Admission Requirements for Doctoral Degree Programmes in Netherlands

Pursuing a doctoral programme in the Netherlands means you have to spend at least 4 years conducting research which is original and writing the dissertation. At the time, doctoral candidates work in close partnership with their supervisors. A doctorate is not seen as study, but as serious research. Doctoral candidates in the Netherlands are also provided paid employment, in fact. 

International students prefer Holland for their PhD programme. Holland has numerous graduate schools as well as a large variety of interdisciplinary research and collaboration. Dutch universities conduct world class, cutting edge research. 11 Dutch research universities are among the top 200 as per the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 2014. PhD students are mostly under paid employment contracts. For details see latest world university rankings.

All doctoral candidates are part of a graduate or research school. The latter are collaborations between numerous research universities and institutes. Graduate schools operate within the universities. Excellent research environment and customised study programmes as well as master classes and seminars plus conferences are organised by these institutes. 

Dutch PhDs are highly regarded among the international academic community. According to the Study in Holland portal, The Netherlands has excellent global ranking for numerous publications per researcher (second rank) and impact of research publication (fourth rank). In the Netherlands, research is carried out by research universities and institutes as well as corporate groups. But only the research universities or research institutes associated with them may offer PhD positions. 

Numerous PhD posts are advertised on job boards including AcademicTransfer, along with scientific journals and notice boards at other institutions. Learn more about the application procedure by contacting the institution directly.

Students who want to pursue a particular research proposal can also pitch their idea to varieties and research groups to attract funding. To find PhD programmes in Holland, see

PhD is generally a paid position which means participants receive a salary like the research staff. Salaries of PhD Students equal anywhere between 1300 to 1700 Euro while that of starting scientists is around 2000 Euro for each month. 

Entrance/Test Requirements

For entry into doctoral programmes in the Netherlands, students must prove to the host institution that their diploma qualified them to enter the programme. A diploma can be evaluated free of charge by Nuffic. The latter is a Dutch National Academic Recognition Information Centre for evaluating foreign diplomas in higher and general secondary level education. There are numerous in-house experts as well to determine the equivalence of the educational system across various countries. While the evaluation is purely in advisory capacity, it is the final decision of the institute to accept or reject a doctoral application.

Doctoral students must  have a solid research background apart from which they should also possess a recognised Master’s degree diploma in research that is gained from a 2 year MA programme. For English medium courses, they must also demonstrate proficiency in English through TOEFL or IELTS. Along with this, the university also requires a research proposal along with a CV and a reference letter. Each university decides individually regarding the acceptance of a candidate for doctoral purposes. 

Ph.D Courses Offered in the Netherlands

The Ph.D Courses offered in Holland range from a variety of disciplines such as arts, science, social sciences, humanities, fine arts and so on. Specialised as well as general doctoral programmes are also provided. Doctoral degree programmes in Holland research universities and associated institutes is research based only. 

Admission Procedure and Admission Calendar for Doctoral Students in Holland

Holders of MSc or MA diploma of recognised research universities in Holland or outside the nation can continue scientific careers and apply for PhD degree programmes in what is the third stage in the Dutch Higher education system. Research universities have their own application procedure and admission calendars. It should be noted that Dutch doctorates are considered more professional and require paid employment contracts. Therefore they are less of a study and more of an occupation. Doctoral programmes in the Netherlands are offered only at research universities and associated institutes.
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