The Graduate School of Life Sciences of Utrecht University provides a brochure (pdf) which describes the ins and outs of obtaining a PhD in Life Sciences in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Basically, to be admitted to one of the Utrecht University Graduate School of Life Sciences PhD programmes, prospective candidates must apply for and obtain a PhD position within this graduate school. To qualify for a PhD position in the field of cardiovascular research, prospective candidates have to meet stringent academic requirements, possess a solid background in the theory and methods of this field, hold a recognised Master’s degree (or equivalent) and demonstrate a good knowledge of English.

Forms for registration
Upon obtaining a PhD position in cardiovascular research, PhD candidates have to register in 2 separate databases within 3 months after starting their PhD. The first is the database of Utrecht University, called METIS (Hora Est; using ‘Form 1: request for exemption and admission to doctoral studies’). Copies of the most relevant diploma and a valid proof of identity should be added upon registration. The second is the TSA database of the Graduate School of Life Sciences. For this registration, PhD students need to fill out a Training and Supervision Agreement (TSA) and submit this to the dean of the faculty of affiliation of the primary supervisor. The agreement will outline the objectives of the research project and an individualised plan of training. Moreover, in this TSA the PhD candidate also selects the PhD programme that fits his/her research project or interest (in consultation with the (daily) supervisor). The purpose of this agreement is to safeguard the quality of research, training and supervision of PhD candidates (as specified in the Quality Assurance Plan (pdf)).

PhD training

In a two to four-year traject PhD candidates perform research which eventually must  result in a PhD thesis and a series of (peer-reviewed) published scientific articles. PhD candidates are being supervised by a professor (‘promotor’) and/or a daily supervisor (‘copromotor’). During this period, PhD candidates also receive training and education in thematic research areas and in professional development (see Education). Together, the broad variety of courses, master classes, retreats and other activities results in a well-balanced and diverse programme yielding highly qualified and well-trained PhD candidates.

PhD Training Certificate

When the requirements of the Graduate School of Life Sciences with respect to training and supervision of PhD candidates are fulfilled, candidates receive a formal training certificate from the Graduate School.


More information for PhD candidates on the PhD Programmes, admission procedures, courses, etc. can be found on the website of the Graduate School of Life Sciences of Utrecht university.


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