The VUB offers a flexible Doctoral Training Programme. The emphasis lies on an individual programme. Although the programme is in principle not compulsory, you are highly encouraged to participate because the large number of seminars and workshops on offer enables you to develop a wider range of skills. The Doctoral Training Programme presents PhD students with a structural framework for acquiring and developing skills which will support their research as well as their teaching abilities, but which will also prove valuable outside their discipline and the academic environment. The programme offers the opportunity to take part, free of charge, in numerous masterclasses, symposiums and expert seminars, as well as many workshops such as presentation skills, project management, academic English or career coaching.
There were similar developments in many other continental European universities, and at least until reforms in the early 21st century many European countries (. Belgium, Spain, and the Scandinavian countries) had in all faculties triple degree structures of bachelor (or candidate) − licentiate − doctor as opposed to bachelor − master − doctor; the meaning of the different degrees varied a lot from country to country however. To this day this is also still the case for the pontifical degrees in theology and canon law: for instance, in Sacred theology the degrees are Bachelor of Sacred Theology (STB), Licentiate of Sacred Theology (STL), and Doctor of Sacred Theology (STD), and in Canon law : Bachelor of Canon Law (JCB), Licentiate of Canon Law (JCL), and Doctor of Canon Law (JCD).