PhD Peer Consultation - a powerful tool to tackle PhD challenges

Course schedule

Dates Start time End time Coordinator registrations
Pre-registration list / general waiting list
3 two-hour meetings, a month apart
Marjolijn Dannenburg Apply

Course description

Peer consultation (also called intervision) is a way to find solutions for, and learn from, issues and problems in everyday work with a group of colleague PhD candidates. Under supervision of a professional coach you will learn how to consult peer PhDs to deal with PhD-specific issues, such as: stress, deadlines, overload of work, perfectionism, how to express yourself in a meeting, how to deal with supervisors with conflicting interests or opinions, lack of time and attention from your supervisor and many more issues. The key element is that PhDs exchange ways how to deal with or tackle these issues and challenges.

A peer consultation group consists of 5-8 participants, preferably working in different research groups and started in different years, as more diversity in the group mostly results in more diversity in solutions as well. Every peer consultation group will meet monthly in a period of at least six months. Each session has a duration of approximately 2 hours. The first 3 sessions are guided by a process coach (counsellor of Occupational Social Work).

In these guided sessions the participants learn the various structured methods of peer consultation:

  • formulating a case, focussed on own involvement and behaviour
  • asking structured questions, based on the chosen work form
  • gaining insights into one's own actions and generating new alternatives 

General Information  

Target Group: PhD candidates. To get the most out of this course, PhDs must have at least a half year’s experience
Group size: 5-8 participants
Course duration: Three separate meetings. Being present at all 3 meetings is obliged!
Followed by a monthly session for at least 5 months, planned by the Peer Group
Language: English
Credit points: 0.3 ECTS for the three sessions with the supervisor + 0.3 ECTS for three sessions without supervision and an evaluation meeting with the supervisor
Self-study hours: 3
Name coach: Elsbeth Kuneman and Claudie van Dreumel-Klanderman (Occupational Social Work)
Venue: All participants receive a message about the course location a few weeks before the start date of the course

Key learning goals

  • To learn the basic principles of peer consultation
  • To apply the necessary skills for peer consultation
  • To be able to continue independently with a peer consultation group
  • To learn from issues and problems with a group of PhD colleagues
  • To reflect on your own professional behaviour and conduct
  • To detect unwanted patterns in yourself and to change those patterns into new wanted behaviour
  • To give and receive feedback without any judgements
  • To exchange/share problems and solutions
  • To listen to, accept and empathise with others
  • To learn from others


  • Peer group of 5-8 PhD colleagues
  • Voluntary participation
  • All meetings are confidential
  • Everyone is given ample to time to contribute issues, problems or challenges
  • Everyone is listened to
  • All meetings ensure a safe environment to share doubts, needs and mistakes
  • No one will judge another


1) Reduced fee: PhD candidates of Wageningen University with an approved Training and Supervision Plan (TSP) that are registered at one of the WU graduate schools (EPS, PE&RC, VLAG, WASS, WIAS, WIMEK) € 75 ,-
2) University fee: All other PhD candidates of Wageningen University € 150,-

Cancellation condition

You may cancel free of charge up to four weeks before the start of the course. After this date you will be charged the University fee. Unless:

  • You can find someone to replace you in the course and supply the course coordinator with the name and contact information of your replacement. In this case you will only be charged a € 50,- cancellation fee.
  • You (PhDs and postdocs of Wageningen University) have a valid reason to cancel (illness or death in the family 1st or 2nd degree).
    In this case you will be charged the reduced fee and your supervisor/PI must send a mail indicating the reason for cancellation.


For more information please contact

Some experiences of former participants

"I think the PhD peer consultation is very useful. During our meetings, we were trained to use one systematic method to explore our issues or problems and try to solve it. After the training, we used and will use the method to listen to others’ problems. Sometimes, we have experienced the similar situation, but have different solutions. So we share our issues, opinions, experiences and possibilities to answer questions."

"I liked the PhD peer consultation very much. It was good to have instructions from a coach at the beginning. The different methods for problem solving that we learned during these first three meetings always worked very well." "The most remarkable thing about the PhD peer consultation is: we got a more clear view about our problem and it was actually not as bad as we think."

"It was amazing to see that often the problems that we brought into this meeting emerged to be something completely else than we thought before. This also happened to me and I was able to solve my problem because I was made aware of what my actual problem was."

"I wished I would have been able to follow the PhD peer consultation training at the beginning of my PhD. I think these kind of sessions provide a platform for cross-chair-group interactions between PhD candidates which is required for general problems since it is not always easy to discuss these kind of problems within a group since everybody knows each other."

"I also always learned from the topics the other participants brought into our meetings and I think I will profit from it in the future when I might encounter similar things. Moreover, it felt always good to me to be able to help someone else and to hear that my opinion and help is valued. I always left our meetings with a good feeling."

"All in all, I am very happy and think this peer group is very helpful and also will also give benefit to other PhDs."