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Application and admission

At Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam we have two types of PhD students: internal and external. Internal PhD students are paid employees of the university and enter into an employment contract with VU Amsterdam.  External PhD students do their PhD at VU with foreign funding or a scholarship, or are self-funded professionals or students.

Apllication and admission

Internal PhD candidates are paid employees of VU Amsterdam and they can apply through our PhD vacancies.
The application procedure is followed by the PhD registration in Hora Finita.

External PhD candidates External PhD candidates can apply for a PhD trajectory that they fund through external means. This is usually done by contacting a faculty, Graduate School or Research Institute directly. Within the Research Portal it is possible to search for a suitable supervisor for a PhD trajectory.
If you are seeking to undertake a PhD at VU Amsterdam with a foreign funding or scholarship scheme, or you are a self funded professional or student go to the form Apply for a PhD.

In order to apply for a PhD program at VU Amsterdam you will need the following documents:

  • Master degree certificate or equivalent qualification
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Preliminary research proposal (up to 800 words to indicate fields of interest)
  • Copy of ID
  • Language requirements/Scores from TOEFL and GRE tests (if applicable)

Please note that each faculty reserves the right for other and additional documentation certificates. You might be asked for this documentation during the application procedure online by the respective faculty/graduate school. Faculties/graduate schools might also impose different regulations and requirements for admission. They will verify whether your application is up to these regulations and requirements in order to proceed to admission.
The application is therefore not a guarantee of acceptance and admission.

Check out the guideline for the appointment policy PhD candidates.

Find a supervisor

One of the most essential parts of the application process for the PhD trajectory at VU Amsterdam is finding a supervisor. We have a Research Portal which should guide you and help you look for a potential supervisor. You can indicate this person’s name during your application via application form, however we cannot guarantee a positive outcome. Supervisors have to consider your research proposal and whether it fits in their research agenda before making a definitive decision to guide you through your PhD process. If the supervisor you have indicated refuses to supervise you we mediate in matching with another relevant and available professor.

Tuition fees

At VU Amsterdam PhD candidates pay tuition fees on a yearly basis. The fees are paid directly to the faculty or graduate school. Each faculty/graduate school defines their own tuition fees based on the training provision, supervision time and access to facilities, space and internet. However, faculties offer exemptions and tuition fee waivers under certain conditions. You can inquire in more detail about this once you have received an offer letter confirming that your application has been successful.

(Tuition) Fees relation to PhD trajectories

Fees are sometimes levied to help cover costs related to the PhD trajectory, for example for workplaces, research facilities, administration, training and tuition.

More information on conditions and the level of these fees, as well as the possibility of waivers, can be found via the faculties and graduate schools:

ABRI Graduate School of Business Research  --> PhD policy and facilities --> Tuition fees external and part-time PhD candidates


Tinbergen Institute  --> PhD policy and facilities --> Tuition fees external and part-time PhD candidates


ACTA Graduate School of Dentistry

Informatie volgt / information to follow


Amsterdam UMC Doctoral School

Informatie volgt / information to follow


Graduate School of Behavioral & Movement SciencesInformatie volgt / information to follow
Graduate School of Humanities

Informatie volgt / information to follow


Graduate School Rechtsgeleerdheid


Graduate School of Social Sciences  --> Starting your PhD Trajectory --> Tuition fee and costs to conduct PhD research


Graduate School of Religion and Theology


Faculty of Science

Informatie volgt / information to follow