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Doctoral research

Ghent University provides maximum opportunity for creative young researchers to develop their ideas. Our university boasts a considerable number of research centres that cover all scientific domains. Guided by a supervisor you get to the core of fundamental or particular issues. You enter an engaging environment and you will be given ample opportunity to acquire a range of skills and experiences.

Interested in a PhD? How to go about it

There are essentially two possibilities to start a PhD at Ghent University. You can either apply for an open PhD position or you can have a UGent professor to act as your PhD supervisor (or 'promotor'). In that case you can either look for your own funding or the professor can apply for a UGent salary.

  • Via a UGent professor: the majority of scientific staff starts work at UGent by explicit invitation of a promotor. Because all PhD applications must be supported by a UGent supervisor it is crucial you identify the appropriate professor.
Tip: doctoral candidates with external funding are advised to have clear agreement with their supervisor on additional allowances for their research stay (cf. supervision allowance or bench fee).

Application and admission

Doctoral studies are open to holders of a master degree (or a degree of minimum four years of study considered equivalent).

All doctoral candidates with a foreign degree (exc. Netherlands & Luxemburg) need to complete a (mostly administrative) procedure during which the academic aspects (equivalence of your degree, research proposal, language skills) will be evaluated. This procedure may take some time (discounting even the time spent gathering your documents and applying for a visa).

  • Application procedure - PhD supervisors  are invited to register their international candidates who have acquired funding via the online tool PhD Wizard. In that case the standard application procedure (for candidates without funding) will be slightly different.
  • Joint PhD - if the candidate spends at least 6 months at another institution a joint doctoral degree might be interesting > Joint PhD procedure in detail

After assessment of your application dossier, Ghent University will inform you of the decision by sending you an official letter, signed by the Rector. With this letter of admission you will be able to enrol and to apply for a visa.

Enrolment as a PhD student

All PhD researchers must enrol as student at the Central Student Administration Office at the start of their study, as well as re-enrol every following academic year (until graduation).

Registration at a Doctoral School

The Doctoral Schools are there to complement the supervisor's work with in-depth courses, with training in transferable skills and through stimulating a dynamic research environment.

Life as a PhD researcher