Sorry! De informatie die je zoekt, is enkel beschikbaar in het Engels.
This programme is saved in My Study Choice.
Something went wrong with processing the request.
Something went wrong with processing the request.

PhD survey 2023

What do VU PhD candidates think of their PhD trajectory, and where is room for improvement? Every two years, VU asks its PhD candidates about their experiences in the VU PhD Survey. In 2023, VU PhD candidates were once again invited to share their views on their PhD trajectory; consider topics such as well-being, supervision and training, work environment, and career prospects.

Of the PhD candidates invited to participate, 22% completed the survey, with a distribution across faculties in line with the VU population of PhD candidates.

When asked about their well-being, about half indicated that they rated it as good, with one-third of respondents describing the impact of their PhD trajectory on their well-being as (fairly) negative. Half of the respondents describe their workload as (too) high. The responses to questions about the support available within the VU for PhD candidates show that these structures are not findable for everyone.

The differences in how onboarding processes are perceived are striking: only 39% are satisfied with the onboarding they received. Questions about the research environment show that employed PhD candidates are more satisfied with access to research faculty. Half of the PhD candidates feel part of their department, institute or research group.

Of those surveyed, about two-thirds say they are satisfied with the supervison they generally receive; 86% feel their supervisor allows them to take ownership of their research project. A majority of respondents believe that the offer of educational activities contributes to the completion of their PhD trajectory. At the same time, 35% indicate that their training and supervision plan (TSP) does not contribute to the smooth progression of their trajectory. Covid-19, problems with data collection, too high ambitions, inadequate supervision, unrealistic expectations, and mental health problems are cited as major reasons for delays in the PhD trajectory (46% report being behind schedule).

Curious about the results the VU PhD survey 2023? Read Ruigrok NetPanel's report here.

The otcomes of the VU PhD survey 2023 will help us give direction to the further (structural) improvement of supervision, training, working environment and well-being of all PhD candidates. Together with the faculties and graduate schools (assembled in the Network of Graduate Schools), we set priorities for policy development and interventions partly on the basis of the VU PhD survey 2023. In 2024, for example, we will continue to make information about all aspects of the PhD trajectory more findable and accessible on the VU website, look at how onboarding can be improved, and focus on clarifying mutual expectations for entering into, progressing through and completing a PhD project.

VU PhD survey 2021

You can look back at the results of the VU PhD survey 2021 by viewing the report here. Partly based on these results, community building for international scholarship PhD candidates has been further developed, we are exploring possibilities to (better) use the monitoring module in Hora Finita, and we are working on improving and making information more accessible to PhD candidates. Also, starting in 2023, all faculties are required to appoint one (or more) PhD candidate advisor(s) who can provide advice and act as a sounding board for PhD candidates.

National PhD survey

Some of the questions from the VU PhD survey 2023 correspond to questions that other universities have also asked their PhD candidates. Thus, the experiences of PhD candidates can be compared on a national level. See Results of national PhD survey 2021.

Privacy and data processing

The data collected in the VU PhD survey 2023 were treated with great care and confidentiality. To conduct and analyze the survey, VU used the services of RuigrokNetpanel. Detailed information on how respondents' data was handled can be found in Privacy Statement and in this FAQ document.