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PhD programmes

A PhD is the highest academic qualification in the Netherlands. It generally involves four years of original research on a specific topic. Students who have a Master's degree can apply for a position, and are selected on the quality of their (educational) background.

The programme

A regular PhD programme takes 4 years of independent research, supervised by a professor. The programme is concluded by a thesis (dissertation) and/or a series of articles in scientific journals. As PhD student you get the opportunity to contribute to the development of knowledge in your subject. 

There are several ways to obtain a PhD. Most PhD candidates in the Netherlands are not students but employees of the university. The primary criterion for admission to a PhD programme is the quality of the candidate.

Candidates can obtain a PhD:

  • On a scholarship, for example from a foreign government, an international organisation or a Dutch fund. Candidates must arrange their own scholarships. The UvA does not award scholarships.
  • As an external PhD candidate. In this case, you will work on your PhD thesis in your own time, and it will be self-financed or paid for by another employer. The thesis is written under the supervision of a UvA professor. You are responsible for finding a professor who is willing to act as a supervisor.