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Bridging & pre-doctoral programmes

VU Amsterdam offers several pre-doctoral programmes and a bridging programme to all new, first year PhD candidates to ease their transition into the PhD trajectory


Are you an incoming PhD student at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and would you like to better prepare yourself? Then the Bridging Programme is for you!

The Bridging Programme (BP) is an intensive three-week course organised by VU Amsterdam International Office to strengthen the research, academic writing and soft skills of PhD students in the early stages of their PhD trajectory. Lecturers from the Faculty of Humanities, the VU Library and the Centre for International Cooperation (CIS) will train you on how to manage your research data, improve the quality and structure of your research proposal,  write a coherent academic English text  about your research as well as present your research to varied audiences.

The Bridging Programme awards 6 ECTS and consists of 4 modules:

  • M1: Open Science and Research Data Management, Literature management
  • M2: Academic Competencies
  • M3: Academic English Writing
  • M4: Soft Skills

An orientation session is organised prior to the beginning of the programme to offer the students an opportunity to familiarise themselves with each other and the CANVAS learning environment as well as learn from the experiences of the BP alumni.

In 2023, the Bridging Programme will be held in person (F2F) at VU Amsterdam. Students from different VU faculties will be enlisted based on “first applied, first served” principle. Due to the limited availability of seats, early registration is strongly recommended to ensure your participation.

Please fill out the online Registration Form by Tuesday 13 December.

  • When:                16 January - 3 February 2023
  • Where:               Face-to-Face at VU campus
  • Who:                   New/incoming PhD students
  • Credits:              6 ECTS (certificate issued after the programme)
  • Fee:                     750 euros (payment instructions will be sent by email to students selected)

Want to know more? Then check the syllabus.

For information contact the BP coordinator: (Cc


Doing a PhD can be a challenging endeavour. The challenge is even greater when the PhD is done in a foreign country with a different culture and academic system. To overcome this challenge and support international PhD students, three top Dutch universities, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Leiden University and University of Groningen, have jointly developed a preparatory doctoral training. The ambition is to support incoming and future  international PhD students with a better preparation for their PhD trajectories at a Dutch university.  

The pre-doctoral training has been customised to meet the specific needs of Doctoral-level students from China and Indonesia. The programme is open to all first-year PhD students who have been selected for a doctorate programme in the Netherlands and to prospective PhD students who intend to do a PhD in the Netherlands in the near future.  

With this intensive programme,  the three partner universities aim to prepare PhD students for the start of their PhD trajectories in the Netherlands, by equipping them with the skills necessary to manage the PhD research challenges most students commonly encounter. The programme consists of four modules:  

1. Academic Writing - Development of advanced writing and academic English skills;   

2. Academic Competences - Development of innovative research skills; 

3. Soft Skills Training - Communicating and presenting research for maximum outreach; 

4. Dutch Crash Course - Social and cultural exploration of the Dutch culture and language. 

With its practical insights on ‘life in the Netherlands’, the Dutch culture and the Dutch academic system, the programme informs your expectation for the time ahead of you and makes the move and transition to the Netherlands easier and faster. 

The programme entails 84 study hours and is the equivalent of 3 ECTS.  

The pre-doctoral trainings are usually delivered on location  in China (Beijing) and Indonesia (Jakarta) prior to the arrival of the (prospective) PhD students in the Netherlands. In 2023, due to COVID restrictions, Pre-doc China will be offered online. Pre-doc Indonesia, however, will be face-to-face and hosted at Erasmus Training Centre in Jakarta:

For more information on the pre-doctoral programme please contact: 

Sabina Di Prima:  
VU International Office – Centre for International Cooperation (CIS-VU)