Research Theology

Tilburg School of Catholic Theology explains the catholic tradition in the context of contemporary society and studies the spiritual needs of the individual.

Prospective PhD students

There are several ways to obtain a PhD degree at Tilburg University:


PhD candidates (employed by Tilburg University)

PhD candidates is  this category are temporary employees of Tilburg University, usually for a period of three or four years. The Dutch term for this category is 'promovendus'.

1. Availability of PhD positions

The research groups of the School of Catholic Theology regularly offer vacancies for PhD tracks. These PhD tracks are a three or four years offer, with the option of a part-time appointment of 80%.

2. Announcements

The profile of a PhD position is determined in general terms by the Vice Dean for Research, having regard to the preferred lines of research in the concerning program and leaving enough scope for candidates to write proposals. The announcement is submitted to the Management Team for approval. The position is announced internally, nationally and internationally through the appropriate channels (such as relevant job advertising websites, mailing lists) and via the employment officer of the School.

3. Applications

Graduate School policy is to stimulate candidates to propose high-level projects. Thus, advertising for the position is broad and open; no content of a project is specified; the research programs and the lines of research expounded there are the guiding framework.

4. Assessment criteria

Assessment takes place on the basis of the general NWO (The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) assessment criteria:

a. Academic quality

  • importance of the proposed research
  • originality of the research question and/or method
  • clarity of the problem or issue
  •  appropriateness of the approach/methodology
  • feasibility of the research proposal, as apparent from:
    • quality of the proposed researcher who is to carry it out (if applicable)
    • quality of the relevant research group, supervisor(s)
    • infrastructure
    • work plan
    • international orientation
    • multidisciplinary cooperation

b. Embedding in a program

  • The extent to which the proposal fits into the research program and the central research lines pursued in it.
  • Project descriptions are assessed by experts in terms of their being feasible or not (A (feasible), B (possibly feasible after adjustments), C (not feasible)). In addition, these experts present a motivated prioritization to the Faculty Research Platform, which also looks into further funding possibilities.

5. Selection and allotment

The Vice Dean for Research appoints experts for the selection of projects and candidates. Both internal and external senior researchers can be approached to fulfill this task. The Vice Dean for Research presents his/her findings (also based on interviews with the applicants) together with those of the experts to the Dean, who formally decides about the selection of the candidate and the advice to appoint him or her.

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External PhD candidates (not employed by Tilburg University)

PhD candidates in this category are not employed by Tilburg University. The link with Tilburg University is primarily through the supervisor.

The Graduate School is committed to improving the involvement of external PhD students in the faculty by allowing them to take part in the faculty's training program and by offering them certain facilities.

1. PhD track

External PhD students (i.e. PhD students without an employment contract of Tilburg University) in principle follow the same PhD track as PhD student-employees. Regardless of their legal employment status with respect to the university, all PhD students are entitled to:

  • a project description
  • a training and supervision plan
  • a set of facilities

For PhD students without an employment contract, university employees’ rights and duties do not apply. As a consequence, PhD student non-employees cannot be assigned teaching tasks. However, they will have a PhD research assignment.

2.  PhD training

The Graduate School Board, on the basis of the advice of the intended supervisor, determines if and in what way these students are to take part in the training program offered by the Graduate School and generally how they are to be involved in the Graduate School's academic program. The Graduate School can ask for a financial contribution for this.

3. Application procedure

Please send in the following documents:

  • Project descriptions
  • Certified copies of your university diplomas, including a list of results (plus English transcripts)
  • A copy of the master's thesis or a comparable essay
  • Proof of sufficient financial means

4. Assessment criteria

Assessment takes place on the basis of the general NWO (The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) assessment criteria:

a. Quality of the research proposal

  • Scientific importance/impact
  • Originality of the research question and/or method
  • Clarity of the problem or issue
  • Appropriateness of the approach/methodology
  • Feasibility of the research proposal, as apparent from:
    • quality of the proposed researcher who is to carry it out
    • quality of the relevant research group, supervisor(s)
    • infrastructure
    • work plan

b. Embedding in a research program

The extent to which the research proposal fits into the research program and the central research lines pursued in it.

5. If the application is successful

  • If desired, the personnel affairs staff may help you with immigration issues.
  • If desired, the personnel affairs staff may help you with finding accommodation.
  • Your intended supervisor will contact you regarding the facilities you need to be able to carry out your research, and will contact the faculty's Management Team to inquire if the faculty can meet with these requirements.
  • You will be asked to apply for assignment of a supervisor by way of the formal application form. As a consequence, you will be informed about the activities of the Graduate School for Theology.

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PhD candidates with a grant

This category consists of international PhD candidates who are not employed by Tilburg University, but who have a grant which allows them to carry out their research.

  • The Graduate School is committed to improving the involvement of PhD students with a grant in the faculty by allowing them to take part in the faculty's training program and by offering them certain facilities.
  • The application procedure for PhD candidates with a grant resembles the procedure for External PhD students.

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