Admission to our PhD programmes

How to apply

PhD applications are welcomed from qualified candidates wishing to undertake research on a specific topic within one of the Graduate School's research areas.

PhD candidates are admitted through one of the two following procedures:

  1. Applying for a PhD vacancy: this relates to PhD projects for which you will have to follow an open recruitment procedure. PhD vacancies in the field of the Social Sciences and the Humanities are announced on the EUR vacancies page, the vacancies page of the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) and on Academic Transfer.
  2. Submitting your own research proposal / self-funded PhD candidates : these prospective PhD candidates must secure funding for the yearly tuition fee of €12.500,-- through private resources and/or grants (such as scholarships from national or local governments, private firms et cetera).
    • The expected duration of a full doctoral programme is 4 years.
    • The estimated cost of living is approximately €1000,--/ per month, based on a minimum standard of living in the Netherlands. Follow this link for a cost breakdown.
    • The Graduate School does not award PhD scholarships nor can we provide support in securing funding for your PhD project. On our website you can consult a (non-exhaustive) list of search engines for PhD scholarships.
    • There is no deadline for admission. PhD application package are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Reviews will take longer during the summer (July - August) and winter break (late December - early January).
    • We strive to complete the entire process within six weeks.

Two of our PhD programmes follow a separate application procedure:

  • Development Studies (International Institute of Social Studies, ISS)
    More information
  • Urban Development and Governance (Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, IHS)
    More information

Chinese applications

Chinese applicants can apply for a PhD scholarship at the China Scholarship Council (CSC) to cover tuition fees and living expenses.

Each year the Erasmus University China Center (EUCC) announces several predefined PhD projects for which Chinese nationals can apply.


Erasmus University Rotterdam has an agreement with the Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP). The agreement defines EUR as a preferred university for the fund and enables Indonesian researchers to have easier access to PhD finance for their project.


The Brazilian government has incorporated an ongoing PhD module in their Ciência sem Fronteiras (Science Without Borders) fellowship programme.