Research environment

Utrecht University is a world-class university engaged in fundamental and applied research across a broad range of disciplines, from infectious diseases and human rights to climate research and cultural history.

PhD student doing research at the research facility at the Botanic Gardens.
PhD student doing research at the research facility at the Botanic Gardens.

Each year, approximately 550 new PhD candidates begin their research, and this group is very international. Utrecht University is a home to staff and students from 130 different countries. Among the international staff, English is the common colloquial language.

Excellent research environment

Utrecht University offers PhD candidates an attractive research environment. The quality of our research is reflected in high ratings in research assessments and international rankings. It is no wonder that Utrecht University boasts so many researchers who rank among the best in their specific fields of expertise. They will provide inspiring supervisors.


The PhD and graduate research programmes at Utrecht University are organised within seven Graduate Schools. Furthermore, the research at Utrecht University is focused around four strategic research themes and twelve focus areas.

Within these themes and focus areas, researchers collaborate with research organisations, industry and societal organisations.

Its selection of research themes and integrated approaches enable the university to develop solutions for contemporary social issues such as climate change, health, social cohesion and sustainability.

Share your ideas

Collaboration between PhD candidates conducting research at the interface of the various disciplines creates an atmosphere that is conducive to breakthroughs in knowledge. Utrecht University encourages this stimulating, multi-disciplinary approach to the sharing of ideas, methods and techniques.

Research groups and PhD candidates meet regularly to present their most recent work and exchange ideas. As a Utrecht PhD candidate, you will be able to draw on a wide range of concepts, techniques, contacts, viewpoints and practical tools.