The Decree of 7 November 2013 defines the landscape of higher education and the academic studies organisation. The PhD corresponds to the third level of higher education and doctoral trainings are supervised by groups who join in Graduate Schools accredited by the ARES (Academy of Research and Higher Education) on the advice of the Chambre thématique universitaire.
The decree of 4 March 2005 fixes the list of 20 Graduate Colleges (EDs) by field of study, at the proposal of the FNRS. In 2012, it was completed by the Government which added the ED “Public Health Sciences”.
As for the ED "Translation and interpretation" created by the Government in 2011, it was reinstated to the ED "Language and Literature, and Translation Studies " by the Decree of 7 November 2013.
As of 2005, the Committee of Graduate Colleges of the FNRS has accredited, basing itself on the opinion of the EDs, around fifty Graduate Schools (EDTs) in order to better correspond to the organisation of research and to guarantee the quality of doctoral training programmes. These EDTs come under one or several EDs. Just one of them requested its dissolution, the EDT in Geography of which the PhD students found a sufficient amount of training courses within other EDTs in the domain.
Over the years, the Commission of the EDs has observed that when examining activity reports, a professionnalisation, a standardisation and an internationalisation of the work carried out by the graduate schools, as well as the fact that the EDTs were on the right scale. It was happy to observe that the majority of schools have included PhD students in their scientific council.
Each year the F.R.S.-FNRS awards a total budget of approximately 180,000 € to finance the activities of the EDs and EDTs; the distribution between the Schools is partly linked to the number of doctors trained over the past 5 years.