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Becoming a PhD in the Humanities

There are two categories of PhD candidates at the Faculty of Humanities: candidates who are employed by the Faculty, and externally or self-funded candidates.

PhD Candidates employed by the Faculty of Humanities

PhD candidates employed by the Faculty of Humanities receive funding from the Faculty or from the inter-faculty research institute ILLC. Sometimes the funding comes from EU or NWO grants, sometimes it comes directly from the Faculty. Vacancies for such positions are advertised on the UvA vacancies list and/or on the websites of the AIHR research schools and the ILLC. For more information concerning admission to the ILLC PhD programme please refer to the programme's admissions page.

Externally or self-funded PhD candidates


In order to join the Faculty of Humanities as an externally or self-funded PhD candidate you need to take the following steps:

  1. Read the Research Programmes of the research schools on the website and decide which school you want to join. Decide how your project fits in or contributes to the programme of this school.
  2. Choose a supervisor from the senior members and contact them by sending an email and a first short draft of your proposal (max. 1000 words).
  3. Rewrite the proposal according to the advice provided by the supervisor, and together look for a second supervisor.
  4. Ask your supervisors to write a short statement confirming their commitment to the project and an argumentation of how the project contributes to the programme of the research school (max. 250 words).
  5. Send the proposal (see guidelines below), including a CV/résumé, your complete address, copies of your BA and MA diploma's and grades, and a copy of your passport, together with your supervisor's statement by email to the coordinator of the school.
  6. Upon acceptance, you will be asked to fill out a ‘work plan’ and a form ‘acceptance to the defence’. After 12 months, your progress will be evaluated by your supervisors and the director of the school on the basis of a pilot study (draft chapter).

In the Netherlands, scholars are expected to prepare specific proposals, in which central questions, aims, theoretical premises, concepts, the corpus to be studied and proposed methods are described in some detail. General outlines are considered too undeveloped and therefore turned down almost immediately. This requirement is based on the idea that candidates have completed a (research) MA and that the PhD is the core activity and goal of the student.

Research proposal for externally or self-funded PhD candidates at the Faculty of Humanities

1. Supervisors

For each project there need to be two supervisors, one of which should have the ius promovendi 

  • Supervisor 1:
  • Supervisor 2:

2. PhD candidate

3. Title of research proposal

4. Summary (max. 250 words)

Please provide a brief summary  of the project in English.

5. Project proposal (max. 2,000 or 2,500 words--depending on the Research School)

  • Central issues/aims (why)
  • Methods (how)
  • Objects of Research (what)
  • Work plan for 4 years, please specify starting date and prospective completion date (when)
  • Importance for the Research School

6. Academic Curriculum Vitae PhD candidate

  • Full Address Details
  • Education
  • Professional information
  • Publications
  • Grants, Honors, etc.

7. Motivation for doing PhD research (max. 300 words)

The intended PhD candidate briefly describes here his or her motivation for doing scientific research and his or her experience is relevant for carrying out the project proposed. This brief explanation may contain a maximum of 300 words.

8. Recommendation by the supervisors (max. 250 words)

Both supervisors are requested to write a short statement confirming their commitment to the project and the candidate.

9. Data management

Will data be collected or generated that are suitable for reuse?

Yes/no (if yes, a data management plan must be made)   

10. Ethics of the research

Will human test subjects and/or interviewees be involved in the research?

Yes/no (if yes, you are expected to provide details in the project proposal


Please send the above information, together with a copy of your passport and a copy of your BA and MA degrees and grades to the coordinator of your school by email.