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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 euraxess.nl. 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 (2) 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?

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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.

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