Programme information

The objective of the programme is to support fellows in setting up, carrying out and finishing a research project leading to a PhD, alongside a regular job. Please note that GPAC² participants will not be employed by Maastricht University.

GPAC² workload
The first year of the programme requires participants to undertake part-time research and study activities during the year. The workload includes three obligatory workshops of two weeks in Maastricht (six weeks in total), as well as activities in-between workshops. The workload of the training activities in the workshop periods is full time, with classes between 09:00-18:00 and homework assignments to be completed each evening. It is not recommended to combine workshop activities with work duties. The workload for the first year training in between workshops about 15 hours a week.In the following years fellows are required to attend twofull time workshops of one week each in Maastricht, to participate in progress presentations, research discussions skills training and master classes. Time investment during the period working home is flexible, depending on each individual situation, taking into account a minimal time investment of on average 15 hours a week is recommended to make graduation feasible.

We expect the fellows to finish their PhD proposal after one year. This proposal will be submitted to a review committee. Based on this proposal evaluation, continuation in the programme is decided. In the subsequent years, progress is evaluated twice a year, during the face-to-face workshops. Graduation time is depending on the time fellows can spend on their research and on their research expertise before joining the programme. Our fastest graduate completed the degree within 3 years and our slowest graduate took 8,5 years. Average graduation time is 5 years (including the first year).

GPAC² training programme structure
The training programme consists of the following main elements:

  • Year one: a basic training programme in year one of the programme, provided in Maastricht. This basic training programme consists of three visiting periods of two weeks each. Course modules are compulsory for all fellows and will be assessed by the tutors. Basic courses are obligatory for all participants, specialisation courses allow for a personal choice. Times of the workshops are set, and cannot be changed based on participant preferences.
  • All subsequent years: Two workshops of one week per year, jointly with all higher year GPAC² cohorts at the School. The workshop programme includes fellow presentations, with reviewer discussions, progress meetings, skills workshops, seminars and master classes. Times of the workshops are set, and cannot be changed based on participant preferences.
  • Voluntary participation in online course modules, offered with tutor assistance in for instance governance and political science, statistics, mathematics, economics, impact evaluation, social protection, human development, migration, innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Personal supervision and monitoring during the entire programme, in year one by staff members of the School and the partner institutes and in subsequent years by an individually selected supervisory team.


In addition to the compulsory modules specifically designed for the programme, the fellows are welcome to participate in the regular MGSoG events, including:

  • PhD courses in the full-time PhD programme in Innovation, Economics and Governance for Development
  • Seminar series with weekly seminar speakers
  • Research conferences organized by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance


Compulsory modules & research proposal
In the first year, GPAC² fellows must attend all three two-week workshops. In addition to the obligatory coursework during the face-to-face workshops, the fellows are expected to prepare a detailed research proposal. This proposal will be presented to and discussed with the GPAC² fellows and research staff of the School during each workshop in Maastricht. The content of the course modules will be communicated to the fellows at the start of the programme. The courses are offered in a interactive, small group format.

Programme flexibility
The GPAC² training programme allows for maximal flexibility, without jeopardising academic rigour and standards. To allow for individual participants to combine their coursework with their professional life or with their research ambitions and needs, the GPAC² Programme Director, in agreement with the GPAC² programme committee, can make adjustments to the programme which may include rearrangement or replacement of programme elements. This flexibility does not include the option to move face-2-face workshops, nor to participate in workshops online. It does however include the option to be waived certain courses based on existing knowledge as well as fast completion of the first year based on a fully developed and approved proposal at any point in the first year.

From the second year onward, programme milestones and processes are agreed on by participants and the supervisory team on individual basis – with as only requirement the participation in the 2 workshops in Maastricht each year.

Former GPAC2 Fellow: Michal Kazimierczak

Michal Kazimierczak With a demanding full-time job and a four-year old son, the Dual Career Training Programme in Governance and Policy Analysis (GPAC²) at the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance provides me with the needed flexibility to pursue my academic ambitions. By offering a programme that combines career and research, GPAC² fills a highly important niche and caters for today's international professionals that believe in continuous learning and in broadening their horizons. The stimulating academic environment, the remarkable guest lecturers from all around the world as well as the hospitable and accommodating staff of the School make this programme even more appealing.
Michal Kazimierczak