For the successful completion of the yDiv research training programme, each doctoral researcher needs to complete 12 credit points (CP) following the yDiv curriculum. A minimum of 10 CP must be gained from courses and a minimum of 2 CP from activities (see table below). The yDiv credit point system follows the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), where each credit point (CP) is equivalent to approximately 25-30 h workload, including contact hours and personal study.

yDiv offers a variety of biodiversity courses that are thematically grouped under one or several of the four research areas of iDiv:

  • Patterns
  • Processes
  • Functions
  • Biodiversity and Society

yDiv courses aim to bridge different levels of biodiversity research, from theory to applied aspects of nature conservation.They are typically organised as a result of collaborative effort between different groups and scientists, and they commonly include field work or laboratory work in the form of a „hands-on“ component.

yDiv doctoral researchers are strongly encouraged to participate in the workshops offered by sDiv, the Synthesis Centre of iDiv. 2 CP can be gained for active participation. You can apply by sending a short, informal application (including a summary about your PhD project and why you would benefit from participation in the workshop) to the sDiv and yDiv coordination.

yDiv also runs several courses that have a more methodological focus. These courses are built to provide insight into techniques particularly designed for biodiversity research. The Bioinformatics Unit (BIU) and the Biodiversity Informatics Unit (BDU) of iDiv both organise annual training for yDiv doctoral researchers.   

Transferable/professional skills courses complement the course offers at of the graduate academiestypo3/#_msocom_2. The purpose of this part of the curriculum is to strengthen the professional and interpersonal skills of the doctoral researchers and prepare them for their future career. Typical topics within the transferable skills include career development, presentation skills, networking, leadership and time management.

Only two courses are mandatory for yDiv doctoral researchers (Introduction to integrative biodiversity science at iDiv and Good scientific practice). All other courses are elective, however note that a minimum of 1 CP must be gained from transferable skills courses, and that one single course can count for a maximum of 5 CP. Note that those yDiv doctoral researchers who have started before 2016 can compensate the 2 CP of mandatory courses with elective courses.

The flexibility of yDiv curriculum and the wide selection of courses within yDiv and at its partner institutions allows the doctoral researchers to tailor their training so that it best serves the completion of their scientific project and the development of their professional skills.

yDiv curriculum requirements valid from March 2019

Curricular element

ECTS credits

Minimum ECTS




Mandatory courses

• yDiv Welcome Week including the course Introduction to integrative biodiversity science at iDiv



• Good scientific practice



Elective courses

• Biodiversity courses themed around the four iDiv research areas: patterns, processes, functions, biodiversity and society

0.5-2 per course


• Methodological courses

0.5-2 per course


• Transferrable skills courses

0.25-1 per course


• Participation in an sDiv working group meeting






• Acting as elected PhD representative at the yDiv board or the iDiv council



• Presenting a poster or talk at an international conference



• Supervision of pupil's internship



• Acting as teaching assistant/assisting the supervision of B.Sc. or M.Sc. research projects

Up to 1


• Organising events at yDiv/iDiv

Depending on hours


• Participation in the iDiv scientific events (excluding meetings of own lab group): for example scientific retreat, joint journal clubs, scientific visits etc.

Depending on hours


• Scientific outreach activities

Up to 1


• Participation in the yDiv retreat

0.25 (for 1 retreat)


• Participation in 10 seminar series talks & writing a brief summary (see guidelines from yDiv webpage)



Total minimum



1CP = 25-30 h

Example: completing the yDiv curriculum requirements

An overview how Ms A, our exemplary doctoral researcher, completes the yDiv curriculum requirements of 12 Credit Points within her three years at yDiv Graduate School:

First Year 
Curricular ElementsCredit Points
Mandatory Courses
Introduction to Integrative Biodiversity Science at iDiv1.5
Good Scientific Practice0.5
Selective Courses and Activities
Programming with R in Ecology1
Time Management (Transferable Skills Course)0.25
Writing of Scientific Publications0.5
Participation at yDiv Retreat0.25
Support for Preparation of iDiv Conference1CP/30h
Total Credit Points achieved in First Year 5.00

Second Year 
Curricular ElementsCredit Points
Selective Courses and Activities
Participation at yDiv retreat0.25
Course on Meta-Study Techniques1
Course on Science-Policy Interface1
Acting as elected PhD representative at the yDiv board1
Presentation Skills (Transferable Skills Course)0.25
Helps to organize the iDiv Summerfest and takes part in
several cross-working group journal club meetings
Total Credit Points achieved in Second Year 4.00

Third Year 
Curricular ElementsCredit Points
Selective Courses and Activities
sDiv workshop2
Thesis Defense Training (Transferable Skills Course)          0.25
Acting as a teaching assistant0.75
Total Credit Points achieved in Third Year 3.00
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