PhD candidates

This page is primarily for PhD candidates enrolled at WIAS. Here you can find information about the PhD programme, WIAS requirements, the Training and Supervison Plan (TSP) and the WIAS proposal. If you are not enrolled in WIAS but a prospective PhD candidate please go to “prospective PhD candidates” under more information on the bottom of the page.

Registration at WIAS takes place via your supervisor or chairgoup using the WIAS registration form which can be found in the time table.

PhD Programme

A PhD project at WIAS usually takes four years. The core of the programme is the PhD research project. 

More about our PhD programme

PhD research project 

The PhD research project includes planning and performing research, reporting the results and presenting them to an international audience. The thesis often consists of chapters that are published or publishable in international scientific journals, plus an introduction and a general discussion chapter but other forms are also possible. 

Training and Education 

PhD candidates spend up to 15% of their time on postgraduate training and education, such as courses, seminars, conferences and workshops to broaden their skills, deepen their knowledge and increase their exposure to the international scientific community.  

The WIAS Education Certificate will be awarded upon graduation when the PhD candidate has fulfilled the education requirements. See PhD Training & Education - WUR for more details regarding the rules and regulations of Wageningen University. 


Employed PhD candidates may spend up to 10% of their time teaching and supervising Master's students who participate in the research of the PhD candidate. See Teaching - WUR for more information. 

Aim and learning targets  

According to the ‘Doctoral degree regulations’ of Wageningen University the recipient of the doctorate is capable of:  

  • functioning as an independent practitioner of science, as shown by: formulating scientific questions, whether based on social issues or scientific progress; conducting original scientific research; publishing articles in leading journals, publishing books with leading publishers or making a technical design;
  • integrating his or her own research in, or placing it within the framework of, the corresponding scientific discipline and against the background of a broader scientific area;
  • placing the research aims and research results in a societal context;
  • postulating concisely worded propositions in scientific and societal areas, formulated in such a way that they are subject to opposition and defence.

Timetable for WIAS PhD candidates

Several steps are involved from starting from your PhD application to the final graduation phase. Below you will find the WIAS specific timetable.  

WIAS timetable

The general timetable for WU (Wageningen University) PhD candidates can be found here. The PhD registration of Wageningen University is Hora Finita. The Hora Finita manuals can be read here

Before the start of PhD Registration at WIAS via your supervisor or chair group using the WIAS registration form
Language test and/or Diploma approved by Doctoral Service Centre
Within 3 months Introduction meeting with WIAS executive secretary
Introduction meeting with WIAS education coordinator
Meeting with personal development coach
Within 6 months Send project proposal to WIAS office
Send learning goals and first plan TSP to education coordinator
Within 15 months Go/No-Go decision: supervisor send results (not the form) to WIAS
Within 24 months Send midterm TSP to education coordinator
15 weeks before defence Send final TSP to education coordinator
After graduation Fill in exit questionnaire for WIAS

Training and Supervision Plan (TSP) 

WIAS PhD candidates are encouraged to pass through an education and training programme during their PhD period. The programme aims to transfer the skills and competences needed to become a professional animal scientist.  

More about the TSP

The programme consists of a variety of courses and activities which focus both on in-depth training in the scientific domain of the PhD project, and on the professional skills and competences of the future PhD graduate. 
To facilitate and balance the selection of courses and activities for a newly enrolled PhD candidate a TSP is developed. The TSP focusses on both the personal as well as professional and disciplinary learning goals.  

At the start of the PhD project, the candidate composes a TSP based on:

  1. the personal learning goals, which are formulated in a discussion with the PhD advisor. To support the PhD candidate in developing personal learning goals, LTP (an external professional coaching organization) will invite the candidate to complete an online personal efficacy assessment in the first four weeks after the start of the PhD study. The report of this MyTalent assessment is sent to the PhD candidate and the personal development coach for further discussion.
  2. the professional and disciplinary learning goals that are formulated in a discussion between the PhD candidate and the supervisor(s).

The first TSP documents contain a summary of these discussions and a first draft of the TSP must be approved by the graduate school within the first 6 months after the start of the PhD study. After 2 years, the PhD candidate submits an updated version of his/her TSP to the graduate school. 

TSP documents 

WIAS research proposal 

WIAS PhD candidates must submit a project proposal to WIAS in the first 6 months of their project. Writing a proposal should create ownership of the project. 

More about the PhD proposal


A WIAS PhD proposal should have a good but short literature summary, and ample attention for a workplan. Even in cases when a peer reviewed project proposal is available, we ask the PhD candidate to write a project proposal as the available proposals often do not contain a detailed work plan.  

