At Maastricht University, a PhD degree is not just a study but a serious research project that adds new knowledge to a given field. There are three ways to become a PhD candidate at UM, which are outlined below. As a PhD candidate, you’ll spend most of your time conducting original research and writing a dissertation. You might also follow courses relevant to your research or have teaching responsibilities as well. Most candidates take four years to complete their dissertation and earn their degree. Requirements for our PhD programmes vary, but you will at least need a master’s degree, a high level of English proficiency and a strong academic record.
Several of our graduate schools and research institutes offer PhD training programmes. In these programmes, you will follow a number of courses as well as write a dissertation. We have both full-time and part-time programmes.
Do you have a specific research proposal that does not match one of our vacancies? Then you can also obtain external funding and pitch your idea to one of our faculties, graduate schools or research institutes.
The Netherlands ranks second worldwide in the number of publications per researcher and third worldwide in the impact of research publications, according to the Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education (NUFFIC). At Maastricht University, PhD candidates are respected as full-fledged members of our research community. You'll be treated as a peer and will be given all the support you need for your research. There is a high level of interdisciplinary and inter-institutional cooperation at UM, and PhDs often complete their dissertation alongside their career. Such a commitment requires hard work and fortitude. And it especially requires the capacity to innovate, to come up with new ideas and new ways of seeing and applying knowledge.
Maastricht University was the first university in the Netherlands to strive for internationalisation. Almost half of our students and 40% of our academic staff come from abroad. Each faculty, school and institute has extensive international partnership networks and the university encourages international research collaborations. Students and researchers have many opportunities to study and work abroad, and our graduates are eagerly sought in the international labour market and research community.
At Maastricht University, we have a vibrant PhD community. There are many ways to connect with your peers on a social and professional level:
In the overview for current PhDs, you can find more information on:
Have you finished your bachelor’s and would like to pursue a PhD? Then you should consider one of our research master’s programmes, which specifically prepare you to be successful as a doctoral candidate. In some of these programmes, more than 90% of the students go on to become PhD candidates. You can find the research master's programmes in our master's overview.
Why are some people more sensitive to stress than others? Dennis Hernaus was hired as a PhD candidate to study the relationship between stress and dopamine levels of patients using PET scanners. He found that low dopamine levels are associated with increased sensitivity to stress and vice versa.
Is it okay for a doctor to make someone ill or appear ill if it saves them from being boarded on a train and sent to a death camp? Hannah van den Ende studied the experiences of 534 Dutch-Jewish doctors who wrestled with this type of ethical dilemma during WWII.
Stigmatising behaviour is often unconscious. People don't usually realise that they treat HIV patients differently. But the consequences are real. Henna Toppenberg and her PhD supervisor Rob Ruiter are using virtual reality to gain more insight into this behaviour so they can help bring about change.
Detailed information on Dutch research and higher education can be found in A Beginner's Guide to Dutch Academia.
The 2018 Dissertation Prize, this year awarded for the best doctoral dissertation from the inner city faculties, went to Hortense Jongen from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Her thesis is entitled: ‘Combating corruption the soft way: The authority of peer reviews in the global fight against graft.’