PhD Programmes

At our faculty the PhD programme divers per department. Some departments have joint a national research school and some departments have the PhD programme organised by their department. In both cases the programme brings together the best expertise and infrastructure with the aim of optimizing the quality of research. 

As a PhD candidate it is important to deepen your knowledge and skills, enabling yourself to become a fully qualified scientist with an excellent perspective for a career of your choice. The educational programme for PhD candidates of the faculty of Science provides for a variety of activities enhancing your academic, professional and general skills. Courses will be offered by Graduate Schools of National Research School but also by the VU. The details of your training are reported in the Training and Supervision Plan.


• Some courses are mandatory. This is clarified in the “Course overview” in the table below.
• Please note that you must obtain permission from your supervisor or the financial administrator before you can enrol in these courses.

PHD programmes listed per department

Below, you will find an overview of the PhD programme for each department of the faculty of Science. Please visit the pages of the specific department for more information about the education offered. Some departments have joint a national research school. Therefore the website links in some cases to a web address not part of the VU. For general questions PhD students can contact the PhD coordinator of the department (see schedule below).

European Credits (EC'S)

During the PhD period you are required to obtain 30 EC's:

  • Scientific integrity (mandatory, 2 EC)
  • General academic skills (together with scientific specialization: 8-20 EC)
  • Scientific specialization (together with general academic skills: 8-20 EC)
  • Research related activities (8-20 EC)

Course overview
Email address
Athena Institute
Barbara Regeer
Chemistry & Pharmaceutical Sciences (AIMMS)
Jurgen Haanstra
Computer Science
Anton Feenstra
Earth Sciences
Monica Sanchez Roman
Ecological Sciences
Toby Kiers
Environment & Health (AIMMS)
Jurgen Haanstra
Health Sciences
Maartje van Stralen
Institute for Environmental Studies
Hans van der Woerd
Rob van der Vorst
Molecular Cell Biology (AIMMS)
Jurgen Haanstra
Els Borghols
Physics & Astronomy
Davide Iannuzzi

More information about the national research schools can be found on the website of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Courses offered by the VU

VU Amsterdam offers you the tools to deepen your knowledge and skills, enabling you to become a fully qualified scientist with an excellent perspective for a career of your choice. 

Scientific Integrity
For more information contact Simone Zindel and Maaike Croes:
All PhD candidates that started after 1 April 2015 are required to take a course on scientific integrity.

The aims of the course are to:

  1. introduce you to the topic research integrity; 
  2. help you identifying any potential grey areas in your research field; 
  3. stimulate an open discussion of research integrity matters on the work floor. 

The next course Scientific Integrity part I for PhD’s is starting 3 December 2019 (09.00-12.30 hrs). There will be 3 courses next year, planned on 7 April 2020, 22 September 2020, 1 December 2020. Before our first meeting, planned on 3 December 2019, it is expected to complete the online course Research Integrity (please send your certificate before 19 November 2019 to Simone Zindel/Maaike Croes at The second part of the course Scientific Integrity is planned on 19 November 2019.

Next year the course will be given on 28 May 2020 and 17 November 2020.

Herewith more information about the course:
•  Brochure RI course documentation (In the brochure you will find the details of this preparation)
•  User Guide
•  A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research (On being a scientist) 

Training ‘Writing a Data Management Plan’ for PhDs from FGB and Faculty of Science
Sign up through the Library Event Calendar

Course dates:

  • Tuesday 26 November 2019, 9.30-12.30 (research without personal data); registration closes 4 November 2019; NB: if you have registered for this event already, please be aware that the target group is PhDs whose research does not involve personal data in the sense of the GDPR. If you are working with personal data, please sign up for one of the corresponding versions of this course in 2020.
  • Wednesday 29 January 2020, 9.30-12.30 (research with personal data); registration closes 8 January 2020
  • Tuesday 31 March 2020, 14.00-17.00 (research with personal data); registration closes 3 March 2020
  • Thursday 7 May 2020, 9.30-12.30 (research without personal data); registration closes 9 April 2020

Registration: Library Event Calendar (please select the course of your choice)
Workload: 1 EC
Target group: PhD students at FGB/Beta at the beginning of their research project (± 1st year)
Maximum number of participants: 30
Language: the default language for this course is English, but we can switch to Dutch in case all participants speak Dutch. If desired, assignments may be submitted in Dutch as well.
Costs: free of charge for VU PhD students

The University Library provides training on Research Data Management (RDM) for PhD students. We kindly invite PhD students from the Faculty of Behavioral and Movement Sciences (FGB) and the Faculty of Science to this course on writing a Data Management Plan.

Good RDM (e.g. storing, sharing, archiving, describing your research data) contributes to research transparency and integrity. Due to the advance of new technologies, data volumes and numbers of files are constantly increasing. For that reason good data management is an essential part of data-driven research as well. In this workshop, we will introduce and discuss the different aspects of RDM which typically need to be covered in a data management plan (DMP), such as data description, data storage during research, sharing data with colleagues, data archiving after research and data citation. The various components of research data management will be related to the FAIR principles (that is, principles to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). We will also address the ethical and legal framework, including the General Data Protection Regulation (the European law on privacy), if applicable.

In this training, you’ll learn why good RDM is necessary and how it can be beneficial to your research. In an interactive workshop, we will provide you with practical guidelines and instruments to manage your data properly. You will be working on a DMP for your own research, so that you can apply the things you learn to your own project.

This training requires some preparation from your side. You will be asked to study some materials about RDM (two short articles and a website). In addition, you need to write a first draft of a DMP, which will be worked out in more detail during the workshop.

Estimated time investment for the preparation: 20 hours
Credits for this course: 1 EC (you will receive a certificate upon completion of all compulsory components)

Detailed overview of time investment: 

Preparation (reading materials) 10 hours
Study DMP templates and choose one for the assignment 2 hours
Write first draft of DMP  8 hours
Discuss DMP with your supervisor(s) 1 hour
Workshop 3 hours
Finalise your DMP 4 hours 
Total 28 hours (= 1 EC) 

General Academic Skills
Academic activities are helpful to develop your general academic skills. These may include for instance scientific writing, presentation skills, management skills, but also (formal). Training for Education, participation in representative councils, participation in BSc/MSc Information days, organization of community events such as conferences.

Scientific Writing
EC: tbd
Contact: tbd

Presentation Skills
EC: tbd
Contact: tbd

Scientific Specialization
Courses will be mostly organized by the Graduate Schools, but also training programmes for complex instruments and writing a grant proposal can be part of your scientific specialization.

Research Related Activities
These activities may include for instance visit to conferences, presentation of lectures and posters and participation in workshops.

Please note that you must obtain permission from your supervisor or the financial administrator before you can enrol in these courses.