Recognising the Value and the Purpose of the Doctorate: Eurodoc’s Recommendations

Abstract: The growing and ongoing diversification of Doctoral Candidates and Graduates’ profiles on the one hand, and the changing character and context of doctoral programmes on the other, has led to a variety of debates on the quality and impact of the doctorate. Within this context, the pioneering and ambitious goal of this policy paper is the replacement of ECTS (European Credit Transfer Scheme) with the promising approach of Learning Outcomes, which focuses on what learners are expected to know and be able to do after the completion of their study programmes. Learning Outcomes provide not only a powerful tool for recognising and quantifying learning achievements, but they are also an effective structure for comparing qualifications or linking obtained knowledge. However, potential pitfalls need to be properly addressed. As for implementation, learning outcomes maybe long, demanding, and therefore costly. As well, every EU country is characterized by a specific socio, economic, and institutional context that can affect how learning outcomes are assessed and defined.