The organisation of doctoral-level studies
In the Netherlands, there are several options for doctoral candidates:
- They can be employed and paid by the institution (a research university or research institute);
- They can bring their own funding, for instance in the form of a fellowship or grant; or
- They can be funded by their external employer.
Doctoral candidates may be employed on a regular labour contract or be a scholarship holder. They may also contact a university or professor with their own research proposal (and own funding) in which case the university decides if they can pursue the doctorate.
A doctoral candidate in the Netherlands has the status of a professional researcher rather than a student. The majority of the doctoral candidates are employed by the institution, which strengthens their status as a professional researcher.
Doctoral candidates are affiliated to research units, faculties / institutes and graduate schools.
A doctoral programme takes at least four years of doing research and writing a dissertation. Candidates sometimes have to follow compulsory courses. There are also a large number of university-based programmes to prepare doctoral candidates for their future career.
All doctoral candidates are assigned a supervisor who oversees the academic quality of the research dissertation, as well as the planning and human resources aspects.
For further information:
Potential doctoral candidates can also find information on the organisation of doctoral-level programmes on the websites of Dutch universities.