Research within the inter-university Top Institute (UM collaborates with the Universities of Amsterdam and Groningen) is rooted in the philosophy that educational policy and educational practice should be based on the best evidence of 'what works'.

Research projects vary from ‘Metacognitive skills in primary education’ to ‘Student performance and teacher quality’. TIER focuses on four areas:

  • arriving at 'evidence based education' in policy and practice
  • examining the social context of education
  • setting up of a portal between the academic world of research and the policy world of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science
  • ensuring that the scientific results of the research into 'evidence-based education' will be passed on to teachers in primary, secondary and higher education by developing a Teacher Academy


The Program

  • You write a PhD dissertation on a project of your own choice and interest
  • During the graduate program you analyze the effectiveness and/or efficiency of educational innovations. You will in particular focus on drawing causal inferences such that you are likely to apply experimental and quasi-experimental identification strategies
  • You will become part of an international and multidisciplinary research group of high potential fellow-students
  • You receive training and supervision from an international group of professors in applying advanced quantitative analysis, developing research designs and conducting systematic literature reviews

Write a PhD dissertation on a project of your own choice and interest, analyse the effectiveness and efficiency of educational innovations, become part of an international and multidisciplinary research group, and receive training and supervision from international professors in applying advanced quantitative analysis, developing research designs, and conducting systematic literature reviews.

You can apply for a PhD-position at TIER by clicking the green button on the right and send:

  • Your CV
  • Motivation letter
  • English proficiency results
  • Diploma supplements

We offer

  • Supervision at the TIER research group by Professor Kristof De Witte, Professor Wim Groot and Professor Henriëtte Maassen van den Brink.
  • An attractive international and multi-disciplinary research environment
  • The possibility to pursue a PhD with distance guiding using ICT. Meet the supervising team at a regular basis either face-to-face or online
  • Two times a year, an intensive supervision week is organized. During this week, you receive courses at PhD-level, present your work to fellow PhD students, and discuss recent papers
  • You can participate in the international doctoral workshops and PhD-courses that are organized by TIER in collaboration with KU Leuven (Belgium), Politecnico di Milano (Italy) and University of Budapest (Hungary)
  • Flexible starting date

Eligibility and tuition fees

  • After submission of your CV, motivation letter, English language prophecy results and diploma supplements, an intake meeting is organized. This meeting determines your eligibility for the PhD program
  • Enrollment in the PhD program costs 5000 euro per year. A limited number of reduced fees are available for highly motivated and excellent students
  • The application deadline is the first of every month

Your profile

  • Master in Economics, Business Economics, Commercial Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mathematics, Sociology, Psychology, Education or similar masters with strong quantitative background.
  • Excellent results in the master years.
  • Knowledge and skills in quantitative methods.
  • Enthusiastic and motivated to do research.
  • Excellent in writing and speaking English (proved by Toefl, ELPT, SAT, or ACT).
  • We also welcome students who want to combine the program with a full time or part time job (e.g., in public administration, knowledge institutes, higher education colleges, secondary education).

The ‘Top Institute for Evidence Based Education Research’ at Maastricht University has openings for PhD students in the field of Evidence Based Education. For more information please contact Prof. Dr. Kristof De Witte, Professor at Maastricht University