Study in Holland

PhD degree in the Netherlands

Holders of a MSc or MA diploma of a recognized research university, in the Netherlands or outside the country, can continue scientific carrier and apply for a PhD degree programme, that refers to the third stage of Dutch higher education system.

Abbreviation PhD (or Ph.D) stands for a Doctor of Philosophy degree, that addresses research studies in any selected field of studies, and considered as the highest academic degree to be awarded in Holland.

It is important to know, that only Dutch research universities can award a Phd degree. There are also PhD vacancies at institutions or companies running the research activities These organisations should have agreements with the research university to provide the position for PhD candidates. The list of research universities and institutions, where it is possible to enrol for a doctorate programme see below.

PhD studies procedure in Holland

PhD studies in Holland are generally consist of research activities and culminate in a dissertation (thesis) which should be written and defended in English.

Some parts of thesis are usually published in international scientific magazines. When research work is finished the supervising professor evaluates it and decides if whether the dissertation is ready for publication and oral defence. A commission will be assigned to approve the dissertation and to discuss it with the candidate during the traditional oral defence ceremony. The PhD programmes last 4 years.

How to enter a PhD programme?

1. To find a PhD vacancy

The student can employ to the existing PhD vacancy and get the salary for performing the research in the offered project. The easiest way to find the vacancy is to visit the university website. In case no vacancy appeared to be completely fitting for the student, he can offer his research topic to group he employed to.

2. The grant or fellowship for a doctorate

  • The candidate can suggest original research proposal and look for the professor ready to give him supervision, financial support and assistance. It’s possible to find the professor through the publications worldwide, through the Internet, by his scientific publications or using international contacts between student’s native university and Dutch one. The best option is to find the person with leading reputation in the needed field.
  • Candidate can find a fellowship or grant which allow him to conduct the research. Around 16% of of the PhD candidates use this way to finance the PhD studies in Holland

3.The PhD research programme

The candidate can as well get involved in the educational PhD programme offered by the research school, which is the part of the Dutch Research University.

Admission requirements

In order to be admitted for a doctorate studies shall have the solid background in theory and practice in the chosen field and provide:

  • a recognized research Master degree diploma which gained upon completion of 2 years master's programme;
  • the required level of English: scores 600/250/100 for TOEFL or 7 for IELTS);
  • a research activities statement (a research proposal);
  • a CV (resume) and reference letter(s).

Each university determines whether to admit the candidate on the individual grounds, based on motivation and  reference letter provided during application.

PhD programmes fees

Usually PhD position is a paid position, which means that participants get a salary corresponding with wages of research staff. Salary of first year PhD students is approximately 1300 EURO and reach up to 1700 EURO.  Wages of starter scientists are around 2000 EURO per month.

Some universities charge additional fees for the supervision or enrolment. The sums depend on the university, the chosen discipline and the other aspects like the use of an expensive equipment. All additional information can be found at Look for PhD tuition fees and programmes at Eurogates' database.

List of research universities' departments and institutions

  1. Delft University of Technology (CICAT, Management Centre for International Cooperation)
  2. Eindhoven University of Technology (International Relations Office)
  3. Erasmus University Rotterdam  (Academic Affairs Division)
  4. Intsitute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHIHS)
  5. International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus Univesity Rotterdam
  6. Leiden University
  7. Maastricht School of Managment (MSM)
  8. Maastricht Unverisity MUNDO Maastricht University Centre for International Cooperation in Academic Development
  9. Nyenrode Business Universiteit  (Nyenrode Research & Innovation Institute - NRI)
  10. Protestantse Theologische University
  11. Radboud University Nijmegen
  12. Tilburg Unversity (Development Research Institute - (IVO)
  13. UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education (Department of Academic and Central Services)
  14. University of Groningen (International Service Desk, Office of International Relations)
  15. University of Amsterdam (International Student Affairs)
  16. University of Humanistics
  17. University of Twente (including ITC) International Office
  18. Utrecht University
  19. VU Amsterdam ( International Office)
  20. Wageningen University (Wageningen PhD Council - WPC)
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Comments (46) Comment the article

17/03/2014, 14:43 # lloyd

hello, if i graduated from a 1 year master programme in belgium could i apply for a phd programme in holland?

