PhD Programme / ILLC




Obtaining a PhD degree at the ILLC will, in general, take four years. During those four years you will be trained to become a fully qualified researcher. In the first year you will explore your field of research, determine your topic in more detail, and prepare a plan for the rest of your PhD track. It may be necessary to take some scientific courses to refresh, complement or specialize your knowledge. The first year also serves as a trial period, after which it is decided whether you can continue and finish your PhD or not.

The following diagram outlines activities and tasks during a 4-year PhD track regarding research, scientific training, teaching and organizational duties, and training on transferable skills. Click on each year to see more details regarding procedures.

Every year, you will have an annual evaluation meeting with your supervisors, to review your progress and ascertain whether your research is still on schedule. Should there be any problems, a plan of action will be drawn up to remedy them.

In general, the second and third year will mainly be spent doing research, writing papers, going to conferences or workshops, reviewing, and optionally going on a research visit abroad. In summer you may attend summer schools. Furthermore you may spend part of your time on teaching or organizational tasks such as organizing a conference or workshop, participating in the PhD Council or editing the ILLC magazine. Apart from academic training, you will receive training in domain-general skills during the first, second and third year. See the section on training for more information.

Finally, the fourth year typically involves typing up the last loose ends and writing your dissertation. If all goes well, after four years you will defend your thesis in front of a committee, graduate, and receive a doctoral degree.



During the first year, you will usually find that you need some extra training in a certain topic. As a PhD candidate, you have access to a wide variety of courses given at the UvA. This includes advanced courses in the Master of Logic programme, many of which are research courses taught at PhD-level.

Furthermore, the ILLC is home to several seminar series and colloquia. During a typical week, there will be at least three research talks organized on ILLC premises. This is complemented by similar events organised at neighbouring institutions, such as the CWI and the ACLC. For an overview of regular events happening at the ILLC, see here.

Transferable skills

The ILLC PhD programme includes a number of non-academic courses. These courses are meant to train you in general skills that will be useful to you within as well as outside of academia.

The transferable skills programme consists of the following courses:

  • Introductory meeting at your faculty, Humanities or Science (year 1)
  • Project Management (year 1)
  • Scientific Integrity Training (year 1)
  • Teaching skills training (only Science, before you teach)
  • Presentation Skills (year 2)
  • Academic Writing (year 2)
  • Career Development (year 3)

Further details about the content of the courses and other training ativities can be found in the Transferable Skills Programme section. Optional additional skills courses can also be followed via the Graduate School of Humanities. Registration for all skills courses will take place via the ILLC Office.

International events

As a PhD candidate, you are likely to attend conferences abroad and you might visit summer schools abroad. The ILLC covers, within well-defined limits, the costs of travel and accomodation for conferences and summer schools related to your research. More details can be found in Financial Matters.


Gaining teaching experience is an important part of your doctoral training. Whether or not you are formally required to teach, depends on the faculty at which you are employed. See types of contracts for more information.

Faculty of Humanities (FGw)

At the FGw there is no formal teaching requirement. Instead you are employed on a part-time 0.8 fte position. However, if you do want to gain teaching experience, you are entitled to spend 0.2 fte during one year on teaching. During the time that you are teaching, your contract will be extended to full-time, 1 fte. You can discuss these options with your supervisor and the ILLC Programme director.

Faculty of Science (FNWI)

If you are employed by FNWI, your position is full-time and you should spend around 20% of your time on teaching tasks.