Full-time PhD programme information

The full-time PhD track is a four-year programme offered at our institute in Maastricht, leading to a doctoral degree awarded by Maastricht University upon a successful defence of the dissertation. The institute currently hosts about 40 full-time PhD candidates, who are an integral part of the UNU-MERIT community. The programme provides advanced training in the knowledge and skills relevant to the UNU-MERIT research agenda.

The first year of the programme (September 2024 – June 2025):

During the first year, PhD fellows are introduced to the PhD trajectory with a course programme of required and elective courses, taught by leading scholars of UNU-MERIT and our partner universities. These courses are taught in English and spread across two semesters, starting in September. The first semester consists of a programme of compulsory thematic courses, introducing the fellows to the core research areas of the Institute.  During the second semester PhD fellows also follow elective methods courses, which permit them to develop the skills necessary to excel in the research area of their interest.

Throughout the first year, PhD fellows are supported in the further development of their PhD research proposal by interacting with staff members and potential supervisors. Upon successful defence of the proposal, a PhD agreement is developed with the supervisors and the PhD director, setting out the personal development and research plan and additional training needs for the following years.

After the first year (September 2025 onwards)

The first year is followed by three years of dissertation research and broader professional skill development. PhD fellows are encouraged to participate in seminars and other research activities organised at UNU-MERIT and to present their work in international high-level conferences. As part of their trajectories, PhD fellows can contribute to the Institute with activities related to their PhD, such as tutoring in the Masters’ programmes at the Institute, project-based research or other activities such as providing assistance to conferences and workshops, seminar organisation etc., depending on their longer-term career interests, within or outside academia.