EMQA Handbook of Excellence 2012 - Doctoral programmes

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Front page of the publication.
Front page of the publication

Full title
Handbook of Excellence – Doctoral Programmes
EMQA – Erasmus Mundus Quality Assessment 2012

This publication provides a structured journey through the key stages from identifying a possible joint programme through designing and delivering it, to the issues relating to alumni.
The Handbook starts with a high-level overview of the main quality actions. Then the actions are disaggregated into a set of ‘critical paths’ that take a reader briefly through the ‘journey’ that is undertaken across the main quality actions. Then the four main sections show in detail the detailed quality areas that Programmes have considered and provides a checklist of main actions and then identifies some of the good practice (and some cautionary examples), from staff to doctoral candidates.

Authors: Michael Blakemore and Nadine Burquel

European Commission. (2012) Handbook of Excellence – Doctoral Programmes, EMQA – Erasmus Mundus Quality Assessment 2012. Brussels. Download

Providing clear sequencing of activities has been a primary task for EMQA activity in 2012. This Handbook starts with the four ‘high level’ actions that form the process of building quality across an Erasmus Mundus Doctoral programme:

EMQA - High level quality component-doctoral.jpg

At the heart of the process is the identification of a world-class vision for the programme, which fundamentally justifies why it is ‘Erasmus Mundus’ in its detailed make-up. The considerations at this stage include questions such as ‘why is this Programme needed, why should this consortium deliver it, how do we use mobility paths to provide excellent research opportunities, how will we examine doctoral theses, who needs our graduates, and how do we ensure that the degrees will be recognised? The second high level consideration understands how the vision can be ‘enacted’ by the consortium. Questions here range from ‘how do we all supervise our doctoral candidates, how do we provide really integrated and joined-up training and skills, how do we monitor progress and assess work, and how do we ensure that all the staff who deal with doctoral candidates are sensitised to international cultures’?

Once it is understood that the programme is robust and that the consortium can deliver it efficiently and effectively, the third high level consideration looks at the institutions that will be involved. It is here that the consortium shows its effectiveness in making sure that the EMJD is ‘championed’ at the highest level by senior staff in all participating institutions. Questions here range from ‘how do our administrations work together, how do we administer the Programme across our consortium, how do we provide clear employment contracts to doctoral candidates, how do we built coherent and comprehensive quality assurance, how do our institutions envision this Programme within their internationalisation strategies, and how do we market the programme’?

With the first three components in place (excellent Programme, coherently delivered by the consortium across effectively connected institutions) the ultimate challenge is to deliver it successfully to doctoral candidates. They need to apply, to be selected, prepared, welcomed, inducted, supported, trained, and prepared for their future careers. Once they leave, they become valuable alumni with whom the Programme, consortium and institutions need to have a long-term relationship.


See also