Training and Supervision

Intended Learning Outcomes


According to the Bologna Process, the PhD phase is the third cycle of higher education following the Bachelor and Master phase. In each cycle, the student is given a larger responsibility for modelling his own learning process. The main thought is that the PhD candidate is -jointly with the PhD supervisor- increasingly responsible for acquisition of knowledge and skills. AMC PhD candidates are invited to explore their personal learning goals and model their learning experience.

Intended learning Outcomes

In this perspective, Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) or in Dutch Voorgenomen leerdoelen have been developed. ILOs make the process of ‘learning by doing’ explicit and visible. Formulating personal learning goals invites the PhD candidate to think about his starting level and hiatuses in knowledge and/or skills. ILOs may vary from small and simple goals to more complex goals that invites the PhD candidate to think of the larger framework of his research, such as integration of research results in the working field, immediate surroundings or society.


ILOs need to be concrete and transparent, realistic, and combined with an Intended Learning Activity (ILA). ILOs are individually composed for each PhD candidate. Selection and acquisition of ILOs may be a joint decision of the PhD candidate and his supervisor. ILAs that have been done within the context of ILOs or the PhD project may be discussed during Peer Support (halfway the PhD project) and be included in the PhD portfolio.

ILOs reflect the learning process and don’t have to be formulated at the start of the PhD project. Rather, the PhD candidate is invited to see ILOs as a personal development instrument.

Realms of ILOs

ILOs may be composed on three realms, that amount from the specific working field to general scientific skills and, ultimately, reflection on the value and applicability in research and society.

  • Knowledge and Understanding of the specific field of the PhD project

PhD candidates:

  • demonstrate broad knowledge and a systematic understanding of the research area, as well as an in-depth and up-to-date specialist knowledge of a defined part of the research area;
  • demonstrate familiarity with research methodology in general and the methods of the specific field of research in particular.

  • Competence and Skills in performing scientific research

PhD candidates:

  • demonstrate the capacity for scholarly analysis and synthesis as well as to review and assess new and complex phenomena, issues and situations autonomously and critically;
  • demonstrate the ability to identify and formulate issues with scholarly precision critically, autonomously and creatively, and to plan and use appropriate methods to undertake research and other qualified tasks within predetermined time frames and to review and evaluate such work;
  • demonstrate through a dissertation the ability to make a significant contribution to the formation of knowledge through his or her own research;
  • demonstrate the ability in both national and international contexts to present and discuss research and research findings authoritatively in speech and writing and in dialogue with the academic community and society in general;
  • demonstrate the ability to identify the need for further knowledge;
  • demonstrate the capacity to contribute to social development and support the learning of others both through research and education and in some other qualified professional capacity.

  • Judgment and Approach of scientific work and responsible acting with research in society (ethics, reflection and communication)

PhD candidates:

  • demonstrate intellectual autonomy and disciplinary rectitude as well as the ability to make assessments of research ethics;
  • demonstrate specialized insight into the possibilities and limitations of research, its role in society and the responsibility of the individual for how it is used.

Examples of ILOs

Two examples are provided in the realm of Knowledge and Understanding:

  1. ILO The PhD candidate demonstrates a general knowledge and understanding of stem cells, as well as specific and up-to-date knowledge of their use in cell therapy.
    ILA The PhD candidate will be encouraged to actively participate in book and journal clubs to select scientific articles, present and discuss them.
  2. ILO The PhD candidate chooses and utilizes appropriate statistical methods. Select, understand and give rationale for appropriate tests to conduct statistical analysis.
    ILA The PhD candidate takes the AMC Graduate School course Practical Biostatistics.

General remarks

  • The choice of ILOs is highly personal.
  • There are no ‘wrong’ ILOs, as long as they are related to the PhD project.
  • ILOs may be evaluated during annual appraisal interviews and during Peer Support half-way the PhD project, or at any time.
  • The PhD candidate may select as many ILOs as desired. In that case, the PhD candidate needs to add more ILOs and ILAs in this document.
  • The learning process takes place gradually, along with the progression of the PhD project.
  • The AMC Graduate School does not require PhD candidates to formulate ILOs, but rather sees ILOs as an instrument to constructively shape the learning process. This concedes with the wish of many former and current PhD candidates to work more independently on personal learning goals.


AMC Graduate School
Tel: +31 (0)20 - 5663108