About the Structured Postgraduate Education

Within the structured postgraduate education (SDA) programme, the DIE supports doctoral candidates during their dissertation process. This structured postgraduate education aims at promoting young scholars in acquiring academically relevant and workplace-related competences. It supports their academic work and prepares them for an academic or practical career in adult and continuing education.

The SDA's basic components include: (1) a three-year structured programme, which consists of basic, mandatory and optional modules, (2) comprehensive and temporally limited assistance, and (3) additional cross-institutional programmes, which are provided in cooperation with universities and other research institutions.


SDA graduates are expected to develop the following skills and experiences within the DIE structured postgraduate education:

  • experience in planning, managing, conducting and evaluating educational research projects
  • a wide range of fundamental knowledge of theoretical and methodological empirical education research (qualitative and quantitative)
  • detailed knowledge of theories, methodology and processes in their individual fields
  • independent preparation of research contributions
  • didactic skills for presenting and communicating educational findings at national and international conferences as well as in academic journals.


The education programme is generally designed for a three-year period and contains a precise draft of specific education objectives for this period in the framework curriculum.

The programme is cross-institional, as courses, which are compatible to the SDA curriculum and provided by other institutions and universities, can be attended. It contains three types of courses:

  • Basic modules create a broad research base on research paradigmatic and conceptual basics, as well as methodology and processes of empirical education research. Participation in two basic modules is mandatory. The objective is a deeper understanding of empirical research as well as application knowledge, which allows an independent approach to empirical (qualitative and quantitative) data.
  • Optional compulsory modules meet the individual demands with regard to the dissertation project or other research interests. Two optional compulsory modules are provided. The objective is to establish knowledge and skills for the individual research focus on a level, which permits independent work on the individual research issue.
  • Optional modules serve to develop general, interdisciplinary skills i.e. in the form of individual competence training, the development of research key competences, as well as for career planning and counselling. Participation in these modules is optional.

Scientific supervision

The scientific supervision of the doctoral candidates monitors the dissertation project and includes

  • regular advisory colloquia, in which candidates present their project twice during the three-year period,
  • evaluation of and feedback to manuscripts and dissertation within six weeks,
  • counselling on memberships in professional and trade associations,
  • annual exchange about recommended conferences, seminars and publication strategy,
  • two annual work meetings on the dissertation status quo,
  • monitoring of systematic dissertation process as well as comment on time and work plans.


Dr. Lukas Fervers

Photo: Marco Rothbrust

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