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About us Profile Internationalization Global Focus Latin America PhDs in the University of Groningen

Sandwich PhD

What is a Sandwich PhD?

A Sandwich PhD is a type of doctoral program that involves conducting research at two different institutions or locations and under the co-supervision of researchers at both of the institutions. Typically, the student spends the first part of the program at their home institution, and then they spend a period of time (usually between 6-24 months) at a different institution or location, where they conduct research in collaboration with a supervisor or research group.

The Sandwich PhD programs provide opportunities for students to gain international experience and exposure to different research environments, as well as to develop an international network of contacts in their field. It can also be a way to access specialized equipment or expertise that may not be available at the home institution.

At the University of Groningen (UG), we foster three main types of Sandwich PhDs: single degree, double degree, and joint degree. The requisite is that the trajectory is co-supervised by a researcher at the University of Groningen or University Medical Center Groningen, and by a reseacher at a partner university. The main differences between the three types are that:

  • With a single-degree trajectory, the student will conduct research at a partner university as a guest. Only one diploma will be conferred with the Groningen seal.
  • With a double-degree PhD the student will receive a degree from the UG and a partner institution with two (different) diplomas. Most times, one single thesis will be produced but sometimes it must be defended at the two institutions separately.
  • A joint-degree program will grant the student one degree in the name of the two universities, given that the trajectory to obtaining it has been systematically agreed upon by the two institutions.

UG Sandwich PhDs in Latin America

Currently, in Latin America, the UG is focused on Sandwich PhDs with our strategic partners:

  • Colombia: Double-Degree PhDs with Universidad de Antioquia.
  • Chile: Double-Degree PhDs and the Joint Doctoral Program in Biomedical Sciences with Universidad de Chile.
  • Mexico: Double-Degree PhDs with Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
  • Brazil: Double Degree PhDs with Universidade de Sao Paulo.

In all cases, students who bring funding from their home institution will be eligible for our top-up policy.

How to apply?

Generally, a Sandwich PhD setup will require admission to both the UG Graduate School and a doctoral program within the partner institution. Application procedures vary depending on the Partner and the GS in Groningen. Thus, all candidates should be in touch with the UG Office in Mexico to define an adequate procedure for their specific case. However, most trajectories will follow these steps:

  1. The candidate will confirm eligibility with their home institution and at the UG.
  2. The candidate will locate a possible supervisor, if not done so already.
  3. The student will apply for admission at the host institution.
  4. Students will follow all additional requirements, as set by both institutions, to enroll and travel to the host institution.

Application package

For admission to the GSs, we have designed an application package for eah strategic partner that will work in most cases. Students will have to provide:

UdeA Colombia
UCH Chile
UNAM Mexico
USP Brazil
Sandwich PhD application form
Sandwich PhD application form
Reserach Proposal
Research proposal
Research proposal
Research proposal
Support letter by the Partner and UG main supervisors
Support letter by the Partner and UG main supervisors
Support letter by the Partner and UG main supervisors
CV in English
Proof of English proficiency (if applicable - exemptions possible)
Copy of diploma (highest degree)

For questions regarding the application package, you can contact the UG Representative in Mexico.

When to apply?

Enrollment and acceptance in the UG is rolling, meaning there are no strict deadlines or a delimited application period. However, home institutions may define specific times to nominate candidates. Students are responsible to consult this with the relevant personnel at their home institutions.

Nevertheless, the setup and beginning of a Sandwich PhD may take more than a year. The following time table shows the approximate time periods to take into consideration. Note: This may vary in a case-by-case scenario depending on both the candidate and their home institution.

Month 1
Matchmaking and interview with supervisors
Month 2
compilation of Application Package
Month 3
File revision at host university, grant of acceptance, authorization by home university
Individual agreement
Month 4
Visa application
Month 5
Month 6

Undergraduate or master's student

The UG also calls upon prospective PhD students (e.g. undergraduate or master student/recent graduate) who are not yet enrolled in any PhD program to consider the DD program. The design of a Sandwich PhD before admission, with the aid of the two co-supervisors, might enhance the separate admission procedures at the UG and the Partner institution, and will also allow the universities to be aware of your trajectory and collaboration efforts from the beginning.

The Representation supports (short) research internships for prospective DD PhD students that allow candidates to become acquainted with the research (and social) environment at the other institution and work on a fully integrated PhD proposal. Contact the Representatives for more information on opportunities, including possible scholarships.

Last modified:21 September 2023 10.40 a.m.