PhD and corona

The COVID-19 measures announced by the government of the Netherlands are affecting not only social life but also education and research at Wageningen University & Research. On this page we want to inform you what the consequences are for PhD research, PhD education and PhD defences, including the continuation of research currently conducted as well as research planned by PhD (and related BSc and MSc) candidates.

Last update: 26 April 2021

    General guidelines

    What do I do when I get a cold, sneeze and/or cough frequently, have a sore throat or start developing a fever?

    What does self-quarantine mean?

    • Stay at the place where you are in quarantine. Do not receive visitors.
    • During the self-quarantine period do not travel or go to another location in the Netherlands.
    • If you do not develop symptoms that could be caused by coronavirus, you can end the self-quarantine after 10 days.

    The following rules apply during self-quarantine:

    • Do not use public transport.
    • Do not visit the Campus of WUR.
    • Nobody may visit you, except for medical purposes (for example, a doctor or a GGD official).
    • If you need medical assistance do not go to your doctor or the hospital, but phone the doctor instead.
    • Ask other people to do grocery shopping for you.

    Delay PhD programme irt COVID-19

      The general aim of Wageningen University is that all started projects can be finished. Because each PhD and Post-Doc project is unique (discipline, methods, stage, etc.), tailor-made solutionsare needed to reduce experienced or expected delays of individual PhD and Post-Doc projects or enable extensions. PhD candidates, Post-Docs and (co)promotor(s) should carefully consider the following options to minimise delays in individual PhD programmes.

      1. Focus temporarily on other work of your PhD.
      2. Rearrange planned studies.
      3. Redesign your studies
      4. Consider the requirements for a thesis.
      5. Buy more time through an extension. Discuss with the funding organisation(s) of your project whether an extension of your contract
        and project is possible.

      Travel guidelines and self-quarantine

      Most PhD candidates are currently allowed to travel to Wageningen. Once in Wageningen, they should strictly adhere to the safety rules, regulations and guidelines of WUR for working in WUR facilities.

      Negative COVID-19 test result and declaration requirement upon arrival in the Netherlands

      If you are travelling to the Netherlands you are required to show a negative covid-19 PCR test result (exemptions to this are countries noted on the EU list of safe countries).
      If you are travelling from a country outside the EU/Schengen area, you are also required to present a negative test declaration bearing your signature.
      Travellers arriving by aircraft or ferry must also provide proof that they have tested negative for coronavirus following a rapid test done no more than 4 hours prior to boarding.
      More information about the negative covid-19 test result and declaration you can find on this website of the government.
      On the website from Netherlands worldwide you can find information where you can get a PCR or rapid test outside the Netherlands.

      The government is introducing extra travel restrictions that will take effect on Saturday 23 January 2021 at 00.01.

      All passengers travelling to the Netherlands by air or sea from high-risk areas must be able to produce a negative result of a rapid covid-19 test performed shortly before their departure. The test must not have been performed more than four hours prior to boarding the aircraft or ship. This requirement is in addition to the existing mandatory negative test result for a PCR test performed no more than 72 hours before arrival in the Netherlands.

      A ban on flights from the United Kingdom and a docking ban for ferries from the United Kingdom is in force. A flight ban is also in force for passenger flights from the following other countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

      Self-quarantine for arriving PhD candidates

      If you are arriving from a country/area which has an entry ban for the Netherlands or from a country or area where an 'orange or red' travel advice (of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs) applies, you need to self-quarantine for 10 days after arriving in Wageningen.
      The travel advice (which can be found here) for each country indicates whether or not a person is advised to self-quarantine after arriving in the Netherlands. This page is unfortunately only available in Dutch. You can check if you need to self-quarantine by entering the country you are traveling from in the “Voer hier uw land of gebied in” section. If your country has an orange or red travel code the advice is to self-quarantine.
      More information in English about which travellers should self-quarantine on arrival in the Netherlands and about how to self-quarantine you can find at this website from the Government.

      Self-quarantine instructions for promotors

      New PhD candidates traveling to the Netherlands from abroad may have to self-quarantine upon arrival in the Netherlands. Wageningen University follows the current guidelines and advice of the Dutch government. The promotor is requested to support the PhD candidate during the quarantine period. During this quarantine period, a PhD candidate is not allowed to use public transport and must stay at home. If a PhD candidate needs to self-quarantine upon arrival in the Netherlands, he/she must therefore be picked up from the airport or travel by taxi. In Wageningen, a fellow PhD candidate from your chair group must be appointed as a buddy to support the new PhD candidate. This buddy must assist the PhD candidate with groceries and other matters that may need to be arranged.

