Categories of PhD candidates

A PhD position in the Netherlands is considered employment for most PhD candidates. This means you have associated rights and duties, according to the type of employment contract you have. However, other types of PhD candidates exist as well. Candidates are divided into 4 categories, as defined by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU). We describe them below.

The information on our website applies to all GSLS PhD candidates, irrespective of the category to which they belong.

It is important to know to which category you belong. Please check with your supervisors about your employee status, if you are unsure. PhD candidates with the status of an employee have the rights and duties as defined in the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) of their institution. As an employee, you will have an annual assessment interview and often an obligation to teach. PhD candidates without the employee status are not obliged to teach and do not have an annual assessment interview. However, all PhD candidates have an annual PhD progress meeting.

VSNU categories of PhD candidates