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Several steps are involved in the application and admissions procedure for External PhD candidates.

Application and admissions procedure

1. Finding a (principal) supervisor

No recruitment of External PhD candidates generally takes place. If you have a specific topic in mind and would like to purse a PhD in it (as an external candidate), you must in most cases write a research proposal and seek contact with a professor you deem suitable to supervise your PhD research. Information and contact details of the various research groups, and professors and their areas of specialisation, can be found here.

2. Submitting a proposal to the Admissions Board

Once you have found a professor willing to supervise your research using one of the aforementioned methods, you may submit a request for admission to the PhD Admissions Board through this application form. This must include, at minimum:

  • A cover letter
  • A cv
  • A research proposal (max. 5 pages excl. bibliography) – use this format to draft your proposal
  • A previously written paper
  • Names and contact details of two (academic) referees
  • A brief description of current professional responsibilities and the extent to which this will allow sufficient time to initiate and complete the PhD research within a period of, in principle, 6 years.

Additionally, your supervisors will have to fill out an endorsement form and submit this to before the deadline.

The PhD Admissions Board reviews requests for admission two times a year. For a request to be reviewed in October, it must be received no later than 1 October. For March requests, the deadline is 1 March.

3. Selection and provisional admission

Requests are reviewed based on the following criteria:

  1. whether the PhD candidate can be embedded in a research group
  2. the track record of the supervisors
  3. the quality and viability of the research proposal

A favourable recommendation by the selection committee results in provisional admission to the PhD Programme in Law.

4. Definitive admission

Provisional admission only becomes definitive once you have been admitted by the UvA Doctorate Board (College voor Promoties, or CVP). This is essentially an administrative procedure that can only be started once you have received your conditional admission decision. To be admitted, you must submit a request for admission. If you are not in possession of a Netherlands Master’s degree (or an old-style initial university degree), you will need to request an exemption from that programme requirement before submitting a request for admission.

Exemption from programme requirement

This procedure only needs to be followed if you are not in possession of a Netherlands Master’s degree (or an old-style initial university degree). Incidentally, it makes no difference whether this is a law or a non-law degree.

The first step involves performing a “quick scan” for which the PhD Secretariat needs the following documents.

  • Completed online form Request for exemption from the legal educational requirement
  • Copies of all academic diplomas received
  • Copies of a list of marks or a list of programme components for those diplomas. A certified translation by the educational institution or a sworn translator must be also be submitted for documents in languages other than Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish or Italian.
  • Copy of passport or ID-card (front and back)
  • CV

A favourable recommendation following the “quick scan” results in an immediate decision to grant exemption, provided that certified copies of the aforementioned diplomas and lists of marks have been submitted. This assessment can take 2 to 4 weeks. If non-certified copies have been submitted, the secretariat of the Doctorate Board will once again invite you to provide certified copies, or make an appointment so that you can present the originals. You may submit your request for admission once you have been notified of a decision to grant exemption.

Request for admission to the PhD programme

For provisional admission to become definitive, you will need to submit a request for admission to the CVP. The following documents must be provided to the PhD Secretariat:

  • Completed online form Request for admission to the doctoral programme with original signatures of candidate and (co-) supervisors (signature copies not accepted)
  • Certified copy of Netherlands Master’s diploma or initial university degree diploma OR exemption decision. If you are not in possession of certified copies of your Netherlands diploma, you can make an appointment with the PhD secretariat to present the original in person.
  • Copy of passport or ID-card (front and back) UNLESS an exemption decision is also attached.

The PhD Secretariat procures the signature of the Dean and then forwards your application to the Doctorate Board. An admissions decision is taken within 2 to 4 weeks, which, if favourable, results in your provisional admission becoming definitive.

Tuition fee

Researchers with a scholarship, externally financed PhDs, external PhDs / doctoral candidates who have been appointed at the Faculty of Law on or after 1st January 2023 pay an annual tuition fee. The tuition fee rate in 2023 is € 2.000 per year. New rates will be determined every year. The fee is for use of the research facilities, supervision and training. If the PhD student is unable to pay the fee, the research group may decide to pay the fee.