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Fee, VUnet-ID, visa, and funding

Fee, VUnet ID and other costs

At the Graduate School FRT VU there are four types of PhD candidates: PhD candidates employed by VU (AiOs), FRT employees also working on a PhD, external PhD candidates (also including PhD candidates with external financial support) (buitenpromovendi), and external PhD candidates from partner institutions. What a PhD candidate is expected to pay during their PhD trajectory is dependent on their PhD type. Below, the costs for the various PhD types are described.

Fee, VUnet-ID and other costs

  • Annual membership fee of the Graduate School FRT VU

    Obligatory for external PhD candidates, and in some cases, PhD candidates from partner institutions.

    The annual membership fee is charged by the Graduate School FRT VU to cover the infrastructural expenses made by the Graduate School FRT VU (e.g. staff, organizing PhD courses, communication etc.). Supervision is not part of this infrastructure, and does not need to be paid for by the PhD candidate. The fee for the academic year 2022-2023 is €500. The membership fee must be paid immediately after receiving the letter of acceptance from the Graduate School FRT VU and every subsequent year during which a PhD candidate is a member until their manuscript has been formally approved by the Doctorate Committee. PhD candidates must pay the fee every year before 1st September. The fee is applicable to both EU and non-EU residents.

    PhD candidates who enter our programme in February (winter cohort) get 50% off for their first year of membership (€250). Fees for the Graduate School FRT VU and all other costs are non-refundable. If a PhD candidate should decide to discontinue their PhD trajectory, or the Graduate School FRT VU decides to terminate their membership, they will not be refunded any fees paid thus far. However, a partial refund of the annual fee is possible if the manuscript is submitted before February 1st and has been approved by the Doctorate Committee.

    If the yearly fee has not been paid, the Graduate School FRT VU will be forced to freeze the PhD candidate’s membership. This means that this person cannot make use of supervision from the supervision team. This also means that the PhD research cannot be completed because the Hora Finita account will be blocked.

  • VUnet-ID

    Optional for external PhD candidates and in some cases PhD candidates from partner institutions.

    A VUnet-ID is a digital identity (username and password combination) with which PhD candidates get access to various IT services and systems. A VUnet-ID is not mandatory. In 2023, a VUnet-ID costs €902 annually and includes the following services:

    • VU e-mail address
    • Microsoft (Teams) account, including 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 borrow books from the library
    • Visa (a VUnet-ID is required for applying for a visa)

    Employees, students and guests with a hospitality agreement, and in some cases, PhD candidates who are affiliated to one of our partner institutions, get a VUnet-ID for free. External PhD candidates do not normally need a VUnet-ID, especially if they have sufficient access to an academic library in their own vicinity. Furthermore, online courses offered by the Graduate School can be accessed without a VUnet-ID. To be able to obtain a visa via VU, a VUnet-ID is always required.

  • Visa

    When applicable, these costs must be met by external PhD candidates (buitenpromovendi), and PhD candidates from partner institutions. Employed PhD candidates and FRT employees also working on a PhD must contact the faculty for individual arrangements.

    The PhD trajectory at the Graduate School FRT VU can be completed entirely from abroad. However, we encourage our PhD candidates to visit the Netherlands at least once. When PhD candidates are planning on coming to the Netherlands for more than 90 days, they will need a visa. The Graduate School FRT VU and the VU immigration office can provide more information about the procedure, costs and formalities.

  • Costs for following the education programme

    These costs must be paid by the PhD candidate. For employee PhD candidates, individual arrangements may apply. Please always check in advance whether a fee is charged for courses.

    Each PhD candidate is required to complete at least 30 ECTS during their PhD trajectory. This can be done by following courses offered by VU, courses offered by other institutions, workshops and other activities. How PhD candidates meet the 30 ECTS requirement is laid down in their Training and Supervision Plan. All courses offered by the Faculty of Religion and Theology are free of charge for members of the Graduate School FRT VU, as are many of the courses offered at the VU PhD-portal. However, for some courses and activities, additional costs may apply.

  • PhD emergency fund and other funding opportunities

    PhD emergency fund

    To meet some of the financial needs of PhD candidates, the Graduate School FRT VU has set up a PhD emergency fund. In exceptional cases, PhD candidates can apply for a (partial) compensation of the costs of the annual fee, VUnet-ID or other direct costs related to their PhD trajectory. PhD candidates must justify why they need financial aid (motivation letter), and accompany their application with a cost estimate and support statement from at least two of their PhD supervisors. Decisions whether financial aid can be granted are made by the Graduate School FRT VU in consultation with the Dean of Research. PhD candidates can apply for financial support no more than twice during their PhD trajectory.

    Other funding opportunities

    On this website you can find more funding opportunities for PhD candidates. 

  • Overview costs per PhD type

    Employed PhD (AiO)FRT employee doing a PhDExternal PhD and Scholarship PhDPartner PhD
    Membership fee€500 per yearN/AN/AXDepending on partner arrangements


    €902 per yearN/AN/AXDepending on partner arrangements
    VisaMin €550 per applicationDepending on arrangements with VUXXX
    Travel and accommodationVariesDepending on arrangements with VUXXX
    Costs of following the training programmeVariesDepending on arrangements with VUXXX