In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Doctoral Education and Training

  • Introduction
  • Definition of Doctoral Education and Training
  • Heterogeneity and National Specificities
  • Knowledge Generation in Supervised Situations of Learning
  • Completion and Attrition in US Graduate Education and Disciplinary Differences
  • Productivity and Output: Careers and Publications
  • Psychological Studies About the Relationship Between Super(ad)visors and Doctoral Candidates, Research Productivity, and Careers
  • The Relationship Between Supervisors and PhD Candidates
  • Academic Writing Cultures and English as a Second Language
  • Theoretical Approaches to Studying Doctoral Education and Training

Education Doctoral Education and Training
Christian Schneijderberg
  • LAST REVIEWED: 27 February 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 February 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0212


The title of the article stresses that the phase of doctoral candidacy generally consists of study (education) and practical (research) training. Research about doctoral education and training is concerned with multiple aspects of the doctorate or PhD, such as knowledge generation in supervised situations of learning, quality assurance, completion and attrition, disciplinary differences, careers, and publication outputs. In addition to being multi-thematical, a bibliography about doctoral education and training has to deal with several other challenges. Among these challenges are the heterogeneity and national specificities of doctoral education and training, which result in huge numbers of publications, which make the selection of which publications to present rather difficult. Therefore, the publications presented in this article are selected based on the two goals of presenting an overview about and to highlight core areas of study of doctoral education and training. For the overview several edited volumes are presented (first goal). The edited volumes contain mostly articles with a national focus, sometimes addressing just one part of the world (e.g., Asia) and sometimes several parts of it. The second goal, to highlight core areas of study of doctoral education and training, is supported by a bibliometric study. Based on the bibliometric study, the co-word analysis sketches three topic clusters arranged around a loophole in the middle generating the image of a doughnut of doctoral education and training topics. The image of the doughnut is a representation of (a) the diversity of research about doctoral education and training and (b) the several themes in research about doctoral education and training being somewhat disconnected from each other. The topics are knowledge and skills development of PhD candidates, contextual (macro) issues such as PhD study, career, disciplinary, national, and university differences. The bibliometric co-citation analysis helped identify five clusters of major themes in the study of doctoral education and training: Knowledge generation in supervised situations of learning; completion and attrition in US graduate education, and disciplinary differences; productivity and outcomes of doctoral education and training with focus on careers and publications; psychological studies on the relationship between super(ad)visors and doctoral candidates; research productivity and careers; and academic writing cultures and English as a second language. For each of the five clusters the ten most co-cited publications are included in this article. The article concludes by discussing the theoretical approaches to studying doctoral education and training.

Definition of Doctoral Education and Training

In this article the term “doctoral education and training” is chosen over the classical term “doctoral education” or the US term “graduate education,” as this phase of socialization and development generally consists of study (education) and practical (research) training (Burgess 1994; Schneijderberg and Teichler 2018). This holds true even for the US structured or program model (Rhoades 1991), where PhD candidates have to do research—either alone or as part of a research group—after having finished the years of coursework. Another unifying term used is “doctoral candidates” so as to not have to differentiate US graduate students from employees doing a PhD in the German apprenticeship model. In addition to doctoral candidates, terms such as “PhD students,” “doctoral students,” “early career researchers,” “early career academics,” and “junior academics,” are not used in this bibliography. For simplicity reasons the terms “doctorate,” “(post)graduate education,” and “PhD” are used synonymously.

  • Burgess, R. 1994. Postgraduate education and training in the social sciences: Processes and products. London: Jessica Kingsley.

    The book provides insight into the state of the art in postgraduate education and training in the social sciences in the United Kingdom. It shows how doctoral education and training and outcomes are perceived in political debate. For example, the critical issue of PhD completion is connected to analyzing supervision strategies and quality aspects of doctorates (e.g., examination styles).

  • Rhoades, G. 1991. Graduate education. In International higher education: An encyclopedia. Edited by P. G. Altbach, 127–146. New York: Garland.

    Provides both a historical perspective on US graduate education and a classical distinction of the structured or program model in the US compared to the German apprenticeship model.

  • Schneijderberg, C., and U. Teichler. 2018. Doctoral education, training and work in Germany. In Doctoral training in the knowledge society: Convergence or divergence in national approaches. Edited by J. C. Shin, B. M. Kehm, and G. Jones, 13–34. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

    The article presents the heterogeneity of doctoral education and training in Germany. The former description as apprenticeship model or master-student models no longer holds true as a variety of graduate centers, graduate schools, and doctoral programs exist that are inspired by the US program model.

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