      PhD research

      • On campus research by PhD candidates can continue if the research activities follow the regulations and guidelines of Wageningen
        University & Research ( PhD candidates should consult their promotor and jointly decide the
        best way forward. This may include decisions on continuation or termination of already started field and/or laboratory research.
      • Laboratories and experimental farms where research is conducted may have developed specific rules following the containment of the
        Coronavirus. Be aware of these new rules and in case of uncertainties discuss your research with the head of the laboratory and/or the manager of experimental farm.

      PhD education

      Until January 16, 2021, all WGS courses will be held online.

      BSc/MSc supervision and teaching

      • Experimental bachelor and master thesis research may continue.
      • If you – as a PhD candidate  – are involved in BSc and/or MSc education please see the dedicated communication for teachers. The course coordinator or your chairholder will be able to provide them.

      PhD defences

      From 13 May 2021 on, PhD defences can be held in the Aula again, with the following conditions:

      • One, or after approval by the Dean of Research two, opponent(s) are allowed to attend the defence online. So, minimal three (or after approval two) opponents have to be present in the Aula, including at least one WU (associate) professor.
      • The PhD candidate, at least one promotor and the first WU opponent have to be present in the Aula.
      • Max. 15 guests are allowed in the audience.

      The livestream for all public defences is .

        For PhD defences organised in the Aula, the regular procedure from the doctoral degree regulations applies with regard to the number of PhD theses submitted to the PhD office (15) and the presence of paranymphs (max. 2, not compulsory)..

        Travel policy

        In order to limit the number of international travel movements in order to prevent the spread of the virus as much as possible, the defence form (digital or physical) must be carefully considered. Promotors are responsible for adhering to the following guidelines when making this decision.

        • Committee members from areas or countries that are not on the safe countries list should not travel to The Netherlands until at least 15 May 2021. Governmental (and thus WUR) travel restrictions after 15 May have not yet been announced, but are likely to remain similar to those up till 15 May.
        • Committee members from countries or areas that designate Wageningen / Gelderland as a code red or code orange area (and thus make quarantine compulsory when they return home) will often not be inclined to physically participate in a PhD defence in Wageningen.
        • With the current guidelines, it is possible that a planned PhD defence cannot (or no longer) physically take place in the Aula because committee members are unable or unwilling to travel to the Aula in Wageningen. It is not allowed to replace committee members for this reason.

        Online defence procedure

        Online defences are possible at least until the end of the academic year 2020-2021. The conditions that apply to the online defences will stay the same and are:

          1. Only 4 hard copies of the final thesis have to be handed in at the PhD office.
          2. The PhD candidate ensures that the opponents have a hard copy of the thesis before the digital defense date.
          3. Signing of the diploma by all parties will be done after the public defense at a later date (see below).

        All participants in the digital defence must have access to Microsoft Teams.

        Similar to the standard public defence procedure it is oblicatory to give a presentation (“lekenpraatje”) before the defence.

        Room for PhD candidates to attend online defence

        PhD candidates can use room Atlas1 to attend an online PhD defence. This room has a Videoconferencing set and is available for the PhD candidate and paranimphs. Please contact the Atlas reception ( to book the room for your defence. The reception can also help you to get support for using the VC-set.


        The channel will be active about five minutes before the start of the ceremony.


        Paranymphs can partipicate in online defences. Please note that no separate invitation links will be sent to them. If you wish paranymphs to be present (and if they are not in the same room as you), then you must forward the invitation link to them yourself. If a paranymph is available, she/he can read out a proposition, if required. If no paranymph is present, the opponent can read the proposition before asking her/his question.

        Signing of the diploma

        The Diploma (already signed by a member of the Academic Board) has to be signed by the promotor(s), co-promotor(s) and candidate. The PhD office will contact you to make an appointment to sign. In case the candidate is not present in Wageningen, the Diploma (signed by all others) will be sent to the candidate via registered mail. After the candidate has signed the Diploma, she/he has to provide the PhD office with a scan or high resolution, professional quality photo of 1MB or more of the Diploma.