PhD programme

PhD group photo - June 2023

Celebrating 250 ISS PhD graduates

The stories and knowledge of our doctoral alumni

The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) offers a four-year programme leading to an internationally recognized degree. 

Our PhD researchers work on topics in the field of global development and social justice based on a strong theoretical footing and using cutting-edge qualitative and quantitative methods.

Providing a creative environment for critically-minded and independent scholars

The ISS’s aim is to provide a creative and lively  environment for  critically minded and independent scholars to contribute to positive social change, as well as global justice and equity. Many of our PhD candidates are experienced professionals with a track record in development, activism, academia and/ or public service, enriching the academic exchange with their experiences and views.

Part of our broader research programme

All PhD researchers are invited to participate in our global research programme and in at least one of the research groups:

Collaborative research schools

PhD researchers 'in the driver's seat'

Researchers join a diverse and close-knit community of scholars.

At the moment, 153 PhD candidates from 49 nationalities countries are enrolled in the PhD programme. Many of them work at their own desk in the ISS building, discussing their research with their peers and supervisory team, refining their research proposal, or are in the final phase of writing their thesis. Those in the second and third years of the programme are usually away doing fieldwork, collecting original data to answer their research questions.

Our philosophy is that PhD researchers are 'in the driver’s seat' for their project, working closely with our multidisciplinary and passionate faculty engaged in global development research.

A PhD researcher’s fieldwork activities benefit from belonging to a dynamic and vibrant community,  complimented by rigorous preparation including safety and security training, access to the ISS global network along with experienced and thoughtful guidance and solid institutional support.

ISS occasionally has vacancies for fully-funded PhD candidates, and takes part in several scholarship programmes. However, ISS does not have a scholarship programme of its own, and most PhD candidates organize their own funding, through their government, a foundation, or self-funding.

Candidates find that the PhD trajectory provides them with space to reflect on their experiences and that the degree opens opportunities to continue or change their career path.

PhD researchers speak

Current and past PhD researchers tell us why they decided to do their PhD at ISS.

The dissertation writing exercise was probably the best thing that I ever did in my life.
Moushira Elgeziri
'Grounded ... in the art of doing independent academic and policy relevant research ...'
Nicholas Awortwi
Interesting things will only happen if you're willing to listen
Selwyn Moons

International opportunities with our PhD degree 

Where are ISS PhD graduates employed PhD graduates in academia

Contact the PhD team

Email address

If you have any questions about doing your PhD at the International Institute of Social Studies, please contact the PhD support team.

PhD vacancies at ISS

No vacancies found.

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