Scientific soft-skill / key competencies courses  

Scientific soft-skill / key competencies courses

Doctoral candidates of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain will have to take four scientific soft-skill courses, developed and conducted in collaboration with Humboldt Graduate School (HGS), Dahlem Research School (DRS), TU Center for Junior Scholars (CJS) and Berlin University Alliance (BUA) and usually offered separately for natural sciences/life sciences and social sciences/humanities. These courses are also called courses for “key competencies”, or “transferable skills”. These terms all mean more or less the same thing.

Humboldt Graduate School (HGS)
Dahlem Research School (DRS)
TU Center for Junior Scholars (CJS)
Berlin University Alliance (BUA)

Mandatory scientific soft-skill courses / key competencies courses at M&B

(1) Good Scientific Practice (first year). Pick one of these courses: Research responsibility / On doing sound and ethical science / Data publishing / Research data management / Effizienter und (plagiats)sicherer Umgang mit Fachliteratur
Recommended: Basic online course (not a substitute for the above), see our webpage Good Scientific Practice

(2) Scientific presentation (first year). Pick one of these courses: Scientific presenting / Presenting successfully in an academic environment / Slide writing & storylining / Scientific communication

(3) Scientific writing (second year). Pick one of these courses: Scientific writing / Academic writing / Professionalizing science research writing in English / Optimizing writing strategies for publishing research in English / Writing abstracts / Writing review articles / Publishing research articles

(4) Grant-proposal writing (third year)

Non-optional courses and opportunities, but recommended:

(5) Career development (thoughout)
The following career workshops and courses for students, doctoral candidates and postdocs are available through Humboldt Graduate School, Dahlem Research School, TU Center for Junior Scholars, Berlin University Alliance:

  • Career days
  • Mentoring programs: one-on-one and peer mentoring
  • Career development courses / opportunities
  • Career coaching
  • Plan B courses (careers outside the Academy)
  • Career networking events
  • Getting started on your PhD events / courses
  • Transition funding
  • University departments for professional continuing education (Berufliche Weiterbildung)

Further Information: Link to internal webpages Career and Mentoring

Rules and regulations for attending HGS / DRS / CJS courses

(1) Your registration with Humboldt Graduate School (HGS) or Dahlem Research School (DRS) is binding!

(2) M&B will have to pay approx. € 250 € per day for each participant.

(3) Cancellations

– To prevent incurring costs for our program, participation must be cancelled at least 14 days in advance by writing to hgs-workshops-please remove this
 and mb-education-please remove this (for DRS and CJR, please find out about cancellation rules when booking)

– A cancellation owing to illness at less than 14 days in advance is only acceptable with a doctor’s certificate.

(4) The list of available workshops can be found here:

(5) M&B doctoral candidates registered at Freie Universität Berlin or TU Berlin may also register for courses at their universitities. A certificate of successful attendance is required when asking for reimbursement from M&B.

Optional scientific soft-skill / key competencies courses

Participation in other than the mandatory soft-skill courses offered by Humboldt Graduate School (HGS) or DRS/CJS may be possible, but is subject to the availabiltity of M&B funding for this purpose. (Remember: One course day costs the school € 250 per participant.)

Once you register, HGS will clear your participation in the courses listed below and other non-mandatory courses with the M&B management before confirming any of these courses to you. However, quite often there are also HGS courses which are free of charge and which you may attend with prior consultation with us.

Additional courses/offers available at HGS, DRS, CJS, BUA include:

– Coaching (see below)
– Communication in intercultural and interdisciplinary teams
– Media training
– Career development (see als No 5 above)
– Project management / Get your things done / Getting started / Kick off your doctorate
– Didactics / Teaching skills for junior scientists
– Dissertation coaching
– Preparing for the disputation
– Business start-up courses
and more


A doctoral candidate may encounter particular challenges while writing his or her PhD thesis, especially during the final stages. Coping with stress as well as time management could become increasingly difficult and might lead to a writer's block or conflicts within a team.

In such situations, individual coaching could be beneficial. Coaching is a method of consulting with a focus on development and addressed to those who seek to improve their way of approaching challenges. A coach is available for a certain period of time as a professional interlocutor. The focus of coaching is not to discuss the questions concerning the subject matter or to provide informed advice but rather lies with communication and the process of reflection. Solutions will not be stenciled but developed by those seeking advice, thus ensuring that they are adequate to the situation.

The Humboldt Graduate School works with coaches, who have gained various experiences in the field of academia and are therefore especially suited to help doctoral candidates. A coaching usually comprises three to five meetings.

The doctoral program of the doctoral candidate often agrees to pay the costs. Please consult the program's coordinator to find out whether you can rely on their support. The Coaching process adheres to the strictest principles of confidentiality for all involved parties.

For further information please contact Dr. Regina von Schmeling: regina.v.schmeling-please remove this


This page last updated on: 26 November 2020