The Graduate School for Social Research (GSSR, in Polish Szkoła Nauk Społecznych), housed in the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology (IFiS), Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN), offers 4-year, English-language doctoral training that leads to PhD degrees in Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology. IFiS launched GSSR in 1992. Under Poland’s 2018 Law of Higher Education, we broadened our organizational and training scope through a formalized collaboration with PAN Institutes of Psychology (IP) and Political Studies (IPS), under IFiS’ leadership.
The learning outcomes of GSSR’s PhD Programme – acquisition of expert, transferable and soft skills and new knowledge creation – align with the 8th level of the PQF and the European University Association Salzburg Principles on doctoral education. GSSR involves outstanding faculty from IFiS, IPS and IP and abroad to implement its 4-year English-language multi- and interdisciplinary doctoral education model that emphasizes Learning-through-Research (LtR), provides Classroom Training and continuous PhD Progress Assessment.
From Year 1 students participate in faculty-led research units of IFiS, IP and IPS; LtR is a continuous element that leads to students’ scientific independence. In Years 1 & 2, students take mandatory courses (with emphasis on research methods and refinement of individual projects), elaborate on their dissertation plan, and write a first version of a seminal chapter (or article) of their PhD thesis. Years 3 & 4 are dedicated to research work.
At the start of each academic year, GSSR implements the legally required Individual Research Plan with annual Individual Study Programmes (ISP) submitted by students, and signed by supervisors. These map the mandatory and optional elements of both LtR and Classroom Training. Compulsory courses in a given discipline are available to students of other fields as optional courses that enhance the interdisciplinary character of their studies.
The PhD Handbook outlines the premises of success in GSSR’s PhD Programme. To facilitate PhD scientific activities and dissemination, LtR includes required student participation in minimum one faculty-led research group where students learn expert, transferable and soft skills (e.g. project design & management, team work) and broaden their scholarly networks. Work on a publishable article begins in Year 1. As part of annual evaluations, this work is reviewed by an expert in the field.