Organisation of doctoral studies
Third cycle study programmes are doktorski (doctoral) study programmes. They consist of 180 ECTS and are three years in duration. According to the decree on the classification system of education (sl), they are classified within level 8/2.
The doktorski study programmes allow students to deepen their understanding of theoretical and methodological concepts. They are qualified to manage the most demanding work situations as well as scientific research projects in a broad professional or scientific field. They put well-known solutions to the test, improve them and discover new ones. They then continue to develop the capabilities necessary for critical reflection. An obligatory component of these programmes is the fundamental or applicative research papers.
The doktorski study programmes are the basis for the study and research programmes of individual students. Within the third cycle study programme, the obligatory components are defined as for first and second cycle programmes. The field content and ECTS of the obligations, which are arranged into study and individual research work, are also determined. Among them are joint forms of study work, group or individual research work. The organized forms of study within the doctoral study programme consist of at least 60 ECTS with 120 ECTS being awarded to individual work on a doctoral dissertation. With the doctoral study programme, academic titles are also defined and formed by law.
The general requirement for admission into a doctoral study programme is to have completed a second cycle study programme. During the candidate selection process, the average grade acquired in second cycle studies as well as achievements in research and professional filed may be considered. The criteria are defined with the study programme.
Potential students may have to complete an entrance exam or test of their artistic or psychophysical abilities. The selection process may also take into account research work of the candidate, work experience, published articles and completed professional specializations or short postgraduate training programmes. Knowledge acquired before applying to the programme may also be recognized as a fulfilment of programme obligations.
Admission requirements for enrolment in doctoral study programmes are also met by candidates who completed equivalent education abroad.
The call for enrolment is published by higher education institutions (public higher education institutions must acquire prior the approval of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia). The call for enrolment includes general information on applications, deadlines and requirements for enrolment in a specific doctoral study programme.
Status of doctoral students/candidates
Students have either full-time or part-time status. If a student is not employed, they are entitled, according to particular regulations, to health insurance and other benefits and rights (for example, student meals subsidies, subsidised transportation, scholarships, etc.). Employed students may take advantage of the rights provided to them through their worker status. The financing of studies for such students is implemented as described in chapter 3B.
There are two special schemes organised for the two groups of students of doctoral study programmes: “junior researchers” and “junior researchers of economy”. The first scheme has been running successfully since 1985. Junior researchers collaborate in research work in research groups, programmes or projects at higher professional institutions or research institutes simultaneously with their doctoral studies. They in an employment relation for the duration of their studies (3 and a half years) they are employed. Public funds are allocated to their salaries, social contributions, as well as material costs for research activities and study. Junior economics researchers fall into the second scheme. Their legal circumstances are the same: they are employed for a fixed amount of time, have a salary and public resources also guarantee material expenses for research work.
The doctoral studies are provided according to the internal rules of the higher professional institution. Generally, at universities and other higher professional institutions, a special body is appointed to plan, coordinate, organize and simultaneously accept students' study and research work. These are programme councils or commissions for academic research work, doctoral studies and field coordinators. Every student has a mentor (often accompanied by a co-mentor), who advises students in their choice of subjects and guides their research work. The topic of a doctoral dissertation is assessed by a commission and certified by the senate of the higher professional institute. Mentors may simply be higher professional teachers or scientific workers who have demonstrated their research qualifications (with an appropriate scientific bibliography). The defence of the doctoral dissertation is carried out publicly, before a commission, of which at least one of the members is from another higher professional or research institution, including quite often those from abroad.
The supervision of the doctoral study's execution is also carried out through internal and external evaluation processes.
During the accreditation procedure for doctoral study programmes the following documents shall be submitted:
- analysis of career opportunities of graduates provided by the employment office or the competent chamber, employer associations or other institutions, competent for the professional fields of the study programme, and
- agreements and contracts with enterprises on the placement of the foreseen number of enrolled students.
Reflection on the employability of PhD graduates is also promoted by financial mechanisms, i.e. through young researcher schemes as well as the new scheme for the co-funding of doctoral studies. The latter promotes doctoral studies, designed in such a way that the students’ research contributes to the resolution of business problems or current social challenges.
