Types of PhD positions

At Utrecht University, there are different ways to do a PhD: as an employee of the university or UMC Utrecht, or without being employed by the university or UMC Utrecht. The same entry requirements and dissertation quality requirements apply to all doctoral students.

Obtaining a PhD position as an employee

As an employee at the university or UMC Utrecht, in many cases you work on an established project within a larger research project. In some cases, your work is based on a research proposal submitted by yourself through, for example, NWO.

You can apply for one of our vacancies, or contact the Graduate School to inquire about other opportunities.

The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities applies to employed doctoral students.

See vacancies

Obtaining a PhD position without being employed by Utrecht University

In addition to pursuing a PhD as an employee of the university or UMC Utrecht, there are other opportunities to work on a PhD.

A PhD on a scholarship

A PhD on a scholarship does not have an employment contract with a university, but receives funding for doctoral research from an external scholarship provider. In addition to the requirements that a scholarship program places on applicants, it is also a prerequisite that you are admitted to the PhD program at Utrecht University. This means that you must meet the entrance requirements, and that you have a prospective supervisor. The Graduate School can advise you on this.

Externally funded PhD

Externally funded PhDs may conduct their doctoral research in the time of their own employer (e.g., a government or research institute). They are often released from part of their appointment for the research. So the salary is paid by their own employer, but the PhD research is supervised by a supervisor from Utrecht University or UMC Utrecht. Ask your own employer about the possibilities. The Graduate School can advise you on finding a prospective supervisor.

A PhD as an external PhD candidate

External PhD candidates do not receive funding for their PhD research in the form of a salary or grant, but do their PhD in their own time based on their own resources. As an external PhD candidate, you are supervised by a supervisor from Utrecht University. Often, research is done part-time and there is no permanent workplace at the university, so as an outside PhD candidate you are at a slightly greater distance from the university. This demands a great deal of independence from the PhD candidate. However, the same requirements are placed on the quality of supervision and the dissertation as in the other types of doctoral programs.

Due to its part-time nature, the track of an external PhD candidate is often planned over a longer period of time than the other tracks. The intensity of supervision is adjusted accordingly. For this reason, however, it is very important to make agreements with your prospective supervisor about progress. As with the other types of tracks, after about a quarter of the PhD track an evaluation interview is held to determine whether the research is of such quality that it can lead to a PhD, the so-called go/no-go interview.

Are you interested in a PhD as an external PhD candidate? The Graduate School can help you find a prospective supervisor.