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How To Apply

How to apply

Below, you can find information about the application requirements and procedure at the Graduate School FRT VU. Please note that the information here corresponds to the step-by-step overview on this webpage.

How to apply to the Graduate School FRT VU

  • Admission Requirements

    To be admitted to our PhD programme, applicants must meet the following requirements:

    1. Applicants must be in possession of a Master’s degree, or have successfully obtained an equivalent qualification at an institute of higher education (see Doctorate Regulations, Article 8). A Master of Divinity (MDiv) or Master of Theology (MTh) does not suffice as qualification to enter the PhD trajectory. Only when an applicant with MDiv or MTh can demonstrate that the completed programme had a substantial research component and/or Master’s thesis, can the Graduate School FRT VU consider acceptance to the programme. This decision is entirely reserved for the Graduate School FRT VU.
    2. Applicants must have sufficient proficiency in written and spoken English. This will be determined on the basis of an English test that is accepted by VU. The proficiency requirement can be met by the successful completion of one of the following examinations: IELTS: 6.5; TOEFL (paper based test: 580; computer based test: 237; internet based test: 92-93; Cambridge Advanced English: A, B or C. Exemption from the examination is granted to candidates who:
      • within two years after acceptance to the Graduate School FRT VU have met the requirements of VU test in English language proficiency TOEFL ITP, with at least the scores specified above. Two years after acceptance to the Graduate School FRT VU, the English requirement will be checked by the Graduate School FRT VU through Hora Finita.
      • have had previous education in secondary or tertiary education in an English-speaking country (Canada, USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand).
      • have an English-language ‘international baccalaureate’ diploma.
      • have a diploma from a Bachelor or Master’s degree programme which has been accredited by the NVAO in the Netherlands.
    3. Applicants must be(come) member of one of the FRT research teams and must have at least two supervisors. One of these supervisors must be qualified to supervise PhD candidates (ius promovendi) and must be employed by FRT VU.
    4. Applicants are not in possession of a Doctorate or an equivalent qualification. Applicants who already have a Doctorate, can only be accepted to the Graduate School FRT VU when they intend to pursue a PhD based on a dissertation devoted to research in an academic domain other than that of their initial PhD.

    If an applicant meets the requirements listed above, this does not automatically mean that they will be accepted to the Graduate School. The office of the Graduate School bases its decision of acceptance to the PhD programme on the qualifications of the candidate and the recommendation of the research team. In this process, the following aspects will mainly be considered: academic standards of the institution where the Master’s degree was obtained, completed academic courses, academic writing skills, and English language proficiency.

  • Application procedure

    Below, you find an explanation of the application process. An overview can be found on ‘doing your PhD step-by-step'. The steps described on that page correspond to the process described here.

    STEP 1

    Search for a research team that specialises in your field of interest and that has places available for PhD candidates. Specialisations and members of the research teams can be found here, as well as the research agenda, research topics and (when applicable) the number of PhD candidates each research team takes on every year.

    STEP 2

    When you have identified a suitable research team for your research, you can officially apply to the Graduate School FRT VU. You can apply by sending all application documents listed below to the office of the Graduate School FRT VU (grad.school.frt@vu.nl).

    Application deadlines are 1 February for the summer cohort, and 1 September for the winter cohort.

    Application documents

    • Letter of application, indicating the applicant’s intention and motivation to follow a PhD trajectory at the Faculty of Religion and Theology at VU Amsterdam.
    • (Preliminary) Training and Supervision Plan (TSP)
    • Pre-proposal of the applicant’s intended PhD research (form).
    • Article, thesis or paper of choice to demonstrate academic writing skills.
    • Curriculum Vitae including academic work carried out.
    • Scan of Bachelor and Master’s diploma and transcript (when the diploma and/or transcript is not in English, Dutch, French or German, we require a certified translation of these documents).
    • Course descriptions of the Master’s courses that have been completed containing a research component (short summaries).
    • Score of English language test (when applicable). Please consult the component ‘admission requirements’ above for more information, including exemptions.
    • A copy of an identity document that is legally valid in the Netherlands (such as a passport). We do not accept a driver’s license or residence permit.

