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Resignation from the Doctoral School

    Although a doctorate is still a dream for many scientists, personal circumstances sometimes force scientists to abandon their plans for a career in academia. In addition to the scientific aspects, many academics also consider the question of whether to enrol in a doctoral programme given the possible financial consequences, including repayment of any scholarship received.

    The amount of the doctoral scholarship may not be lower than 37% of the professor’s salary – until the month in which the mid-term evaluation was carried out, or 57% of the professor’s remuneration – after the month in which the mid-term evaluation was carried out, under Article 209 (4) of the Act of 20 July 2018 – Law on Higher Education and Science ( hereafter referredtoas ConstitutionforScience).Itisalsoworthpointingoutthat,followingsection5 of the aforementioned provision, the amount of the doctoral scholarship may depend on the achievements of the doctoral student.

    The question arises, however, as to what the legal situation of a person resigning from doctoral training is.

    First of all, it should be noted that resignation from education is an obligatory condition for removal from the list of doctoral students under Article 203 (1)(3) of the Act of 20 July 2018 Constitution for Science.

    The loss of this status takes place in the event of a final decision in this regard. This entails the loss of the rights associated with this status. Some units, such as the University of Opole (Szkoła Doktorska Uniwersytetu Opolskiego) and the Medical University of Łódź (Szkoła Doktorska Uniwersytetu Medycznego w Łodzi), or example, post a specimen application form on their websites, requiring the candidate to submit a doctoral card together with the application. Marcin Dokowicz points out that the doctoral student card is a confirmation of the PhD candidate’s status, which is the basis for granting the doctoral student various rights (Dokowicz, 2019). Some universities also publish a model for resignation from doctoral training on their websites. The resignation should contain all the necessary data of the applicant, i.e. name and surname, album number, designation of the doctoral school, place and date of its preparation, as well as an indication of when the resignation takes place if the date differs from the date of the application.

    It is worth mentioning that, according to the Report on Doctoral Students in Poland (2019), a total of just over 5,000 people completed their doctoral studies in 2018, which accounted for 13% of all doctoral students. The PAN institutes had the highest success rate of completed doctoral studies – in 2018, as many as 27% of doctoral students studying in these units completed their education. The Ministry of Education and Science indicates that the low success rate, i.e. the number of doctoral degrees awarded, despite the large number of doctoral students recruited within the doctoral studies system, needed more financial support for doctoral students. Also due to the problem of an ageing academic community (Mazur, 2019), the issue of drop-outs is a challenge faced by doctoral training providers across Poland.

    As of 1 October 2023, legislation completely lifting the ban on employing a doctoral student as an academic teacher or researcher came into force. The change was introduced by the Act

    of 28 July 2023 amending the Act – Teachers’ Charter and certain other acts (Journal of Laws 2023, item 1672). This solution should be assessed positively due to the possibility of extending employment opportunities to doctoral students, which may contribute to filling generation gaps at universities.

    Before resigning from the doctoral school, the doctoral student should take into account the possibility of exercising the right to extend the deadline for the submission of the dissertation. Under Article 204. para. 2. sentence 2 Constitution for Science, the deadline for the submission of the doctoral dissertation may be extended, but for no longer than 2 years, under the rules laid down in the regulations of the doctoral school. Another solution is to suspend training in a doctoral school. The training, at the request of the doctoral student, is suspended for the period corresponding to the duration of maternity leave, leave on maternity leave conditions, paternity leave and parental leave, as defined in the Act of 26 June 1974 – Labour Code (Article 204(3) Constitution for Science). It is worth pointing out that this suspension is not obligatory – a doctoral student does not have to exercise this right (Zębik, 2022). The period of such a suspension does not count towards the maximum 4-year period of receiving the doctoral scholarship. This means that during the suspension of education for the period corresponding to the duration of maternity leave, leave on maternity leave conditions, paternity leave and parental leave, the doctoral student retains the right to receive the scholarship. However, its amount shall be calculated as of the date of submission of the application for suspension of studies (Przybyłowicz, 2020)).

    It should also be highlighted that the bylaws of doctoral schools often provide for the obligation to submit a declaration to undertake education suspended according to Article 204(3) of the Constitution for Science. An example is the Rules and Regulations of the Doctoral School of the University of Wrocław, which in §35 para. 5 directly indicates an obligation to submit a declaration on undertaking suspended education within 14 days of the end of the period of suspension (Obwieszczenie Rektora Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, 2022). Failure to submit such a declaration, in turn, is read as a resignation from the training.

    Marta Bakun, MA
    Local Ambassador of Doctoral Rights

    Reference list

    1. Izdebski, H.[w:] J. M. Zieliński, H. Izdebski, Prawo o szkolnictwie wyższym i nauce. Komentarz, wyd. III, LEX/el. 2023, art. 209.
    2. Mazur, S., Uczelnie nie były w tak dramatycznej sytuacji od dekad [W:] Tygodnik powszechny 35/2022.
    3. Obwieszczenie Rektora Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego z dnia 29 kwietnia 2022 r. w sprawie ogłoszenia tekstu jednolitego uchwały Nr 134/2019 Senatu Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego z dnia 25 września 2019 r. w sprawie regulaminu Szkoły Doktorskiej Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego.
    4. Przybyłowicz, A., Zasiłek macierzyński doktorantów pobierających stypendia doktoranckie [W:] Praca i Zabezpieczenie Społeczne nr 6, Warszawa 2020.
    5. Raport „Nauka w Polsce”, Laboratorium Analiz Statystycznych i Ewaluacji Ośrodek Przetwarzania Informacji – Państwowy Instytut Badawczy, Warszawa 2019, (accessed: 30.10.2023).
    1. Szkoła Doktorska Uniwersytetu Medycznego w Łodzi, Rezygnacja z kształcenia
      w szkole doktorskiej,
    2. Szkoła Doktorska Uniwersytetu Opolskiego, Oświadczenie o rezygnacji z kształcenia w Szkole Doktorskiej, (accessed: 27.10.2023).
    3. Zębik, G., Doktorat a rodzicielstwo [W:] Status doktorantów w ustawie 2.0 pod red. W.Kiełbasińskiego, M. Dorochowicza, Toruń 2022.

    mgr Marta Bakun

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