Information for PhD candidates

The information on these pages is intended for PhD candidates already enrolled into a PhD programme of the Graduate School of Natural Sciences. Go to information for future PhD candidates if you are looking for PhD opportunities.

PhD programmes in research institutes

All our research institutes have a separate PhD programme.

Rules and Regulations

Once you have obtained a research position within the Graduate School of Natural Sciences, you will come to a formal, written agreement with your PhD Supervisor (promotor) and (if applicable) your daily Supervisor (co-promotor) about how the next 4 years are to be spent. This Training and Supervision Agreement (TSA) must be approved by the Programme director. Rules and regulations are stipulated in the Utrecht University Doctoral Degree Regulations (UU-DDR).

Read more about other regulations of the Utrecht University PhD programmes on the PhD site under practical matters. There you find a time schedule of the PhD track, details on the defense ceremony, and the necessary forms.

Training and supervision

To obtain the doctorate degree, all doctorate candidates have to fulfill the requirements laid down in the course programme of the research school in which they are registered. These requirements include a training programme for general skills of at least 4 EC. Offerings of general skills training can be found below. (National) research schools have their own training programme. An overview of the requirements per research school can be found here.

All regular PhD students get supervision from a daily supervisor and a promoter. Minimum required supervision hours are laid down in the Training and Supervision Agreement (TSA) of the graduate school.


Every doctorate candidate gets a mentor appointed. The mentor is a (assistant or associate) professor from your research department, who independently from your supervisors and unjudgementally, monitors your progress in the PhD track. The mentor is also available if you run into the sort of trouble with your supervisors, that you cannot solve by yourself. In the event that no mentor is available, please contact dr. Egbert Mulder (, policymaker for the PhD, who can act as confidant.

Course offerings

Training in general skills can be found inside and outside the campus. General skills include academic writing and presenting, but also project management, personal management for the PhD-track etc.

Overview of the courses

If you are interested in participating in one of these courses, please get in touch with the contact person mentioned for the course. Reimbursement of the cost must be arranged with your employer.


As a PhD student you can participate in the management affairs of the graduate school. There is a PhD-council in every research institute en also one for the graduate school as a whole. If you are interested in participating please contact the GSNS PhD-council via email:

Documents for the PhD programmes

Template Training and Supervision Agreement (TSA)
Utrecht University Doctoral Degree Regulations (UU-DDR)
Educational Regulations (opleidingsreglement) of the Graduate School of Natural Sciences
Regulation for obtaining a joint doctorate degree
Requirements per research school
GPA-conversion table