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Entry requirements for the PhD programme

Selection criteria for prospective PhD students

Dear applicant,

We are delighted that you are interested in PhD research at the Graduate School of Spatial Sciences of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences of the University of Groningen. We are willing to support you in acquiring a scholarship. This support will, however, have a few conditions that are important to us and essential to making future cooperation between you and our Faculty successful.

- Your research interest must dovetail with the research programme of the Faculty: tWIST

- Aside from your research, we expect you to be willing to devote some of your time to our teaching programme as well, supporting us in individual student assignments such as supervising Bachelor’s and Master’s theses. This way you will support the Faculty. In addition, critically assessing other people’s work will support your own development.

- We expect you not just to be intellectually strong; we believe it to be of utmost importance that you have the intention and the desire to become actively involved in Faculty activities and expect you to be willing to interact with your colleagues, intellectually and socially. In other words, your presence should be intellectually inspiring and socially appreciated.

- A Skype interview forms part of the process. We will discuss your ambitions, your academic background, your proposal and your proficiency in English.

- Proof of your academic writing skills in English (scores IELTS or TOEFL test).

To be accepted as a PhD student at our Graduate School, we first need a worked-out research proposal. The research proposal is therefore a very important step. Your proposal should include a title, a research question and an abstract. Obviously the proposal must relate to our research programme tWIST, the core focus of our Faculty.

In addition, we require copies of your degree certificates, a CV, recommendation letters, proof of your proficiency in English, a copy of your passport and proof of funding (after you are awarded a scholarship or funding of course). Once we have all this material, and we both agree on the research proposal, the Graduate School of Spatial Sciences will admit you (on condition that you are awarded a scholarship/funding).

After you have been awarded a scholarship, accommodation and related matters will be organized by our University, on condition that you have been admitted to the Graduate School.

It is very important to understand that after a year of working with us as a PhD student your work will be evaluated. In the event of poor performance and a low chance of a successful defence of your PhD thesis, the Graduate School will terminate your membership. Please be aware of this!

We look forward to hearing from you about the next steps in the process.

All applicants for PhD projects who wish to join the Graduate School of Spatial Sciences of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences of the University of Groningen should consult the following checklist. Only applications which are complete will be taken into consideration by the Graduate School. It is the responsibility of the applicant to acquire funding/a scholarship.




Copy of ID

Copy of a valid ID card or passport.


Legalized copies of Bachelor’s and Master’s certificates and transcripts

The Faculty needs legalized copies of your university degree certificates and transcripts of records.


Curriculum Vitae

A CV: information about your background, education, work experience, etc.


Research proposal - please follow this format

Describing the content of the research project you are applying for, including the background of the study, research questions, preliminary methods selection, and a time schedule.


Motivational letter

Letter explaining why you are applying for a position in Groningen/at FRW, and why you chose the topic of the research proposal. Experience with living and working abroad?


Letter of recommendation

Letter of recommendation written by a senior researcher/ professor from the country of origin (or from last workplace/ university).


Scholarship award letter

We would like to receive a copy of your scholarship award letter as soon as you receive it. This is the ONLY document that may be sent at a later stage.


IELTS or TOEFL test report

Copy of the test results of the IELTS or TOEFL test (English language test).

IELTS test requirements are: a minimum score of 7.0 overall, 6.5 on parts.

TOEFL test are: an overall score should be 94-95 in case of TOEFL Internet-based score, and 587 TOEFL paper-based score. A minimum score of 79-80 or 550 is required on the parts.

Native speakers of the English language, as well as Dutch candidates with a VWO certificate are exempt from this requirement.


Brief report of Skype/telephone conversation

You should have had at least one Skype or telephone conversation with your future supervisor at FRW (to be contacted by you). This will be checked with the supervisor.


The proposal will only be reviewed once all documents have been received. Please send them in ONE mail to Alida Meerburg ( ). Please only send your application to Alida Meerburg. Sending it to other people at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences is not necessary.
Laatst gewijzigd:22 maart 2017 11:14