About PhD programmes

A PhD programme takes on average 3 to 4 years to complete. During this time, candidates undertake a research project which culminates in the writing of a thesis or a series of articles in scientific journals. The candidates work under the supervision of a professor.

Available positions are listed in our PhD vacancies. Apart from applying for one of the available PhD positions, students and professionals with graduate degrees may also submit PhD research proposals of their own.

A PhD candidate performing an experiment
A PhD candidate performing an experiment


At Utrecht University, earning a PhD degree is a hands-on process that involves relatively little coursework. You will conduct research from day one, which allows you to develop your own ideas within the research group’s theme. You will remain in close contact with your supervisors throughout the programme.

Intellectually demanding

Doing a PhD at Utrecht University is a challenging undertaking. In order to succeed, you will need to be highly committed and motivated. PhD candidates make crucial contributions to research undertaken at Utrecht University. PhD projects must represent original work: candidates make original contributions to the body of knowledge in their fields and prepare theses based on their research.

Onderwijs bij Bètawetenschappen. Foto van Ed van Rijswijk.
Education at Beta Science

Courses and teaching

In addition to performing research, PhD candidates take courses at Graduate Schools and often must provide teaching themselves. Additionally, PhD candidates can take courses at Educational Consultancy & Professional Development (Dutch website).


You do not normally need to be able to speak or understand Dutch: almost all of our academic staff are proficient in English.