17/03/2014, 17:20 # staff

Hi Lloyd, in order to be accepted for a PhD programmes you have to finish a Research Master programme which usually has a duration of 2 years.

22/04/2014, 16:40 # emmanuel

Pls. I want to apply for PhD Business Administration of PhD Marketing in Netherland. Pls. I want a guide on the university that I can apply to in Netherlands or Holland. I have B.Sc in Business Administration (second class upper) and also a MBA (Ph.D grade) from Nigerian universities (Ahmadu Bello university and University Zaria, Kaduna state and University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara State) respectively.

22/04/2014, 20:16 # staff

Hi Emmanuel,
Please look at the sites of the following Business Schools:

25/05/2014, 19:21 # August

Hello there,

May I ask if it is possible to apply for a PhD in Netherlands if I have done a taught MA? I am currently coming towards the end of my Master in International Journalism in England. Please advise if it is not possible for a taught MA degree to apply for PhD in Netherlands,how else can I apply?

Thank you and best regards,


25/05/2014, 19:35 # staff

Hi August, in order to be accepted for a PhD programmes you have to finish a Research Master programme which usually has a duration of 2 years.

02/07/2014, 07:52 # timmy

I am currently an MSC student of anglia ruskin university in England,studying international management practice, I just submitted my dissertation and will be rounding up by September 2014, I would like to apply for a PHD programme In business management in Netherlands , please I want a guide on the university that will be suitable for me and how I can go about it.

02/07/2014, 08:59 # staff

Hi Timmy, you need select a university which is specialised in Business and Management and look for a PhD programme or vacancies on its website. You can also look at the site of Business schools.

11/07/2014, 16:03 # Amit Koirala


I am Amit Koirala from Nepal. I want to do my PhD in education. I have completed Masters in education MED from Tribhuvan University, Nepal and also completed my MPhil in Education (Thesis on progress) from Kathmandu University Nepal. Beside these I also have two Journal article at national level and one Journal article at Internal level (with DOI Prefix). I have also done two International conference presentation and one national level conference presentation. So, Please help me by giving necessary advice.

15/07/2014, 19:58 # staff

You need to look a PhD vacancy on any university which have programme in education.
For instance: University of Twente: or University of Amsterdam:

18/08/2014, 23:56 # Madaki L S

Hi, I am a graduate of Veterinary Medicine from University of Maiduguri (DVM), and did my MSC in Ahmadu Bello University Zaria all in Nigeria. I wish to do my PhD in a reputable university in Holland. Please would you recommend a university or two? Waiting to hear from you soon.

19/08/2014, 10:40 # staff

Here is the ranking of research universities per field of study:

03/10/2014, 16:12 # Martina

Hi, I am finishing my MA in International Relations. Apart from the PhD which requires at least Research Master level, can I still work as a Researcher/Assistant in the Netherlands and where can I find such websites offering similar positions in the academic field? Thanks!

05/10/2014, 11:15 # staff

You can look at the sites of research universities:

01/12/2014, 10:29 # mshelia

Hello, I have a masters in veterinary public health and preventive medicine in Nigeria and I am looking for phd in veterinary medicine in the Netherlands please where can I find such websites and which universities would you recommend for me

02/12/2014, 18:24 # staff

Look here:

31/12/2014, 12:23 # abbas

sir i have completed my masters in Soil ans water engineering and i want to doing Ph.D in water resoureces engineering. how can i approach best institution in netharlands and waht is the application procedure foe that and also fee details.

04/02/2015, 08:09 # staff

Hi! Here are the details of admission procedure
If You need additional info feel free ask a personal consultation

15/01/2015, 17:48 # William Eulatth

Hello, if I did a two years research masters taught in English, do I need to take and English examination?

17/01/2015, 22:02 # staff

Hi! Good question. You do not need pass exam of course.

04/03/2015, 13:29 # Kenan Alper Kök

I am currently doing my MA in International Relations in Turkey, and next year I will complete the program. I was looking for PhD programs for international relations, however I have been unable to find one. Any help would be appreciated

22/03/2015, 22:03 # sergio come

Good afternoon,
My name's Sergio Come from Mozambique. I am master in agricultural extension by Eduardo Mondlane University (Mozambique). I'd like to do phd in sustainable agriculture or agricultural extension. Might you give me the names and websites of universities in Holland that teach these courses?

