Obtaining a PhD in the Netherlands
Contrary to many other countries, PhD candidates in the Dutch system are not students, but actual employees (including a salary, social benefits, etc). Consequently, we need a job opening to hire a PhD student. We do not have PhD programmes in which you can enrol in September of each year. The entry level for a PhD position is a university Master’s degree.
The period of appointment for a PhD candidate is usually four years, which should be completed with a thesis. The Dutch PhD thesis is a booklet generally containing 4 to 5 chapters of scientific work. These have been accepted as or can potentially be published as journal papers. The thesis is therefore a collection of papers on a coherent topic, with an introductory chapter, a discussion and a summary.
In addition to performing research and producing a thesis, PhD candidates are expected to present their work on international conferences, to extend their knowledge and skills through a limited number of courses and to contribute to teaching in the Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes (e.g. aiding in practical sessions, supervising student projects). The majority of your time, however, is free to be devoted to your PhD project.