Knowledge is assessed by oral or written exams and by completing seminar papers. The numerical assessment scale is from 1 to 10, according to which 6 is the lowest positive grade and 10 is the highest. Individual obligations may also be assessed with a simple 'pass' or 'fail' or 'pass with distinction'. The second and third years of study are meant for research work.
In the second year, students must present the topic of their doctoral dissertation. It is on the basis of the commission's assessment grade that the senate of the higher professional institution certifies the topic. The results of the research work must be presented in at least one article, published in an internationally recognized periodical, which has been indexed by the SCI or the SSCI and is from a relevant scientific field. The students must be the leading authors of the article. The doctoral dissertation must be an independent, authentic contribution to the scientific field in question. It is assessed by a commission, which is appointed by the senate of the higher professional institute. It normally consists of three members, with one of the members being from another higher professional or research institution. Suitable foreign experts are often members of the commission. The students must publicly defend their doctoral dissertation before the commission.
Upon the completion of a third cycle study programme of a higher professional institution, students are awarded a diploma with their official scientific title Doctor of Science (doktor znanosti). The diploma may also state the academic field the title is derived from, but the aforementioned academic field is not a component of the academic title. Along with a diploma, students also receive a Diploma Supplement (free of charge, in Slovenian and in one of the official languages of the EU). The regulations for the conferral of the diplomas following the completion of the joint doctoral study programmes are the same as for the completion of the joint first or second cycle study programmes.
Recognition of higher education qualifications in the Republic of Slovenia is governed by the Evaluation and recognition of education Act (sl) and based on the Convention on the recognition of qualifications in higher education in the european regio (sl). The ENIC-NARIC centre operates within the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport with the role of the national information centre pursuant to the provisions of the Convention. Main responsibilities of the centre include collecting and submission of information on the Slovenian education system and foreign education systems, administration of procedures and issuing of opinions on education in accordance with the law, preparation of public information for users, international cooperation in ENIC-NARIC networks and broader international cooperation.
Due to the gradual introduction of the Bologna study programmes, it will no longer possible to complete the old study programmes at higher professional institutions in Slovenia after the 2015/16 academic year. This is also the case with study programmes conferring the title of Master of Science (magisterij znanosti) or Specialisation (specializacije), which is in accordance with the change of provisions of the Higher education Act (sl) classifying them under the third cycle programmes. According to the Decree on the classification system of education (sl), they are classified at level 8/1. Graduates with a diploma of the old university study programme (4 to 6 years in duration) may apply to these programmes. The programme officially of two year’s study consists of 120 credits – as a rule, 90 for the specialised study of subjects from the selected field of study or scientific discipline and 30 for research work or the composition of the MA thesis. Graduates are awarded a diploma and an academic title, usually Master of Science (magister znanosti) or Master of Arts (magister umetnosti). Graduates will be able to continue their studies in the second year of a new doctoral study programme.
Higher professional institutions also offer a variety of short study training programmes that do not confer higher educational qualification. These programmes are developed to broaden and update knowledge that students acquired in the graded programmes. They are accepted by the senates of the higher professional institutions. These programmes become publicly recognised if they are accredited by the Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (SQUAA). The components of the graded programmes are determined by law and include the following: fundamental goals, general and subject specific competences, admission requirements, selection criteria, execution methods and the requirements necessary to complete studies. They consist of at least 10 and at most 60 credits. At the completion of the programme, the student is awarded a certificate, which is an official document. These programmes have a long tradition within the fields of study concerned with the education of teachers. Such programmes are also quite common within other fields, for example, economic and business sciences, technical science and health care.
As training study programmes, they can also offer individual modules from the graded study programmes and various other forms of informal teaching, for example: courses, summer schools, training programmes and so on.
If the knowledge and skills from these programmes correspond with the competences determined in the graded programmes, they can be recognised as the completion of study obligations, valued with credits.
With the distribution of public resources at higher professional institutions, post-doctoral projects are encouraged. These include fundamental or applicative research projects, through which researchers, following the acquisition of the doctorate, receive additional research experience, knowledge and training.