07/03/2015, 06:28 # Kishore

Hello sir

Am kishore from india i completed my in Aerospace engineering from Jawaharlal nehru University HYDERABAD ( 2 years of Duration) ,Presently am want to do Phd in (Aerospace )in Netherlands so please guide me the to apply ?
How to get funding for PhD in that area, pls gve me reply sir

23/03/2015, 11:08 # staff

Hi Kishore,
You need look for PhD Programmes at the site of Delft University of Technology. Please take into attention, that usually a PhD position is a paid one. So you cam expect to get a salary during your studies.

06/05/2015, 12:00 # Romina Rexha

Hi .
I,m Romina from Albania . I already finnish MSc program 2 years as translator and interpretor for Englishand Italian language , can I apply for Doctorature programe ?

09/05/2015, 08:36 # staff

Hi! Yes You can if You find University with same programs and they we will be agreed. But You should understand that they can require knowledge of Dutch language too.

28/05/2015, 20:48 # Shoobhangi Tyagi

Hello Sir ,
I have done my grad in chemistry (hons) and doing my MSc in Water Science and Governance . I am planning to do my Phd in water resource management . Pls can you give me the details of the institutes providing such Phd ,How to apply , Is the TOFL score necessary in all the universities and how to get funding in this field of research ?

01/06/2015, 09:14 # staff

Hi! Here are language requirments
Here You can find suitable programs for You and send request about PhD position and funding.

28/05/2015, 23:45 # Vineeth

Hello sir. I have completed my MBA in Marketing stream. I want to do Ph.D from Netherlands. So what is the procedure to apply and give me suggestions where to apply and how much fees I should pay. Please suggest me in detail. Thank you

01/06/2015, 09:16 # staff

Here You can find suitable programs for You and send request about PhD position and funding.

13/08/2015, 12:12 # xoe

i just finished my masters in Animal nutrition and biochemistry and i would like to pursue my Phd degree Animal nutrition in holland, Can you recommend a school i can apply to?

13/10/2016, 15:17 # staff

You can search for Ph.D programs here:
Or ask university directly for admission

19/03/2016, 17:07 # negar ebrahimi

i'm negar ebrahimi from iran,i study doctorate of veterinary medicine and after my course i want to start phd in which university and in what field i can study phd there?thank you

06/10/2016, 10:46 # staff

You can find suitable for you programmes here:
Then you should write directly to university for Ph.D admission

25/04/2016, 16:49 # Adefemi

Do I still need to write TOEFL or IELTS even when my the language of instruction for BSc and MSC is English language.

05/10/2016, 16:40 # staff

You have to pass IELTS or TOEFL tests every two years.
The exception is that your study process was in English, and you can prove it.

11/08/2016, 07:42 # venkataramireddy

sir i have completed my bachelor of enginnering in electrical and electronics engineering and i want to doing Ph.D inelectrical & electronics engineering. how can i approach best institution in netharlands and what is the application procedure.

19/09/2016, 18:55 # staff


You should write directly to university to solve your question

18/10/2016, 07:12 # inamic azam

I have completed 6 year MD physican in ukraine, am I eligible for Phd since I have no past history of research

18/10/2016, 10:55 # staff

The best option for you will be to write directly to university for Ph.D admission

20/11/2016, 17:31 # Katono Yusuf

Hi, am 29 year old Ugandan looking for a PhD scholarship to trace the relationship between societal marketing, profitability, and consumer retention in the African Community

21/11/2016, 11:50 # staff

The best option for you will be to write directly to university.

01/02/2017, 06:59 # infant

i want do phd in Netherland now i am doing my M.E. in biometrics and cyber security(final year),so what are things i have prepare for the next level....

01/02/2017, 17:23 # staff

You should write directly to university for Ph.D admission

04/02/2017, 16:37 # pragathi

Hi I'm a pharmD (doctorate of pharmacy) graduate from India and i'm interested in pursuing PhD in holland. Could it be possible for me to get a fully funded phD grants so that i can complete my studies. I'm truly interested in medical, community service and through PhD i would like to accomplish my wish.

06/02/2017, 19:12 # staff

You need to ask directly to university for Ph.D admission and following grants.

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