The First Year

This timeline shows the different procedural milestones that need to be taken care of during the first year of a PhD track. You can click on each of the steps for more information or just scroll down.

Log in to your personal timeline and tracking page for PhD candidates and their supervisors to see a personalised to-do list.

Exemption request

(before or at the start)

In order to gain access to the process leading toward a doctorate, a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam must hold a Dutch Master degree or doctoraal diploma. For more detailed regulations, consult the Doctorate Regulations. If you obtained your prior degree outside of the Netherlands, you will need to request exemption.

You can be exempted from these requirements if the degree you do hold is found to be equivalent. In order to determine this, you will have to submit an official request for exemption to the Doctorate Board.

Please use the official form, which you can find on this website, and add all required documents.

You might not have certified copies of all your university diplomas or you might want to hold on to the one set you have. In that case it is also possible to go to the office of the Doctorate Board in person and show your original diploma's there.

Do this well in advance, if possible before your stay at the ILLC!

If you do not satisfy the requirements, then your entire stay at the ILLC might be wasted, or you might encounter long delays.

The decision on your exemption request will take between 4 to 6 weeks. If you feel, however, that it is taking too long, please contact the office of the Doctorate Board.

Once you are granted the exemption, please hand in a scan copy of it to Tanja Kassenaar.

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Training and Supervision Plan (TSP) (Opleidings- en begeleidingsplan or OBP)

(within the first 3 months)

Together with your supervisors, you will need to set up a Training and Supervision Plan (TSP). You will find the TSP form on your personal tracking page (both you and your main supervisor can view and edit this form).

The main part of the TSP is a description of your research project and planning. This can be rather tentative and sketchy at the beginning and can be refined later on during the PhD track. The TSP should also help you to agree with your supervisors on how you will report on your progress and how you will receive feedback and guidance from them. It should also include details on the division of responsibilities among your main supervisor and any other supervisors involved in the project. See the page on Supervision for more information.

Beside the sections on your research project and form of supervision, the TSP should also contain information on the (academic and skills) courses you are going to take, what teaching and/or organizing tasks you are going to get involved in, and what other research related activities you will take on, like visiting a summer school, or planning a research visit abroad. The questions in the form will guide you.

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Appointment of supervisors

(at 6 months, for PhD candidates that are hired on the open positions at ILLC or have their own funding)

PhD candidates who are hired on the open science or humanities positions generally have 6 months to establish their research topic and find supervisors who are willing to guide them towards a research plan and on towards graduation. These PhD candidates are appointed a mentor at the start, to guide them through the first 6 months toward a research topic. Once a research topic or field is established and supervisors have been found, they will need to adjust their Training and Supervision Plan (TSP).

This is a very important step, because without supervisors you cannot continue your PhD track at the ILLC. However, not to worry: your mentor is there to help you with this process.

Once supervisors are found, the PhD candidate should inform Tanja Kassenaar about this.

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Nine-Month Report and feedback

(at 9 months)

At the end of the first year, your supervisors and the director of the ILLC PhD Programme will conduct a first evaluation of your progress (see below). In preparation for this, you need to submit a substantial progress report at the end of the 9th month since the start of your PhD track. This scientific report could be a pilot study, a paper (or one of the final drafts of a paper), or a literature review in the research field you are interested in -- something that gives a clear picture of what you have done so far and also what you plan to do over the next years.

You must discuss the specific content of this report in advance with your supervisors. The report should not contain any material that you have co-authored with others and should end with a short plan (drafted by the PhD candidate) for the research tasks that are to be conducted in the next years.

You can submit your report (in PDF format) via your personal tracking page.

You will receive feedback on your report from your supervisors within three weeks. This will generally be in a personal meeting. As a result of this feedback, you may agree with your supervisors on specific tasks and actions for the next three months, in preparation for the First Year Assessment interview.

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First Year Assessment interview and go/no-go decision

(at 12 months, 1 year)

At 12 months you will have the first assessment interview with your supervisors and an external observer, who may be the director of the PhD Programme, the director of ILLC, or, a member of academic staff at the ILLC who is not part of the supervision team and who is at least as senior as the main supervisor. All researchers involved in supervising your project are advised to be present at this interview. You may also invite an external mediator, provided other parties are informed of this in advance.

This interview should lead to a decision regarding the extension of your position to the full span of 4 years (or 3 years and 2 months). This go/no-go decision is based on the work you have done since the start of your appointment, how you have dealt with specific tasks, actions and advice regarding points for improvement, as well as on the Nine-Month Report and possible adjustments you have made to this after receiving feedback.

Your main supervisor will write an assessment using a form available on your personal tracking page (PhD candidates can view this form, but only supervisors are able to edit it.) You will get a chance to read it, discuss it, and make comments. Once you have agreed with the content of the report, all parties involved will sign it.

In case of a positive decision, the Training and Supervision Plan (TSP) may be adjusted as a result of the assessment.

In case of a negative decision, your contract will not be extended, and you will be officially notified at least 3 months before the end of the first 16 months (Faculty of Humanities) or 18 months (Faculty of Science).

A detailed step-by-step description of what is involved in this assessment can be found here.

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Admission request

(preferably at 12 months)

PhD candidates at the University of Amsterdam are only officially recognized and registered as such once they have been admitted to the doctorate at this university. [N.B.: Please note that this is a different admission than the admission by the ILLC (or Faculty of Humanities) after an application procedure, whether this procedure was for a paid position or for a position on your own funds]

The admission to the doctorate at the UvA involves determining your eligibility to prepare for a doctoral thesis. You must therefore demonstrate that you satisfy the statutory educational entry requirement by presenting the required certificates (the Dutch master diploma [or doctoraal diploma] or the official exemption of these requirements).

The admission also involves appointing your so-called promotor. As is explained in the section on Supervision, in the Netherlands only a full professor can act as promotor. If your main supervisor is not a full professor, someone else will need to be appointed as promotor: preferably a full professor amongst the researchers involved in supervising your project, or otherwise the director of the ILLC. The role of the promotor can range from fully involved supervisor to purely administrative. It is a good idea to discuss this issue with your main supervisor and to state it clearly in your Training and Supervision Plan (TSP).

A promotor should preferably be appointed around the time of your first year assessment interview. This would then also be the best time to request for admission to the Doctorate. You can find the official form on these pages. If by the end of the first year it is still uncertain who the official promotor will be, the admission request may be postponed. However, a final promotor must be assigned and the request be submitted no later than the end of the 3rd year.

The admission request must be signed by the Dean of the Faculty where you are going to graduate, so you should email the contact person at this faculty for an appointment.

If needed, you can also ask Tanja Kassenaar for assistance. The decision on your admission request will take between 4 to 6 weeks. If you feel, however, it is taking too long, please contact the office of the Doctorate Board.

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