Dealing with the challenges and risks of a being a part-time PhD


Jessica Slijkhuis

You have embarked on a ship called ‘PhD’! The destiny you are intending to reach is finishing a PhD thesis and of course obtaining a PhD degree. Alongside determination and persistence that you will need to keep this ship afloat, the presence of a community of senior and junior researchers will definitely help you to reach your goal. However, combining PhD research with your professional life and often also family life is extremely demanding: you will probably encounter stormy weather. Moreover, in your first year you’ll also experience new challenges that come along with starting a PhD, such as getting used to the rules and rituals of academic culture in general, but also to the risks that are inherent to a dual career track. To fully support you in facing those challenges and achieve optimal performance and success, the School of Health Professions Education organises the following workshop, offered by Jessica Slijkhuis, an accredited professional coach that functions independent from the School and has been coaching and training part-time PhD’s since 2007.

This experiental workshop intends to help you get more acquainted with the risks and challenges around doing a ‘part-time’ PhD. It is developed as a result of experiences in the previous years with the possible pitfalls and obstacles students meet during their first year (s) as PhD’s participating in the School of Health Professions Education. At SHE, we are aware of the challenges part-time PhDs experience, but also see common patterns in the kind of obstacles PhD students encounter and how they deal with them. Reflecting on this will make expectations, pitfalls, and solutions more tangible. The PhD coordinator will take part in this workshop.


  • Your expectations and those of the School of Health Professions Education are mutually recognized and made explicit;
  • You have more insight in the ‘rules of the game’ of writing a PhD (proposal) in the academic system;
  • You have more understanding of the collective pitfalls of doing a part time PhD;
  • You have increased awareness of your own individual challenges and of success-factors that will help you reach your goal.
  • You have some tangible guidelines to make this PhD journey a success.


  • Maastricht, The Netherlands
    Universiteitssingel 60


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