Obtaining a PhD

General information

The Faculty of Law of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam provides a fruitful research environment for PhD students: both for those students with a position within the faculty itself (internal PhD candidates) as for external PhD students who do research in their own time. The faculty employs PhD students on an individual basis. They write a PhD dissertation under tutorship of a professor in the applicable Law or Criminology subject. All PhD students (internal and external) in the Faculty of Law participate in one of the research programmes of the faculty and are automatically enrolled into the Graduate School. A full-time PhD programme takes four years and consists of conducting research and writing a dissertation independently.

The recruitment of PhD students is done by actively approaching students and through advertisement on the website of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

For more information on obtaining a PhD, please contact PhD coordinator Joost Meijer.

External PhD candidates

If your research proposal is of outstanding quality and will contribute to one of the research programmes, it is possible to write a thesis at your own expense under tutorship of a faculty professor. As an external PhD candidate you are not officially a VU Amsterdam employee or student. 

External PhDs candidates undertake a PhD at VU Amsterdam with a (foreign) funding or scholarship scheme, or are self funded professionals or students. 

External PhD candidates should formally request admission through our online application portal.



The PhD Board is the successor of the PhD Discussion Forum. The PhD Board organizes activities for the PhD candidates of the VU Amsterdam Law Faculty. The following persons are currently part of the PhD board: Dion Kramer (chair; also representative to the Faculty Research Board), Merel Ekelhof, Rieneke Stelma-Roorda en Robin Kranendonk. The PhD board organizes a lunch meeting every month at which one of our PhD candidates presents on his or her research, and the PhD Board shares news from the Faculty Research Board and any other business. The PhD board also organizes social drinks every few months and a PhD dinner once a year.