles, papers and additional documentation also to the Secretariat of the N.W. Posthumus Institute.

Other Training Opportunities Posthumus Institute

Next to attending training activities PhD students participating in the PhD training programme of the N.W. Posthumus Institute are also actively encouraged to organise activities themselves. The N.W. Posthumus Institute’s Office can help anyone who wants to organise a workshop or a conference with financial as well as personal and practical support. Examples of such activities are listed below.

Masterclasses (2 ECTS)

A masterclass is staged around a well-known (usually foreign) expert who visits Belgium or the Netherlands. A small group, up to five or six PhD students and/or Research Master students, will have the opportunity to interact intensively with the “master”. The projects of the participants are the point of departure. Participants therefore have to write a paper about their research and the problems they experience. The research of the master can be raised during the class. Note that even though each masterclass can be tailor-made, a lecture or a seminar where visitors only present their papers is not a masterclass.

The expertise of the master defines the content of a masterclass. The PhD students must assess whether they can profit from a particular masterclass. The N.W. Posthumus Institute welcomes initiatives of PhD students to organise masterclasses and will offer financial support.

ESTER Advanced Seminars (4 ECTS)

ESTER, the European graduate School for Training in Economic and social historical Research, occasionally organises Advanced Seminars around a particular domain of research, intended for advanced PhD students.

During an Advanced Seminar, PhD students are brought together with a number of international experts and discuss the papers and presentations of the PhD students. ESTER Advanced Seminars will be advertised on the website of the N.W. Posthumus Institute.

Annual PhD conference (2 ECTS)

Together with the Education Programme Director, the PhD representatives organise a PhD conference as part of the annual N.W. Posthumus Conference, usually in the spring. During this conference, third-year PhD students will present their project and in particular the results of the research they performed in the two years since the Research Design Course. The PhD students submit a paper, which will be distributed to the participants. Each paper will be refereed by both a second-year PhD student and a senior fellow of the N.W. Posthumus Institute or another expert. Second-year PhD students of the Postumus Training Programme act as referees during this conference,  first-year PhD students are expected to attend the conference.

Writing Retreat

The N.W. Posthumus Institute annually organises a Writing Retreat for Posthumus PhD Candidates who are in the process of writing a publication/thesis. This week usually takes place in June/July and consists of a week long retreat in an inspiring environment. During this week, PhD candidates can work focused on their work at hand (article, chapter, thesis). Participation is optional and dependent on places available; see this link for more info.

Research network activities

The research conducted by the senior fellows of the N.W. Posthumus Institute is grouped in six different networks. PhD students are expected to join at least one of these networks as their primary choice, optionally adding a second one as secondary choice. They are also expected to contact the research director(s) of the network they are interested in and to let the office manager of the N.W. Posthumus institute know which network they would like to join. The Institute invites the PhD students to take part in the conferences or other activities organised by their group. They also can and should suggest group activities with value added to their projects.

External activities

Some departments of Economic and Social History organise postdoctoral workshops or seminars, where papers are presented and debated or lectures given. The website of the N.W. Posthumus Institute gives information on seminars, meetings, courses and conferences. Information will also be e-mailed to the members of the Institute.

How to apply

To apply for the Advanced Training Certificate, please click the button below and submit your portfolio by filling out the form and uploading the required documents.