How to become a PhD candidate

Becoming a PhD candidate

You have several options for pursuing a PhD at the Eindhoven University of Technology. Namely, you can become a PhD candidate with or without employment. Most PhD candidates are employed by TU/e. However, you can also become a PhD candidate by seeking funding yourself. Some PhD candidates work part-time on their PhD. Read on for more information about the admission requirements, the different options to get a PhD, and the support for international candidates.

What requirements do I have to meet?

The most important admission criteria are your scientific qualities: you must be familiar with the theory and methodology of your field of study. In addition, an education requirement applies. You must have a Dutch master's degree (old-style doctoral degree) or a foreign equivalent. Not every foreign preparatory and/or master's program automatically gives you access to a Dutch PhD track. This will be assessed per candidate. Since English is the working language in science, we expect a C1 level from our PhD candidates. Please read the job description(s) carefully for any additional requirements. 

Employed by TU/e

Most PhD candidates join the university to complete a PhD program. In that case, you start by applying for an announced and specific PhD position. If you are accepted, you will have the status of an employee during your training. As a PhD candidate, you are a valued member of TU/e’s staff. You will receive a salary and excellent employee benefits. PhD candidates employed by the university spend a minimum of 10% of their time on teaching tasks. 

A full-time PhD typically lasts four years. Sometimes you can apply for a PhD-TA (Teaching Assistant) position. In other cases, you may be able to change your contract to a PhD-TA track later. Naturally, in consultation with your supervisor and only if the department can facilitate this. A PhD-TA track takes five years. You can spread this extra year, which is entirely devoted to teaching, over the entire contract period.  

Open PhD positions

Are you interested and do you meet the requirements? If so, we look forward to your application!

Follow the link below to discover all available PhD positions, and filter by department for example. You can also find more information about the application process on our working-at website. 

Without an employment contract

You can also become a PhD candidate without an employment contract at TU/e. In that case, you might have another agreement with TU/e or a third party to follow a PhD program. For example, you could have an employer who supports you financially. Or you receive a scholarship from another organization. You also have the option of not entering into a collaboration with a third party. However, you can sometimes receive material and/or financial support in that case. 

If you do a PhD alongside other work, this usually extends your PhD track. Without an employment contract, you have no teaching obligations at TU/e.


Without an employment contract, you are responsible for finding a supervisor yourself. The first step is then to find a professor who is willing to advise you on your project. Depending on the type of research, TU/e may also appoint a supervisor. 

Tuition fee

PhD candidates that are not hired by TU/e are required to pay an annual tuition fee. This fee covers educational and operational costs.

Type of PhD not on TU/e payroll (NOP) Annual tuition fee Annual tuition fee using expensive technology
CSC scholarships Not applicable Not applicable; use of expensive technology only after approval
Scholarships € 15.000 € 35.000
Externally financed € 15.000 € 35.000
Externals € 5.000 € 25.000

Note that the managing director of the department may grant a (partial) waiver of the tuition fee. Possible reasons to grant a waiver can be:

  • not working fulltime on the PhD track
  • having a small scholarship
  • not using the campus facilities or labs
Become a PhD candidate as international

Support for internationals

Moving to another country, with its different habits, rules, and procedures, can be a big step. TU/e has a special support team to help you with your transfer. They can assist you with housing, residence and labor permits, and other practical matters. Additionally, TU/e promotes a healthy work-life balance and has many facilities to help you feel right at home.

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