PhD at PThU

The PThU offers a PhD programme for excellent students. Pursuing a PhD in the Netherlands means spending a minimum of four years (fulltime) conducting original and independent research and writing a dissertation. During that time, you will be under the supervision of a full professor of the university. At the PThU, there are four steps within the PhD programme.

How does a PhD work at PThU?

The PhD programme consists of four steps.

  • Step 1. Get a master’s degree

    Everyone in possession of a master’s degree, can apply for the PhD programme at PThU. If you are not in possession of a master’s degree yet, you must first obtain it. At the PThU, you can follow the one-year Master of Theology programme in Groningen. You can also start the PhD programme with a foreign master’s degree, but only if this degree has the same level as a Dutch master’s degree.

  • Step 2. Apply for Initial Graduate School: PhD prospect

    If you are in possession of a master’s degree, you start your PhD programme by applying for the Initial Graduate School as a PhD prospect. The Initial Graduate School is a series of three courses (15 ECTS), which takes place in the autumn on Mondays and Tuesdays. The courses are: General Theological Research Skills, Research Management and Ethics and Research Proposal Development. During these courses, you will be supervised by Graduate School professors and your promotor in writing a research proposal, a data management plan and a training and supervision plan.

    You will also attend the yearly Graduate School meeting. This meeting offers you the opportunity to network with current PhD candidates, as well as experts from your field of study.

    You complete the Initial Graduate School by submitting your completed research proposal, data management plan and training and supervision plan. The PThU Doctorate Board decides whether or not you will be admitted as a PhD candidate to the Graduate school.

    You can read about the application procedure for the Initial Graduate School.

  • Step 3. Admission to Graduate School: PhD candidate

    Once the PThU Doctorate Board has granted permission, you will officially be a PhD candidate at the PThU. You can now apply to the Graduate School, which starts in September. In the Graduate School, you will be supervised by your promotor, as well as at least two experts in your field(s) of interest. You will also follow the training programme you have decided on in your training and supervision plan. You must gain a minimum of 15 ECTS in training. You have a choice of:

    • courses (offered by NOSTER as well as other external institutions)
    • workshops
    • seminars
    • participation in international conferences or expert meetings
    • yearly Graduate School meeting for all (prospective) PhD candidates 

    Are you a fulltime PhD candidate? Then you must finish your promotional study within four years after the start of the Graduate School. Are you a parttime PhD candidate? Then you must finish your promotional study within six years after starting.

  • Step 4. Defending your dissertation: doctorate

    Once your research is finished, you will have to defend your dissertation. This happens in an official doctorate ceremony, where your promotor will also be present. You can read all about the doctorate ceremony in our dissertation protocol. Once you have successfully defended your dissertation, you will officially be granted the title ‘doctor of theology’.

  • Dispensation: direct admittance to Graduate School

    In exceptional cases, it is possible to obtain dispensation from the Initial Graduate School and be admitted directly to the Graduate School. You will need to take the following steps:

    1. Register before the regular dates of January 1 or May 1.
    2. When you apply for the International Graduate School, you submit a complete research proposal for admission to the Graduate School (instead of just a short two-page research proposal). You will also need to submit a recommendation from the intended supervisor supporting the dispensation request. Usually your intended promoter will propose this route themselves.
    3. If you receive an exemption, you will usually follow the IGS module 'Research Management and Ethics'.

Funding your PhD

Most (candidate) PhD students pay for their PhD themselves, with or without the help of a grant or other subsidy. Check out the options.

Want to know more about our PhD programme?

You can read the PhD programme regulations in our regulations for the doctorate.

Still have questions? Email the secretariat using the form below.


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