PhD at VU Amsterdam

At Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam), we provide three or four year research intensive PhD programs, or part time PhD programs with a duration above four years, organized in graduate schools of nine VU Amsterdam faculties. We expect our doctoral graduates to become internationally engaged scientists with transferable skills and opportunities to plan a career in or outside academia. We offer customized training and supervision with a strong emphasis on the development of research as well as professional skills such as the ability to work in teams and collaborate. In short, we wish to develop engaged and responsible academics and future professionals who constantly explore and push back the boundaries of existing knowledge. Our doctorates are internationally-oriented, multi and interdisciplinary, curiosity and results driven, creating an impact in science, society and economy.

At the VU we have two types of PhD candidates: internal and external.

Internal PhD candidates are paid employees of VU Amsterdam and enter into labor agreement with VU Amsterdam.

External PhDs candidates undertake a PhD at VU Amsterdam with a foreign funding or scholarship scheme, or are self funded professionals or students and can apply following the application procedure.

Earning a doctorate from VU Amsterdam often leads to a career as a scholar and researcher in universities, and non-universities (universities of applied sciences); non-profits and think tanks; consultancies and corporations.

About doctoral education

VU Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university hosting more than 23,000 students in an international, multicultural and vibrant city of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The high quality of research and education at VU Amsterdam can be demonstrated by its excellent performance in international rankings. Follow our youtube channel at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam International Student.

Reputation and ranking

Amsterdam, the best city to study

The VU Amsterdam PhD process is regulated by VU Amsterdam doctorate regulations. The document provides an explanation on the admission process, supervision, thesis submission, evaluation, thesis committee and defense. It also includes provisions related to double or joint degree arrangements. Please note that graduate schools and faculties reserve right for additional or complementary requirements and guidelines regarding the PhD process.

PhD admission process

Intellectual property rights

Code of conduct

As a part of pre doctoral training some faculties/graduate schools of the VU Amsterdam offer predoctoral or bridging programs. These programs are designed to prepare future PhD candidates by developing their research skills through intensive 2-6 week training and writing a comprehensive research proposal ready to be sent to a funding or scholarship agency. The program is suitable for candidates from diverse research backgrounds, but also to other professionals or internationals who wish to obtain preparatory skills for entrance to PhD programs at VU Amsterdam.

More information about the programs will be available soon. For more information and express of interest please contact: phd@vu.nl

At VU Amsterdam we are always happy to host PhD candidates from abroad. Our professors belong to wide networks of scientists and researchers and extensively stimulate the exchange of PhD candidates. For information about the your visit please visit respective faculty website. Individual agreements may be made on supervision, participation in courses and a workplace between the student and the department.

VU Amsterdam offers the possibility for double and joint PhD degree agreements, provided that partner institutions are of similar ranking status, research and educational quality. In all such cases, prior written approval must be obtained from the Rector and a formal agreement governing the arrangement must be drawn up and signed by the institutions concerned. We have readily available documents on VUNET that each partner institution needs to fill out.

Two types of doctorate fall into this category.

The double degree: one thesis prepared under the supervision of two universities, with two defences.

The joint degree: one thesis prepared under the supervision of two universities, with one defence.

If a supervisor and a prospective PhD student wish to embark on a double or joint PhD degree project with another university, the following rules must be observed:

  • A cooperation agreement must be in place with the partner university.
  • The PhD student must have a supervisor at each university.
  • A research project of mutual interest must be drafted.
  • The PhD student must complete a stay of at least six months at the partner university.
  • The PhD student must be enrolled at both universities and meet the same requirements as other PhD students.
  • The tuition fee is usually paid at the university where the PhD student has his or her primary affiliation.

Because of the major differences between institutions’ doctorate regulations, the agreements covering these arrangements almost always have to be compiled on an individual basis. However, there may be either a framework memorandum of understanding between institutions for the supervision of multiple PhD students or a so-called co-tutelle for supervision of one.

For information whether you meet the requirements and how to set up the agreement please contact: phd@vu.nl.