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ACES part-time PhD Programme

Amsterdam Centre for European Studies - ACES

ACES part-time PhD programme was launched in 2019. The programme is intended for candidates pursuing a self-financed PhD with ACES affiliated supervisors of the four participating UvA faculties. Successful candidates will receive a PhD from the University of Amsterdam, following the normal admission, review, and defence procedures.

Target audience

The ACES part-time PhD programme is aimed primarily at policy practitioners and researchers in Brussels and The Hague, working in the EU institutions (Commission, Parliament, Council, etc.), government ministries, embassies, think tanks, NGOs, trade associations, lobbying organizations, etc. 


ACES’s offer includes:                                                  

  • Assistance in finding a supervisor from a roster of affiliated researchers with promotion rights.
  • At least 4 meetings per year with the supervisor, either in person or by Skype.
  • Free access to research design and methods courses offered by the graduate schools of the participating faculties.
  • Participation in ACES academic and public events (lectures, seminars, workshops, conferences, masterclasses).

Part-time PhD candidates are required to complete short courses on research integrity and academic writing as required by the participating graduate or research schools. Arrangements will be made to ensure that they are able to do so, either in Amsterdam or in Brussels.


Part-time PhD candidates may be asked to pay an annual fee, this is subject to the particular faculty policy. The fee is used to cover the costs of library access, ICT, insurance, and trips to Brussels by participating supervisors.

Application requirements

  • Applicants should have a Dutch master’s degree in a relevant discipline, or equivalent from another university.
  • Applicants should submit a motivation letter, a CV, a short thesis proposal (2-5 page), and one reference letter. The motivation letter should contain information on the candidate’s practical capacities to undertake the PhD, including employer support for the project.
  • As a rule of thumb, external PhD candidates should have a minimum of one day per week off from work - averaged over the year - to work on the thesis.


Candidates can express their interest by email; applications can be submitted all year round. Once a candidate has been accepted by a supervisor and the relevant graduate or research school, they are expected to produce a fully elaborated thesis proposal within six months and an initial chapter or long paper within one year. The long paper serves as the basis for a go/no-go decision by the doctoral committee for the continuation of the project, following the normal procedures of the graduate school. The target time for completion is four-five years.