    Please make sure to include all these documents in your application. If there is a document missing, we cannot process your application.

    STEP 3-4

    The Graduate School FRT VU will assess all applications that are submitted before the deadline based on the admission requirements. Eligible applications are forwarded to the research team of choice of the applicant. Research teams then will discuss the new applications and, based on their research agenda, recommend the Graduate School FRT VU on who to admit to the PhD program. Research teams inform the Graduate School FRT VU which members of the research teams are assigned to which PhD candidates.

    STEP 5-7

    The Graduate School informs all applicants about the results of the assessment round of step 3 and 4. Those applicants that were positively recommended by the research teams will receive contact details of their assigned supervisor(s). Together with their assigned supervisor(s), the applicant adjusts, fills in and signs the preliminary TSP (which was one of the application documents). This TSP is sent to the Graduate School FRT VU.

    The Graduate School FRT VU assesses the TSP and does a final check if all application documents are in order. When everything is in order, the Graduate School FRT VU sends the official letter of acceptance, signed TSP and other information documents. Furthermore, the accepted PhD candidate will be added to Hora Finita, the online PhD registration system, the Graduate School FRT VU Canvas page, and the FRT-PhD community portal.

    External PhD candidates must pay the fee for membership of the Graduate School FRT VU before the start of their PhD trajectory, thus before September 1st for the summer cohort and February  1st for the winter cohort. Membership to the Graduate School FRT VU will only be activated after payment of the fee. More information about fees and other costs can be found on this webpage

    STEPS 8-13

    The PhD candidate starts writing the official research proposal (by using the research proposal form), and following courses (as laid down in the TSP). On September 1st (summer cohort) or February 1st (winter cohort), the mandatory course Research Design course will start. The Research Design course is specially designed to help PhD candidates with writing their research proposal and PhD thesis. PhD candidates can subscribe to this course by using this link.

    After completion of the research design course and research proposal, the research proposal must be discussed during one of the research team gatherings. After elaborating on the feedback from the research team, the final research proposal must be submitted to the PhD Proposal Advisory Committee (PPAC) (within one year after admission to the Graduate School FRT VU). Based on the advice of the PPAC, the dean decides whether to officially accept the research proposal. Please note that if ethical clearance is required (when the research involves collection or presentation of information involving human subjects or sensitive information), this must be obtained before submitting the research proposal to the PPAC.

    When the research proposal has been accepted by the dean, the Graduate School FRT VU will start the official registration in Hora Finita. The PhD candidate can start/resume writing their dissertation and following the remaining courses that they planned in their TSP. PhD candidates get access to their personal dashboard in Hora Finita (click here for the manual). Here, they must upload the courses that they successfully completed in their portfolio.

    Within two years after acceptance to the Graduate School, the PhD candidate plans a go/no-go meeting with the supervisor(s). During this meeting, it is determined whether the PhD candidate has progressed satisfactorily, and whether the PhD trajectory can be continued. For this meeting, the PhD candidate must have completed the state of research and methodology section. Together with their supervisor, the PhD candidate fills in the go/no-go form and uploads this in Hora Finita.

  • Application documents

    Send your application to the Graduate School FRT VU (grad.school.frt@vu.nl) before the application deadline. Application deadlines are 1st September and 1st February. 

    Your application must include:

    • Letter of application, indicating the applicant’s intention and motivation to follow a PhD trajectory at the Faculty of Religion and Theology at VU Amsterdam.
    • (Preliminary) Training and Supervision Plan (TSP)
    • Pre-proposal of the applicant’s intended PhD research.
    • Article, thesis or paper of choice to demonstrate academic writing skills.
    • Curriculum Vitae including academic work carried out.
    • Scan of Bachelor and Master’s diploma and transcript (when the diploma and/or transcript is not in English, Dutch, French or German, we require a certified translation of these documents).
    • Course descriptions of the Master’s courses that have been completed containing a research component (short summaries).
    • Score of English language test (when applicable). Please consult the component ‘admission requirements’ above for more information, including exemptions.
    • A copy of an identity document that is legally valid in the Netherlands (such as a passport). We do not accept a driver’s licence or residence permit.