PhD Candidate in Persuasive Communication, specifically Health Communication

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Amsterdam School of Communication Research

Publication date
4 May 2017
Level of education
Master's degree
Salary indication
€2,191 to €2,801 gross per month
Closing date
31 May 2017
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Amsterdam School of Communication Research ASCoR is the research institute in Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam. It is the largest research institute of its kind in Europe. More than 50 senior researchers are permanently associated with ASCoR, and its English-language PhD program has more than 35 students.

ASCoR is looking for a PhD candidate for the project ‘Discussions in the classroom: Investigating the role of interpersonal communication within a school-based health intervention’. The project will be supervised by Prof. Bas van den Putte, dr Hanneke Hendriks, and dr Simone Onrust.

Project description

It has been shown that interpersonal communication mediates or moderates the effects of mass mediated health interventions. Also, studies showed that interpersonal communication generally has more effects than health intervention exposure. This project will be one of the first that examines the interplay between interpersonal communication and a school health intervention. In the first phase, both quantitative (Randomized Controlled Trial) and qualitative (observations and focus groups) data will be combined to examine the effects on (determinants of) substance use of this intervention in interaction with interpersonal communication variables (between teacher and students, as well as among students). In the second phase, based on the results of the first phase, two experiments will be performed to improve the intervention. The project will be performed in the context of a recently developed school health intervention that aims at increasing students’ selfcontrol to resist unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use. Target group are adolescents (16-18 year old). The project will be done in cooperation with Trimbos Institute who has developed it as part of their 'De Gezonde School en Genotmiddelen' school health intervention project.

The candidate will perform both quantitative research (longitudinal survey, RCT, and experimental studies) as well as qualitative research (class room observations, focus groups, qualitative interviews). 


The PhD candidate should:

  • hold a Research Master’s degree in communication science or disciplines and fields relevant to the project, or have equivalent qualifications. Candidates who are due to graduate before 1 October 2017 are also welcome to apply. Candidates who do not hold a research master degree in communication science may have to do some extra coursework, depending on their individual qualifications;
  • excel academically, as shown in the grade transcripts and curriculum vitae;
  • have a firm basis in quantitative research (survey research, experiments) or qualitative research (observations, [focus group] interviews), preferably both, as indicated in Master thesis and/or courses taken;
  • preferably have experience with research among mid-to- late adolescents;
  • have an excellent written and spoken command of Dutch and English;
  • have excellent organizational skills;
  • have excellent social and communication skills;
  • have the ability and interest to cooperate with others;
  • can improvise and cope with setbacks and unexpected situations;
  • wish to pursue an academic career.

Further information

A detailed project description may be obtained from the:

Questions about the project content should be addressed to:

Questions about the application procedure and other general questions should be addressed to Ms. Miriam van der Putte at the:

You may also want to check:


The position starts ASAP, and is initially for 1 year. Extension of the contract after the first year to a total of three years is subject to satisfactory performance.

The gross monthly salary will be in accordance with the salary scales for PhD candidates at Dutch universities, i.e., ranging from €2,191 in the first year to €2,801 in the final year.

We offer a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% per year, and flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Job application

The deadline for applications is 31 May 2017, 24 hours CET. Please state vacancy number 17-235 in the subject line of your application. The selection committee has reserved 19 and 20 June for interviews. To apply for this position, please send the following documents in a single PDF file by e-mail to

  • ASCoR Application form;
  • motivation letter;
  • curriculum vitae;
  • proof of your Master’s degree. If you have not completed your degree at the time of application, please provide a statement from your supervisor confirming the expected date of completion;
  • grade transcripts of your Master and Bachelor degrees;
  • signed letter of recommendation by at least one referee;
  • academic writing sample, preferably in English (e.g., course paper, Master thesis). #LI-DNP

No agencies please

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