China Scholarship Council (CSC) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

VU Amsterdam is a truly international university, with a highly diverse population. At VU Amsterdam the Chinese community is the second largest and delivers important contributions to the university education and research. Furthermore, the Chinese community is involved in social activities, such as celebrating Chinese New year together with the university.

Memorandum of understanding

In 2011, Vrije Universiteit (VU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the China Scholarship Council (CSC). Vrije Universiteit and CSC collaborate to provide high quality research training to qualified students and postdoctoral fellows from Chinese universities. They prioritize support in the following areas of study: Environment, Medicine, Life- and Neuroscience, Biomedical Sciences and Public Health, Economics, Business, Law, International studies and Social Sciences.

Types of Scholarships offered by CSC

  • Full PhD students: selected Chinese students can enroll in doctoral (PhD) programmes of Vrije Universiteit provided that they complete the programme in no more than 48 months. If the selected Chinese students successfully complete the requirements of the programme and defend their dissertation, they will be conferred a PhD degree by Vrije Universiteit.
  • Sandwich/joint PhD students: selected Chinese students can complete part of their doctorate, ranging from 6 to 24 months at Vrije Universiteit. If the student’s home university and Vrije Universiteit agree, this can be constructed as a joint doctorate but this is not mandatory.
  • Postdoctoral fellows: selected Chinese postdoctoral fellows can be hosted in a postdoctoral programme for 3 to 12 months at Vrije Universiteit.

Scholarship amount

  • Exemption from registration fee, tuition fee, research fee and visa fee
  • Living allowance of € 1200 per month (including health insurance)
  • International airfare

The living allowances will be paid via CSC. Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange will book the tickets for the departure from Beijing, and the Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands will book the return tickets.


  • Candidates are citizens and permanent residents of the People’s Republic of China at the time of application.
  • Applicants for the doctoral degree program must have a Master’s degree and be under the age of 35.
  • The relevant academic entry requirements must be fulfilled, including a high level of English language proficiency and a Master degree.
  • Candidates must hold an acceptance letter (standard format) from Vrije Universiteit.
  • Candidates should satisfy the CSC selection criteria by completing the CSC Application Form and the CSC Employer Reference Form.
  • Successful candidates must return to China upon completion of their research.


In order to apply for a CSC scholarship you need a Letter of Acceptance of Vrije Universiteit. This letter is to be written by the professor who has agreed to supervise you during your PhD-research. There are many ways to get into contact with professors from VU, e.g. through mailing them directly or through a contact you might have in China. But the best way to get into touch is by meeting us at one the CSC workshops in November in Beijing or Shanghai. If you upload your CV and research proposal to the CSC database (do this before the workshop!) we will go through your files and check if we can find interested professors. During the workshop we can then further discuss your proposal. 

We invite you to visit the PhD Workshop China 2017, November 18-19 in Beijing and November 21 in Shanghai. If you want to know more about the PhD workshop please visit the website:

For the exact details of the application procedure including all deadlines, you should carefully check the CSC website.

Application Procedure

Activity Date
1. Find a PhD thesis supervisor at Vrije Universiteit. A good start for finding a supervisor is to visit the annual CSC workshops in November and upload your CV and research proposal beforehand in the CSC database.October/november
2. Obtain the Letter of Acceptance from Vrije Universiteit through the supervisor that you found.
Before 15 March 2018
3. Apply through the CSC websiteBefore 5 April 2018
4. Decision by CSCMay/June 2018
5. Arranging practical matters for preparing your stay at Vrije Universiteit 
June 2018
6. Starting your PhD trajectory
September 2018

PhD candidate Jie Du


Floor van de Wiel
T: +31 (0)20 59 83460 [Call: +31 (0)20 59 83460]

Why choose VU Amsterdam?