PhD Program

The ICS PhD program is designed for graduates in sociology, economics, or one of the other social sciences and in some cases also of other sciences, such as mathematics, computer sciences or history, who would like to acquire a PhD degree and pursue a scientific career.

Each year, the ICS selects 10-15 promising new PhD students. In general about 3-5 students are selected per location.  All members of a new cohort start the program together at the beginning of the new academic year, i.e. September 1. They follow all courses together, thus forming a ‘year group’. All courses consist of a combination of independent work and class meetings. The PhD students work through a set of assignments in small groups and discuss the results in weekly meetings. The diversity in disciplinary backgrounds makes this method of education interesting and fruitful. Due to their different backgrounds, joint assignments, and close communication, students also learn a good deal from each other. Supervision is close and the PhD students are under pressure to produce good results.

The ICS PhD training program is intense and highly structured, while at the same time providing ample opportunities to the PhD students to develop a project of their own.
The structure of the training program is as follows:

  • During the entire four‑year period, work on the dissertation is carried out under close supervision of ICS faculty and external experts.
  • In the initial eighteen months, students are offered various courses in theory construction, research methods, and the integration of theory and research methods, in combination with practical training.
  • During all courses, the PhD students work in small groups on assignments with special emphasis on a critical application of theoretical knowledge to problems of empirical research.
  • In the remaining thirty months, the PhD students regularly present their research in progress in seminars attended by ICS faculty and other university faculty. This phase likewise includes an external traineeship.

Access to the program depends upon the quality of the applicants and is independent of the place of their undergraduate training. Because all courses and seminars are in English, non-Dutch students can easily follow the program.