In exceptional cases, when an extensive project proposal is already available, we ask the PhD candidate or supervisor to contact the WIAS office. WIAS will discuss the option of writing a literature survey with the chair of the Research Committee. The chair of the Research Committee will then decide if a proposal or literature survey should be submitted. 

The proposal will be sent to three reviewers by the WIAS Office. The reviewers assess the scientific quality and the feasibility of the proposed research. The PhD candidate and the supervisor are informed of any suggestions made by the reviewer. In many cases, these suggestions lead to further improvement of the project proposal. The revised project proposal is submitted again to WIAS if required. Once approved a letter of approval is sent to the PhD candidate and the supervisor. 

If the proposal is not approved within a year of the official start date of the PhD candidate, the final TSP of the PhD candidate will not be approved by WIAS. Consequently, a chair group will receive less PhD compensation ('promotievergoeding'). 

Literature survey 

In exceptional cases an extensive peer-reviewed proposal is already available at the start of the PhD project. If the PhD candidate did not write this proposal, the candidate or the supervisor must contact the WIAS office to determine if a literature survey or a research proposal is to be submitted. The literature survey (including an abstract and conclusions) provides an overview of the relevant literature and discusses the consequences of the analysis of literature for the execution of the project of the PhD candidate, with a maximum length of 10,000 words. The literature survey and supporting documents must be submitted within the first six months of the start of the PhD project. The submitted survey is refereed by two WIAS research committee members. The PhD candidate will be invited for an interview by these research committee members.

Proposal and literature survey templates 

Rules, Regulations and Guidelines 

Rules, regulations and guidelines regarding your PhD project can be found below. 

Our rules, regulations and guidelines

Doctoral degree regulations 

The Doctoral degree regulations describe the formal procedures and requirements regarding thesis and defence.  

Code of conduct for academic practice 

All academics and researchers at Wageningen University & Research are required to act in accordance with the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Scientific Integrity. For Wageningen University this code is fully applicable.  

Integrity code 

The Wageningen University & Research Integrity Code formulates the starting points for desirable behaviour for everyone who works within, studies at, and/or represents Wageningen UR. Please read more about the integrity and privacy policy of WUR on these pages

Authorship guidelines 

For most PhD candidates, doing a PhD involves writing scientific publications. As part of this process, the PhD candidate and the supervisory team discuss and agree who qualifies for co-authorship and why, but also on the ranking of the author list.  

More information about publishing guidelines and integrity regulations can be found here.  

WIAS Supervision and teaching guidelines for PhD candidates 

Guidelines for supervision and teaching for PhD candidates of WIAS 

Help and support  

There are several ways to support PhD candidates within WIAS and Wageningen University. Do you need help, support, or advice and you do not know who to turn to? Please check This overview

Read more

Graduate school PhD advisor 

WIAS has two confidential PhD advisors. They are the first resort for PhD candidates who experience problems in their PhD project. All information shared with a PhD advisor is treated confidentially and the advisor will only take further action with the consent of the PhD candidate. The PhD advisor refers to one of the specialised WUR advisors mentioned below when relevant. 

HR department 

PhD candidates employed by WU can ask their HR advisor about matters concerning legal status, tax and pension rights, and other issues affecting them as employees. 

Confidential counsellors 

Unwanted behaviour:

Complaints concerning unwanted behaviour can be filed with the counsellor and eventually submitted to the complaints committee for unwanted behaviour. 

Research integrity:

WU has two Confidential Counsellors for Research Integrity who can be contacted in case of suspected fraud, plagiarism or other scientific misconduct. 

More information about the confidential counsellors and their contact details can be found on the intranet: Support & Mediation

Occupational social work 

PhD candidates who experience problems in their relationship with supervisors or colleagues, or have personal complaints (e.g., burnout or mental health issues) can also directly contact Occupational Social Work (BMW). More information about Occupational Social Work and contact details can be found on the Intranet: Support & Mediation.  

Academic Board 

PhD candidates can file a formal complaint against a decision of their supervisors with the Academic Board. Ultimately, the Academic Board may appoint a different supervisor. 

More information

WIAS PhD projects 

WIAS PhD theses 

Prospective PhD candidates 

To apply for a PhD position we would like to refer you to the website of the PhD programme of Wageningen University.  

Find more information about registration and admission procedure and criteria of Wageningen University & Research here.  

More information about entry requirements and the registration procedure can be found here and here.  

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