PhD Programme: Information and Computing Sciences

The nearly limitless availability of computing power has led to new approaches in science, great innovations in business and industry, and unprecedented ways of working with information in the public and private sphere. As information technology inspires and enables new ways to conduct almost any human activity, the development of more sophisticated ways of handling information is one of the great challenges of the 21st century.

In our focus area we aim, on the one hand, at supporting the development of virtual worlds. This allows professionals to train by using simulations based on breakthroughs in game and agent technology. On the other hand, our research is directed towards the structuring and manipulating of large sets of data. We study fundamental issues in algorithm and software development in order to allow users of information technology in science, business and culture to handle and exploit the enormous flood of data they are facing.

Mission statement en objectives van het PhD-programma ICS


Our PhD program is devoted to top-level research in information and computing sciences (ICS) for IT, as the cornerstone of modern science and the Information Society. We value our connections and cooperation’s with many excellent research institutes, universities, IT-companies and industries inside The Netherlands and abroad.


To perform excellent research in these areas of our mission based on the recruitment of excellent students and principal investigators and to educate the new generation of scientist.

International status

The research in the school is of the highest international standards as indicated by the regular publications in the highest ranking international journals and by the international recognition of the core scientists in the program. The considerable number of foreign students in our program underscores the international reputation of the program.

Programme Coordinator

Scientific director Utrecht Research Institute for Information and Computing Sciences:
Prof. dr. Judith Masthoff
Department of Information and Computing Sciences

After your Masters

The training program for PhD students (see below) consists of a number of coursers on academic skills, PhD courses, colloquia, and conference presentations. The PhD courses are typically organized by national research schools, but can also be implemented as relevant master program courses.

Conditions of Entry

For each PhD student in the PhD program a Training and Supervision Agreement must be submitted and approved by the scientific director, see the appendix.

Training and Supervision Agreement

PhDs are required to propose and follow an educational program consisting of a minimum of 20 ECTS. Below is an overview of the number of ECTS that can be obtained by taking the various parts of the PhD program. An education/training program indicated in the Training and Supervision Agreement is mandatory for each student. The TSA also indicates deficiencies of a student for which courses should be taken.

Description of Educational Features of the Programme

The individual training program has to be specified and can consist of the following elements:

  • PhD or master courses of at least 4 ECTS points or summer schools of at least 2 ECTS points depending on its duration and the amount of work involved. The PhD courses are typically organized by a research school such as ASCI, SIKS, IPA, Helmholtz, or Imago.
  • Participation in local discussions of work progress, seminars, colloquium, or lectures on literature. This element equals 6 ECTS points.
  • A supervised literature study, which counts for 4 ECTS points.
  • Presentations at scientific conferences or workshops. Each presentation counts for 2 ECTS points.
  • One or more courses on scientific writing or presenting. A course on writing or presenting  counts for 2 ECTS points.

The total number of ECTS points in the educational program must be at least 20.