Objectives PhD and ReMA Training

Mission Statement Research School Political History
The objectives of the Research School Political History are:
–    promoting the quality of research and (inter)national cooperation
–    providing high quality training for PhD candidates and Research Master (RMA) students, the next generation in political history
–    providing a platform for and representation of political historians in the Netherlands and Flanders

Objectives Training program Research Master Students
The RSPH offers specific training activities for Research Master Students only and allows Research Master Students to participate in  a specific number of activities for PhD candidates.

To Research Master Students, admitted to one of the research master programs in History of the associated universities, the RSPH offers training in the following competencies:

  • Knowledge and reflection
    • Knowledge of current debates, theories, historiography and methodologies in political history and adjacent fields of research.
    • Reflection on the position and characteristics of political history in interdisciplinary research cooperation.
  • Skills
    • Oral and written reporting and participation in academic, political and public debates.
    • Skills in the use of heuristic tools and techniques as well as digital humanities.

Objectives Training program PhD candidates
The RSPH offers a balanced program for PhD students in political history, history of international relations/conflict studies, military history, areas studies, global history and other subdisciplines in history with an emphasis on politics, in year 1, 2 and 3 of their PhD trajectory and for Research Master students who specialize in political history.

Participation in all parts of the program is compulsory for all PhD students who are registered with the RSPH, unless it is explicitly stated that a part is optional. The program supports supporting PhD students during the first three years of their research, and prepares them for their career after the thesis defence.

Central to the PhD program are the various aspects of conducting PhD research in the broad field of early modern and modern political history, including the history of international relations and other subdisciplines. The educational program is a program with a clear internal coherence, and can be taken alongside and in addition to the program of the local Graduate Schools.

End terms/learning objectives and competences
To PhD students the RSPH offers training in the following competences, aiming at the specified learning objectives

  1. Disciplinarity and Interdisciplinarity:
    Student have an informed and critical awareness of the historical and conceptual underpinnings and contexts of political history as an intellectual tradition and academic discipline, and of its relationship to other fields of study. They have knowledge and understanding of the foundations and insights of other disciplines relevant to the study of political history.
  2. Theories and concepts:
    Students have specialized knowledge and critical understanding of theoretical, conceptual and analytical notions relevant to political history. They have the ability to reflect on the principal theoretical approaches to political history, to evaluate the state of the art of political history, and to recognize and develop innovative research orientations in political history.
  3. Methods and techniques:
    Students have focused knowledge and critical understanding of relevant methods and techniques for the study of political history, and the ability to apply proper methods and techniques to research problems. Students have an advanced and critical understanding of sources and data for political historical research and of their associated conceptual frameworks.
  4. Communication:
    Students have an informed and critical awareness of the specific methods used to communicate information about one’s field in scholarly / academic and public contexts. They have the ability to use and apply the proper means of communication, suited to the aims of their scholarly and public interventions.
  5. Professional Development:
    Students have an informed and critical awareness of the concrete ways that the political-historical perspective can be developed in professional situations and be of benefit to society.

The program is structured in accordance with the end terms and competences:

  • Tutorials in year 1 discuss disciplinarity and Interdisciplinarity, theories and concepts, and methods and techniques on an advanced level
  • Workshops in year 2 are devoted to the application of methods and techniques, disciplinarity and Interdisciplinarity, and introduce outreach and science communication
  • The seminars in year 3 are devoted to the individual application and assessment of disciplinarity and Interdisciplinarity, theories and concepts, and methods and techniques as well as science communication and professional development.
  • In addition, the OPG offers several Masterclasses per year (independently or in collaboration with Departments of History and Research Institutes) that are open to ReMA students and PhD students of all years.

Courses and seminars are all taught and organized by senior researchers (i.e., professors or UDs/UHDs); often guest lecturers from abroad are invited.

o    Certificate Training for PhD candidates who have attended all five tutorials
o    Certificate Advanced Training for PhD candidates who have attended at least six research seminars, who have presented their research in a research seminar and who have acted as discussant.
o    Certificate International Training: PhD candidates who have a basic and advanced certificate and who have presented their research in an international APH conference or international PhD APH workshop.

Schedule: competencies and programme

Competencies ReMa PhD
1.    Knowledge of current debates, theories, historiography, methodologies and (digital) tools in political history and adjacent fields of research ReMA course
Summer school
Seminars, Tutorials
2.    Reflection on political history in interdisciplinary academic cooperation as well as its societal impact. ReMa course, Summerschool Seminars, Tutorials
3.    Oral and written reporting and participation in academic, political and public debates ReMa course, Summerschool Seminars, Tutorials
4.    Designing and organising academic workshops and conferences Tutorials
5.    Development of (inter)national network of political historians Seminars, Tutorials

The RSPH’s ambition to offer a high-quality training programme and the content of the programme are based on two fundamental considerations:

1.    The programme is complementary to the training and supervision by the ReMA tutor/thesis supervisor and PhD supervisor respectively and to the broader training related to ReMA or PhD graduates’ competences in functioning in an academic and public settings. Inevitable, there will be some overlap between general training for academics in humanities and history and specific training for political historians.
2.    The programme is tailored to the career prospects of ReMA students – typically a PhD position, and for PhD candidates – either a career in academic research and lecturing. In both of the latter cases, a completed PhD thesis and in-depth awareness of the academic literature, primary sources and historical knowledge directly related to the thesis is not enough by far.

(10 October 2018; edit: 20 November 2020)