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PhD Programme

Pursuing a PhD at the Protestant Theological University means spending a minimum of four years conducting original research and writing a dissertation. Throughout this time, PhD candidates work in close collaboration with their supervisor, a full professor of the University. So although we call it a "PhD study" it is more about doing independent research under the supervision of a full professor. Therefore we don't manage a deadline, nor for application, nor for starting the PhD studies. 


When interested in a PhD study at the PThU, the first step to be taken is to send a brief research proposal to one of our full professors and ask him/her if he/she would be willing to be your supervisor during your proposed PhD study. 

A research proposal format is available here.  

Once the professor indicates his/her preparedness to be your supervisor you will need to further develop the proposal until it´s ready to submit to the research committee. Besides an extensive research proposal, you will also be asked to send your c.v., a training and supervision plan and a data management plan to the committee. Final admission will be given by the PThU Doctorate Board, based on the advice of the comittee and an external evaluation of your prior education at a master´s level.


The PThU has a very limited number of contract PhD students and the competition for those positions is fierce. Most candidates need to fund their own PhD studies or find a scholarship or alternative sources of funding. Fortunately the institution´s tuition fees are relatively low (below 400 Euro per year). Costs of living in the Netherlands are however relatively high. Therefore, for international PhD students we have developed a so-called sandwich model: students spend each year two or three months of intensive research at the PThU in Amsterdam or Groningen and the rest of the year they combine their research with their work in their own country. A lot of Dutch PhD students do their research parttime. Their cost of study is relatively low. They should however consider the costs of ICT facilities, depending on their specific needs. 

Supervision and training

The PThU Graduate School offers you a mix of expert supervision and tailor-made training. You will be supervised by a team of at least two experts in your specific field of interest and have the opportunity to follow a PhD training programme based upon your needs and interests as well as the requirements of the Graduate School. The training may consist of courses (mostly offered by NOSTER and other external institutions), workshops, seminars or participation in international conferences or expert meeting. A training and supervision plan will guide you in this process. The PThU also offers a yearly Graduate School meeting in Amsterdam or Groningen.  

Click here for the dissertation protocol and the regulations for the doctorate