General admission procedure

To be able to defend a PhD thesis, Dutch law stipulates that PhD candidates must be formally admitted to a PhD programme. Wageningen University requires candidates to obtain admission within 18 months (at the very latest) after the start of the PhD project. Even when a PhD candidate is invited by a supervisor to come to Wageningen, he/she must still obtain formal admittance.

To be formally admitted to the PhD Programme, the following requirements must be met:

1 Proficiency in the English language.
(Non-Dutch) PhD candidates from non-Anglophone countries are required to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS). This certificate is not a requirement for PhD candidates who have completed their higher education with English as the language of instruction.

Requirements are:

-       TOEFL internet-based 90, with minimum sub-score 20 (was 23) for speaking

-       IELTS (academic version) 6.5, with minimum sub-score 6.0 for speaking

-       Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) with minimum grade C (was B)

-       Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) any grade

-       RATEr: This is a local test that can only be done at Wageningen University. To meet the entry requirements the following scores must be obtained*:

    • Reading & Vocabulary 23

    • Writing 47

    • Speaking 62

    • Listening 23

 *Candidate must pass all elements to get an overall pass


English language test results should not be older than 24 months, and all PhD candidates must have passed one of the English language tests mentioned above prior to the start of their PhD.

2 Evaluation of the PhD candidate’s diploma(s) and academic records.
Graduates holding an degree from non-NVAO accredited Master must have their diplomas evaluated by by NUFFIC (Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education). On the basis of this evaluation, the Dean of Research decides to approve the level of the training or to require a qualifying exam. A qualifying exam is a test of the academic level of the candidate, in particular on subjects relevant for the envisaged PhD research. A qualifying exam generally consists of maximum 12 ECTS credits and has to be completed within one year after the project has started, or earlier if the moment of the go/no-go decision requires so. The candidate will not be formally admitted until he/she has passed this exam.

3 Payment of fees (applies only to certain categories of PhD candidates)

4 Approval of the Training and Supervision Plan (TSP) by the graduate school where the PhD candidate is enrolled.

5 Approval of the research proposal by the graduate school where the PhD candidate is enrolled.

6 Evaluation of the PhD candidate’s progress and performance after approximately one year (or 18 months at the very latest). This evaluation (the ‘Go/No-Go interview’) determines whether a PhD candidate may remain in the PhD programme.