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Fee, VUnet-ID, visa and funding

Fee, VUnet ID and other costs

As an external PhD candidate, you are responsible for the following costs:

1. Annual membership fee of the Graduate School
2. VUweb ID (not obligatory)
3. Visa, travel and accommodation costs (if applicable)
4. Costs of following the training programme (if applicable)

On this webpage, you can also find information about funding.

1. Annual Fee

According to the VU doctorate regulations, all PhD-candidates are members of a Graduate School, in this case the Graduate School of Religion and Theology. Membership of our Graduate School means that you get regular supervision from your supervision team, support by our Graduate School office, and free access to our faculty research teams and our (online) research master and PhD-courses. Providing these services requires us to charge a yearly fee.

  • The fee for the academic year 2021-2022 is € 500,-.

The membership fee must be paid immediately after receiving your letter of acceptance to our Graduate School, and every subsequent year during which you are a member, until your manuscript has been formally approved by the reading committee. Since you pay the fee for each academic year, which runs form 1 September – 31 August, you must pay the fee every year before September 1st. The fee is applicable to both EU and non-EU residents.

Who is required to pay the fee?
All external PhD candidates (buitenpromovendi) are required to pay the annual fee. Only employed PhD students (AiO), PhD students that have received a grant (e.g. through NWO or VU-Vereniging), and in some cases, PhD students that are affiliated to one of partner institutions, are exempted from paying the fee. Please always check in advance.

Special arrangements and refunds
If you are admitted during the academic year, you pay a percentage of the fee, depending on your starting date:

  • starting between 1 September and 31 January: full fee
  • starting between 1 February and 30 June: 50%

Fees for the Graduate School and all other costs are non-refundable. If you should decide to discontinue your PhD trajectory, or the Graduate School decides to terminate your membership, you will not be refunded for any fees paid thus far. However, a partial refund of the annual fee is possible if you submitted your manuscript before February 1st, and it has been approved by the reading committee.

When the yearly fee has not been paid, the Graduate School is forced to freeze the PhD student’s membership. This means that this person cannot make use of the services described above, including supervision from the supervision team. This also means that the PhD research cannot be completed.

2. VUweb ID

A VUweb ID is a digital identity (username and password combination) with which you get access to various IT services and systems. A VUweb ID is not mandatory. In 2021, a VUweb ID costs € 673,- annually, and includes the following services:

  • VU e-mail address
  • Microsoft teams account
  • One Drive (in which you store your files safely)
  • Access to VU electronic library facilities and databases
  • You can get a VU card to access the closed area of the faculty and rent books from the library
  • Visa (a VUweb ID is required for applying for a visa)

Employees, students and guests with a hospitality agreement, and in some cases PhD students that are affiliated to one of our partner institutions, get a VUweb ID for free. As an external, non-resident PhD (Dutch: buitenpromovendus) you normally do not need a VUweb ID, especially not if you have sufficient access to an academic library in your own vicinity and/or do not need a visa. Furthermore, our online courses can be accessed without a VUweb ID.

Given the annual costs of a VUnet-ID, we recommend that you first explore whether your local academic library or your national library are workable (or perhaps better) alternatives before you opt for a VUweb ID. VU Amsterdam University Library issues library cards for use on spot (a library card does however not provide full access to digital resources such as ATLA Religion Database). In the Netherlands, membership of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague gives access to many online services and collections for only €15,- a year.

Should you need a visa to come to Amsterdam from abroad, a VUweb ID is required.

3. Visa, Housing and Accommodation Costs


The PhD trajectory at the Graduate School of Religion and Theology can be done entirely from abroad. However, we encourage our PhD students to visit the Netherlands at least once. When you are planning on coming to the Netherlands for more than 90 days, you will need a visa. Please inform the office of the Graduate School when you are considering applying for a visa.

The VU International Office is happy to help in arranging visa and immigration formalities for international PhD students. We recommend you to contact their office when you have questions, for example regarding the application costs. Please note that for a visa, a VUweb ID is required, which can be applied for at our Graduate School.

If you need a visa, please start early with the application process. As procedures for foreign nationals can be quite lengthy, the International Office would like to receive the application in VUweb at least two months prior to the intended start date. More information can be found here.

Housing and Accommodation

VU Amsterdam provides various types of accommodation for international and visiting PhD students and their families. On this webpage, you can find more information about these, and other accommodation options.

Guesthouse ‘De Pastorie’
The Faculty of Religion and Theology offers accommodation to participants in exchange programs, to visiting staff, international PhD’s and guests at the Faculty of Religion and Theology. The number of available rooms is limited, so accommodation for guests cannot be guaranteed. De Pastorie is located in Aalsmeer. The price varies between € 675,- and € 900,- a month, depending on the size of the room. The secretariat of the faculty can provide information on how to arrange housing in this guesthouse.

4. Costs of following the education programme

As can be read more extensively on this webpage, each PhD student is required to complete at least 30 EC during their PhD trajectory. This can be done by following courses offered by VU, courses offered by other institutions, workshops, and other activities. How you are going to meet the 30 EC requirement is laid down in your Training and Supervision Plan.

All courses offered by the Faculty of Religion and Theology are free of charge for members of the Graduate School. However, for other courses and activities, additional costs may apply. Except for employed PhD’s (AiO), these costs must be paid by the PhD student, or in case of a funded PhD, by the institution that provides the funding. Please always check in advance.

5. Funding Opportunities

The Faculty of Religion and Theology and the Graduate School of Religion and Theology do not offer funding opportunities for external PhD candidates at the moment. However, there are several opportunities to receive (additional) funding for your PhD trajectory. We advise you to explore options relevant to your own research area, affiliated institutes or (home) country. On this webpage, you can find more information about funding at VU.

VU offers a reimbursement of €500,- for the costs of your PhD defense. Please contact the faculty secretariat for more information.