What is the life of a PhD candidate like?

Over the course of our four-year PhD program, you will develop into an independent researcher. You will write scientific publications and present your research results at conferences. Under the supervision of a professor, you will also do cutting-edge research within the field of your choice. In doing so, you will collaborate with other departments, research groups, industrial partners, and research institutions, depending on your research subject. In addition, you will be involved in teaching our students. After writing and successfully defending your dissertation, you will receive the doctoral title Dr. or PhD. 

PhD candidates are valued members of TU/e’s staff. If you have an employment contract with TU/e, you will receive a salary during your training. You will also be entitled to good employee benefits. Please find more information on the TU/e conditions of employment on our working-at website.

Life as PhD

In this section, PhD candidates and professors from various departments and research groups share their successes, challenges, and dreams. What is the life of a PhD candidate like? They also explain how the Eindhoven University of Technology distinguishes itself in their field. What makes working at TU/e special for these PhD candidates and their colleagues? Finally, what unresolved question inspires them?

Making materials of the future

Polymer Technology

"TU/e’s recognized position in my field and Patrick’s strong international reputation and leadership style swung the decision for me. The combination of fascinating lab work, networking with companies and the lively social scene in Eindhoven really inspires me", explains PhD candidate Prakhyat Hejmady in a conversation with two professors of the Polymer Technology Group.

Molecular Systems and Materials Chemistry

Supramolecular Chemistry

"Having worked in labs on several continents, I particularly enjoy the excellent infrastructure, great atmosphere and exceptionally strong collaborative spirit in Eindhoven. The facilities in the laboratories greatly facilitate the fundamental science I do, and I enjoy the refreshing interaction with chemists who focus on the applied science aspects”, explains PhD candidate Mathijs Mabesoone.

Chemical and Process Technology

Sustainable Chemical Processes

"I would recommend TU/e to colleagues because of its professors, as well as the facilities and close links to industry. Another point I would mention is the ready availability of funding, in stark comparison to universities in many other countries: I was fortunate enough to be accepted for a combined public-private research program” states PhD candidate Rohit Maitri.

The Connected World

Wireless Technology

"My area of research, millimeter wave channel sounding, is of direct interest to and partly funded by KPN, the largest telecom provider in the Netherlands. Very much applied science and not so theoretical, but of high societal value. Just another facet of TU/e’s broad range of capabilities", claims PhD candidate Robbert Schulpen in a conversation with two professors also associated with the Centre for Wireless Technology.

Photonics is the answer


"TU/e is a steppingstone to both academic and more commercial career paths. Particularly in this area through TU/e’s Institute for Photonic Integration (IPI). Any researcher looking for an exciting project and the opportunity to publish in this area should put Eindhoven at the top of their list", claims PhD candidate John van Weerdenburg in a conversation with two professors also associated with IPI.

Care and Cure

Visual Coding

"TU/e has opened up a world of opportunity to me. I’m working on important projects, the funding is there, the links with industry are fascinating and there are all kinds of opportunities for developing my career. Eindhoven’s buzz and nightlife is also very attractive for people of my age. TU/e is an ideal place for people who want to engage in research of real societal value", says PhD candidate Francesca Manni.

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In general, becoming a PhD will take 4 years. Curious about the steps? Watch our video or browse our Infographic.


TU/e aims to enable PhD candidates to grow into self‐aware, independent scientific researchers. To successfully complete your PhD, and become an independent scientific researcher, we consider these six competences to be important. Still, each project requires a different mix of skills and attitude. Some projects require excellent (intercultural) communication skills, while other projects need more of a creative approach to the research, or a higher level of autonomy. Of course, research progress remains central to your PhD performance.

  • Academic Attitude

    Scientific integrity, autonomy & ownership, and an inquisitive mind.

  • Academic Thinking

    Analytical, abstract and conceptual thinking.

  • Communication

    Academic writing, presenting, and oral expression.

  • Research Project Management

    Organizing & executing, planning, and setting priorities.

  • Social Effectiveness

    Collaborating, networking, and supervising.

  • Personal Effectiveness

    Resilience, self‐motivation, and continuous learning.


As a PhD candidate, you will plunge into an intensive learning experience over a period of four (or five) years. Learning takes place all the time, both consciously and subconsciously: on the job, when interacting with others, while (informally) researching, and during courses and workshops. To support and facilitate the development of your competences, TU/e offers a dedicated training program for PhD candidates. The PROOF program supports the development of competencies described in the PhD Competence Profile by offering courses on Academic Competencies, Transferable Competencies, and Personal Qualities. In addition, you can follow courses on Research Skills, Teaching Skills, and Career Orientation. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process!

Current PhD candidates can access the full PROOF offer on the TU/e intranet here.


If you have been offered an extended PhD contract to take up extra teaching tasks (PhD-Teaching Assistant), TU/e offers you a dedicated educational program. Teaching can be a rewarding task, but it is a big responsibility as well. To support you in this role, you get the chance to learn the basics of teaching.

You will take modules from the official University Teaching Qualification Program (UTQ). In addition, you can attend lunch meetings and workshops on education-related topics. You will get the opportunity to explore the possibilities of a teaching career in secondary education and obtain a second or first-grade teaching degree. Under certain conditions it is even possible to obtain a full UTQ. Current PhD candidates can access an overview of the educational program here

Ask a PhD

Do you have a question about life as a PhD in Eindhoven? Ask one of our PhD candidates.