Qualification Concept

The GRACE-training concept is based on three pillars internationality, assistance and qualification. GRACE PhD students are supported in their plans to establish international contacts and to gain experience abroad through various funding opportunities such as scholarships and grants abroad. Through the personal steering group within GRACE, all PhD students are supported in their scientific career and matters. Within the framework of the GRACE certificate, an individually tailored curriculum is designed for the GRACE PhD student to develop a broad range of scientific and personal skills.


Internationalism is one of the fundamental concepts of the Graduate School GRACE, which is also explicitly promoted. For example, a longer stay abroad is mandatory for each GRACE-PhD- student. Furthermore, the international orientation will be shown by:

  • several scholarships each year for excellent international student
  • funding several months stay abroad
  • funding of an guest scientist program
  • funding of international summer schools
  • buddy-system for mentoring of foreign students

Curriculum structure

As part of the GRACE curriculum, PhD students acquire new scientific and personal skills through participation in events and workshops of the GRACE Science School.
In total, 12 ECTS are acquired in the GRACE curriculum, which are to be chosen from the three module categories: topic-related, cross-cutting and competence skills.

The topic-related module supports students in the acquisition of theoretical and methodological fundamentals and advanced courses in cutting edge approaches and methods for environmental sciences. A high relevance for environmental sciences has the development of skills concerning system analysis and interpretation which is promoted by the courses within the cross-cutting module. In addition to scientific skills, personal, social and methodological competences play an essential role for a successful doctorate and are strengthened by the courses of the competence skills module.

Personal steering group

Special emphasis is given in the support of the PhD-Students concerning their PhD-(career-) development and all administrative matters. A personal steering group (PSG), consisting of 3 representatives (supervisor in charge, personal advisor – usually a senior scientist from the KIT- and a member from another institute) supports each PhD student in terms of scientific matters. After the definition of the research aims at the start, the first meeting should take place within 6 months with follow-ups 2 times per year. The main objective of the PSG- Meetings is the monitoring of progress made and adjustment of PhD objectives as well as the elaboration of a detailed work plan. Regular monthly informal group meetings and annual progress reports, which are submitted to the PSG monitors work progress. The PhD students will be strongly encouraged to present their own work to the scientific community at, for example conferences and submit at least one part of their research to a scientific journal within the 3 year PhD period. Additionally the PSG elaborates together with the PhD-student a personal graduate plan (PGP) for the successful completion of the graduate school.