Minimum requirements

Self-funded PhD candidates

For all PhD candidates the minimum legal, educational requirements need to be satisfied. Exemptions to the rule are looked into upon request.

If you feel confident that you comply with the minimum requirement, consult the Admission page for a step by step guide on how to apply for a PhD position. Always feel free to contact us ( if you should have any questions about the application procedure or our research programmes. 

Minimum educational requirements

In order to enter a PhD programme at EUR, national candidates need a Master’s degree, preferably a Research Master's degree. Upon submission of an international academic degree, the admission office will determine whether the degree is equivalent to Dutch Bachelor plus Master university examination.

Applicants must have obtained at least class 2.1, B+ or equivalent as determined by the Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education (Nuffic). For more information on the Dutch grading system and the relevant conversions, please consult the Nuffic standards sheet.

Minimum English proficiency

The Graduate School requires non-native English speakers to show proof of their proficiency in English. All candidates must be able to read textbooks, understand lectures, take part in programme group discussions and undertake written work in English.

  • ​​​​​​​IELTS: an academic average score of 7.5 is compulsory, minimal 6.0 for all sub-scores: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.
  • TOEFL: score of 100 is compulsory, minimal 20 for the sub-scores: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.
  • Certain other tests, such as ALIGU and Michigan, are also recognized and should show equivalent results (minimum 80%).
  • The language test results should not be older than two years.

Exemptions proof of English proficiency

The Graduate School does not require a language certificate from native English speakers, nor from non-native speakers who have obtained a Master's degree, from one of the following countries:

Canada (except for Québec)
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States of America

  • Instead, nationals from these countries are required to include a copy of their identity documents to their PhD application package.
  • If you obtained a Master's degree (i.e. an English Master's programme in any of the listed countries) you should include your Master's diploma when emailing your PhD application package.

PhD research proposal guidelines

Before submitting an application to any of our PhD programmes, applicants are required to have done some preparatory work on the proposed topic of study.

If you have, or are currently working on a proposal, note that potential doctoral supervisors are interested in analytically ground breaking, not purely descriptive, research projects. Also, ensure that your proposal has an academic link with at least one of our research groups

Admission will depend on the quality of the applicant’s research proposal and its relevance to the programme's research interests. Applicants are required to submit a research proposal of approximately 5.000 words which incorporates:

  1. department, research group and the Doctoral Supervisor (full professor) you would like to be considered for;
    • Consult our Appplication procedure page for an overview of potential PhD projects and subjects.
    • Consult our Research page for an overview of the research areas.
    • Consult our People page for an overview of potential Doctoral Supervisors (Full Professors only).
  2. statement of the research issue, setting out the temporal, geographic and conceptual limits;
  3. potential contribution of the research to theory and/or policy making;
  4. concise formulation of the research issues;
  5. brief review of the theoretical background and the main analytical approaches to be followed;
  6. specification of the main expected methods of data collection and processing;
  7. proposed table of contents for the thesis, and;
  8. references and bibliography.

For additional support on writing proposals consult our Research Proposal Guideline (pdf) or this helpful online guide.