ISS offers a four-year programme leading to the internationally recognized degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Development Studies. Since the inception of the programme in the 1980s, over 100 PhD Degrees have been awarded by the ISS.
Until July 2009, ISS was legally entitled to to award its own PhD degrees. Now that the Institute has joined Erasmus University in Rotterdam, its PhD students will formally receive an Erasmus University PhD Degree.
About 90 students are enrolled in the PhD programme, all in a different phase of their doctorate. Most of them are at work in their own office in the ISS building, refining their research proposal, based on one of the ISS’s research themes, or conducting a literature search, or they are in the final phase of writing their thesis. Those in the second year of the programme are away doing fieldwork.
Students benefit from access to a multidisciplinary faculty working on different aspects of development problems, combined with fieldwork under local guidance and with institutional support.
CERES Research School
ISS participates with other academic institutes in the Netherlands in the CERES Research School (Research School for Resource Studies for Development). PhD students participate in the CERES Research School’s activities These activities include special courses and workshops, which provide an opportunity to interact with PhD students from other universities in the Netherlands.
Applications for the PhD programme are welcomed from qualified candidates wishing to undertake research on a specific topic within one of the Institute’s broad research areas.
Apply to the PhD programme via the online application procedure. In your application you have to indicate for which research programme you want to be considered. The link to the brochure above will provide you with more information on areas, subcategories, researchers and publications in a specific field. There are three programmes and one so-called research initiative:
It is assumed that before submitting an application for entry to the PhD programme, applicants will have done some preparatory work on the proposed topic of study.
Admission will depend on the quality of the applicant’s research proposal and its relevance to the Institute’s research interests. Applicants are required to submit a research proposal of approximately 5,000 words which incorporates:
- a statement of the research issue, setting out the temporal, geographic and conceptual limits of the work
- the potential contribution of the research to theory and/or policy making
- a concise formulation of the research issues
- a brief review of the theoretical background and the main analytical approaches to be followed
- a specification of the main expected methods of data collection and processing
- proposed table of contents for the thesis
- references and bibliography
Research proposal examples
The pdf documents below offer examples of successful research proposals
Additional support on writing proposals may be found at: