Polish Studies Bulletin

Article / interview

27.05.2019

A few questions about… the ANTHROPOS Doctoral School

Doctoral programmes in Poland will be replaced by doctoral schools. This change has been introduced by the Law on Higher Education and Science (Law 2.0), also known as the Constitution for Science.

Na zdjęciu: siedziba Instytutu Historii PAN.

The Anthropos Doctoral School will be one of such new institutions. It will bring together 9 Institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences: the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, the Institute of Literary Research, the Stanisław Leszczycki Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization, the Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History, the Institute for the History of Science, the Institute of the Polish Language, the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures, the Institute of Slavic Studies and the Institute of Art. Dr. Olga Linkiewicz, Head of the Anthropos IPAN Doctoral School and Dr. Nicole Dołowy-Rybińska, Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Anthropos IPAN Doctoral School, answered a few questions about studying at this institution.

Where did the name of the Doctoral School come from?

Different fields and disciplines in the humanities and social sciences are linked by an interest in the human beings, including their functioning in society and their relationship with the environment. The name of our Doctoral School - Anthropos - refers to the subject of research in the institutes that make up the School. The disciplines studied in these nine institutes include anthropology, archaeology, geography, history, art, linguistics and literary studies. We would wish for the dissertations created within the framework of Anthropos School to deal with different fields of human activity in the geographical and social environment and also to be part of a critical reflection on the heritage of human sciences and research ethics.

What will distinguish it from other doctoral schools?

One of the most important premises in the School's programme is the ongoing relationship between the doctoral student and the supervisor. Doctoral students will have no teaching duties and will be able to focus on their research work and their own scientific development.

Another important premise is the comprehensive preparation of doctoral students to function independently in the national and international academic environment. The Programme Board will be composed of eminent world-class experts from Poland and abroad; it will help us to achieve this goal.

How will the idea of interdisciplinarity of studies be implemented? And what will the collaboration of institutes involve?

We want to give students the opportunity to gain knowledge about the methods and tools used in various disciplines and the broadest possible humanities education, taking into account the most important dilemmas of the modern world. For those who wish, it will be possible to write a dissertation under the guidance of supervisors representing different disciplines - for example geography and history, history and anthropology, literature and the arts.

Above all, however, we want our graduates to have knowledge about methods and theoretical reflections that go beyond one discipline. Therefore, during the first two years of education, all doctoral students will participate in a joint seminar conducted by supervisors from various disciplines. Thanks to this, they will learn to present research plans and results of their research in a way that is understandable for people coming from outside their narrow specialization. They will also have the opportunity to learn about different types of seminar work and research methods.

Doctoral students will pursue an individual training path at an institute of their choice, but in the first and second year each student will be required to attend at least one seminar organised by another institute. They will attend interdisciplinary tutorials conducted by academics from our institutes and by guests from abroad.

The implementation of the programme and cooperation between the institutes within the School will be supervised by the Director, the School Board and coordinators from individual institutes. Studies at the School will be subject to internal evaluation involving domestic and foreign experts and, of course, doctoral students themselves.

What additional skills will the School help to develop?

The development of the so-called soft skills, i.e. skills related to the scholarly work, will be an important part of the School's programme. This will be prominent in the activities carried out in the first two years of studies. There will be exercises in writing various types of scientific texts (including internal reviews), in presenting research results on the scientific forum and outside the academia, classes on copyright law, research ethics, and on gaining funds for research. During the academic skills classes doctoral students will learn how to organise thoughts in a precise manner, form theses and conduct arguments, among other things.

It is the deficiencies in such skills that are the reason why the articles of researchers from Poland are rejected by reputable scientific journals with a global impact.

We hope that the implementation of the School's programme will be possible in part thanks to the exchanges with foreign centres within the framework of the National Agency for Academic Exchange programmes. Although our PhD candidates have no teaching duties, they will be prepared to work with their future students, including performing the duties of a supervisor. In the future, we would also like to organize classes to train for work in administration, management in the academia, scientific research services, etc. All these skills can enable young scientists to work efficiently in the academic environment. They will also be useful in various areas of expert work outside of science: in education, politics, administration and scientific and educational institutions - e.g. at archives or museums.

What is the School’s offer to foreign students?

Doctoral students from abroad will have the opportunity to learn about the cultural context, language and a different academic culture. This experience will help them to understand the problems of Central and Eastern Europe, particularly Poland.

For those students who do not know Polish, we offer an individual course of study under the supervision of specialists from our institutes. The School can facilitate access to archival collections and sources for dissertation - not only to regular students, but also to foreign guests on exchange.

What will the recruitment procedure involve?

Recruitment to the School is carried out together for all institutes and has two stages. In the first stage of the competition, the selection committee will evaluate the candidates' documents, especially the research project proposed by the candidate. The best candidates will pass on to the second stage - an interview. Candidates will be interviewed by representatives of the individual institutes forming the School and by invited experts.

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