Application process

Research assistants and staff PhD candidates are appointed via a job application (vacancy announcement). All other PhD candidates must choose a Graduate School of the university in whose research programme the intended PhD research fits.

Step 1: Orientation

Before applying for a PhD position at the university, it is important that you have thoroughly read the information about the PhD programme on this website.

Step 2: Application

Research assistants and staff PhD candidates are recruited via vacancy announcements on Academic Transfer. If you are not employed by the university you start by selecting a Graduate School of Wageningen in which research programme your intended PhD research fits.

Accordingly you submit an application to that graduate school which includes:

  1. Cover letter describing your motivation to apply.
  2. Preliminary research proposal (approximately two pages), containing:

    •  problem definition
    •  research questions
    •  proposed methodology linked to the research questions
    •  up-to-date literature references
  3. References from at least two supervisors or professors. The references must contain information regarding your performance during the Master programme and should contain a reflection on your capacity to finish a PhD in the area of application.
  4. Curriculum Vitae, including information on education, research experience and, if applicable, list of publications.
  5. Scans of passport and Diploma’s, please read this page for more information about which documents are required.

  6. If you are not Dutch, from a non-Anglophone country and you have not completed your higher education with English as the language of instruction, you have to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. See the English language requirements for more information.

    • Information on funding. The university and the Graduate Schools will usually not assist in finding funding sources. There is a much higher chance of being accepted if funding is secured.

    • For Sandwich PhD candidates: proof of commitment from the home institute

    Step 3: Evaluation

    After you have submitted an application, the graduate school will evaluate your qualifications and will check whether the proposal fits within its research programme. If the proposal meets the graduate school's conditions they will forward it to a prospective supervisor for further evaluation. Applications will be evaluated using to the following criteria:

    • Education level (at least at MSc)   
    • Experience as an independent researcher
    • The publications already published
    • The scientific quality of the preliminary proposal
    • The originality of the preliminary proposal
    • The strategic fitting of research topic in the area of interest of the supervisor and in the research field of supervisor's research group
    • The capacity and expertise that the graduate school and research group have available
    • Fluency in English
    • The available funding

    For Sandwich PhD candidates the university will also evaluate:

    • Financial support from the home institute
    • Academic supervision at the home institute
    • The curriculum vitae of the supervisor in the home country

    If the supervisor accepts a proposal, you can continue to the steps outlined in the timetable. Receiving a response may take some weeks as Wageningen receives many PhD applications.