Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Education PhD programmes Prospective PhD Candidates How to obtain a PhD position

How to obtain a PhD position

The Dutch PhD system

The Dutch PhD system is held in high international regard, and a PhD programme in the Netherlands takes three or four years. During this time you conduct your own research, and a Graduate School provides a balanced mix of expert supervision and tailor-made postgraduate training, whilst giving you the freedom to pursue your own ideas within the scope of a specific research theme.

Independent research is the main focus of your PhD programme, and you are supervised in this by at least two experts on your research subject. Many international PhD candidates come to Groningen for a short stay, and you too may choose to carry out part of your research abroad. You write up the results of your research in your PhD thesis, which almost always comprises a number of papers that have been or will be published in scientific journals. After a successful defence, you will be awarded an internationally recognized PhD degree by an esteemed university.

Alongside your research and thesis, you have the opportunity to follow a PhD training programme based upon your needs and interests as well as the requirements of your Graduate School. The training programme usually amounts to 30 ECTS credit points (1 ECTS credit point is the equivalent of 28 hours of study) earned over a period of four years, and is a mix of courses on the general skills required to work in the worlds of science and industry and in-depth courses on your research subject. There are several courses you can take in order to complete the training programme, but you can also earn ECTS by attending conferences or research seminars or by participating in other activities. You create your training programme together with your supervisors and the Graduate School.

In addition to the full-time programmes, other variants are possible, such as combining PhD training with work outside the university.

General requirements for obtaining a PhD position

To be eligible for a PhD programme you must meet the following general requirements:

  1. Possession of a Master’s degree or equivalent in a discipline that is directly or closely related to the discipline in which the PhD research will take place. The degree must have been gained within a reasonable period of time and with marks that justify the expectation that you will be able to complete the PhD programme.
  2. Sufficient knowledge of English: a TOEFL score of at least 580-600 (paper), 237- 250 (computer) or 92-100 (internet), or a minimum score of 6.5 to 7.0 in IELTS (International English Language Testing System; overall; 6.5. for each section). Native speakers of English, and Dutch applicants with a VWO certificate, are exempt from this requirement.

Grant Finder

If you would like to see what grant possibilities may be available to you to come study in Groningen, please try out the UG Grant Finder tool.

Last modified:24 July 2019 11.59 a.m.
View this page in: Nederlands