14 March 2017 | EW EC EIC ELG EPS PEIW | Calls

Part-time PhD programme

ACCESS EUROPE has launched a second Call for Applications for its programme for part-time PhDs, with a deadline of 1 May.  

The aim of the programme is to attract candidates to do a self-financed PhD with ACCESS EUROPE affiliated supervisors in the five participating faculties of the two Amsterdam universities: Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG), Law (FdR), and Humanities (FGW) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA); Social Sciences (FSW) and Law (FdR) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).  Each successful candidate will receive a PhD from one of the two participating universities, following the normal admission, review, and defence procedures of that university.

Target audience

The ACCESS EUROPE part-time PhD programme is aimed primarily at policy practitioners and researchers in Brussels and The Hague, working in the EU institutions (Commission, Parliament, Council, etc.), government ministries, embassies, think tanks, NGOs, trade associations, lobbying organizations, etc. 


ACCESS EUROPE’s offer includes:                                 

  • Assistance in finding a supervisor from a roster of affiliated researchers with promotion rights. Please download the list of possible supervisors below. 
  • At least 4 meetings per year with the supervisor, either in person or by Skype.
  • A summer school, organized each year, either in Brussels or Amsterdam, which will provide part-time PhD candidates with a mix of lectures and discussions on key issues in the study of contemporary Europe and short courses on research design and a variety of research methods, both qualitative and quantitative. Topics covered by the latter might include process tracing, statistics, document analysis/archival research, discourse analysis, elite interviews, ethnography/participant observation, as well as legal methodologies such as normative, critical, and doctrinal analysis. There will be parallel streams tailored to the needs of students from different disciplines (social science, law, humanities). The first summer school will be organised on 12-14 June 2017, which will be open to prospective students. 
  • Free access to research design and methods courses offered by the graduate schools of the participating faculties.
  • Participation in ACCESS EUROPE academic and public events (lectures, seminars, workshops, conferences, masterclasses).

Part-time PhD candidates will be expected to complete short courses on research integrity and academic writing as required by the participating graduate or research schools.  Arrangements will be made to ensure that they are able to do, either in Amsterdam or in Brussels.


To cover the costs of library access, ICT, insurance, summer schools, and trips to Brussels by participating supervisors, part-time PhD candidates will be asked to pay an annual fee of € 2.500.

Application requirements

  • Applicants should have a Dutch master’s degree in a relevant discipline, or equivalent thereof from another university.
  • They should submit a letter of motivation, a CV, a short (2-5 page) thesis proposal, and one letter of reference, all to be written in English. The letter of motivation should contain information on the candidate’s practical capacities to undertake the PhD, including employer support for the project.
  • As a rule of thumb, external PhD candidates should have a minimum of one day per week off from work (averaged over the year) to work on the thesis. 


Candidates can submit an expression of interest by mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. until 1 May 2017. The expression of interest should include the documents specified under the application requirements. Once a candidate has been accepted by a supervisor and the relevant graduate or research school, s/he should be expected to produce a fully elaborated thesis proposal within six months, and an initial chapter or long paper within one year.  The long paper should serve as the basis for a go/no-go decision about the continuation of the project by the doctoral committee, following the normal procedures of the graduate school in which the candidate is enrolled. The target time to completion is four-five years.