PhD-student Sense of belonging in higher education

PhD-student Sense of belonging in higher education

Published Deadline Location
13 May 14 Jun Rotterdam

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An important, yet understudied, factor concerning inequalities between diverse students in higher education is sense of belonging. Poor sense of belonging may negatively impact academic success. More knowledge is needed, because the sense of belonging concept for diverse students in higher education is ambiguous and ill-operationalised in literature.

Job description

We are looking for a PhD-student who will first use a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to develop a multidimensional sense of belonging scale for diverse students (low/high socio-economic background, migrant/non-migrant) in higher education, and to examine its psychometric properties (reliability and construct validity) and measurement invariance for diverse groups of students. The PhD-student will involve diverse students in the scale development process as their perspectives and experiences are a prerequisite in understanding students’ sense of belonging in higher education.

The multidimensional sense of belonging scale will then be used to investigate relations between sense of belonging, academic motivation and academic success for diverse students in higher education over time. The PhD-student will longitudinally investigate diverse students’ sense of belonging development in higher education, including the reciprocal relations with academic motivation and academic success, via surveys which will be administered among first-year Bachelor students three times during the academic year.

Following the thorough validation of the sense of belonging concept for diverse students and the investigation of relationships between sense of belonging, academic motivation and academic success, the PhD-student will develop a sense of belonging intervention in order to intervene on Bachelor-1 students who are at risk for academic dropout due to a lack of sense of belonging in higher education. The sense of belonging intervention will be quantitatively and qualitatively evaluated.


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)


  • A recently finished Master in Educational Sciences, Psychology, Sociology or Research Master;
  • Knowledge of and/ or affinity with theory and research on diversity in (higher) education;
  • Experience and affiliation with quantitative and qualitative research methods;
  • Excellent command of both Dutch and English;
  • Flexibility and dedication;
  • Excellent analytical and organizational skills;
  • Ability to work well in a team, as well as autonomously.


Conditions of employment

Internationally-oriented and varied work within an enthusiastic team, with attractive fringe benefits in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU). The contract will run initially for 1 year. By satisfactory functioning, this contract will be extended by a period of 3 years.  

Your remuneration will be calculated on the basis of full-time salary ranging between EUR 2.325,- in the first year and EUR 2.972,- in the fourth year, gross per year (salary scale P, CAO NU ). Erasmus University Rotterdam offers attractive terms of employment, including a holiday allowance of 8%, a year-end payment of 8.3% and 41 annual leave days in case of a full work week. In addition, EUR takes part in the ABP pension scheme, and we also offer partially paid parental leave. Moreover, EUR staff members are allowed to make use of the EUR facilities, including the Erasmus sports centre and the University Library. We value diversity and believe that a diversity of talents contributes to our vision and strategy to excel as a university on research and education. This means that we are looking for a person who can complement our team well.


Erasmus University Rotterdam

The Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), named after Rotterdam-born humanist and theologian Erasmus, is a research university with a strong international orientation and a pronounced social focus, both in its education and research activities. On the lively, modern campus, more than 28.000 students and scholars of more than 100 nationalities are constantly encouraged to develop their talents and meet their ambition. Our more than 2700 scientists and employees work together with all our students to solve challenges faced by global society, drawing their inspiration from the consistently dynamic and cosmopolitan city of Rotterdam. The academic education offered at our faculties is intensive, engaging and strongly focused on practical application. We increasingly perform our research in multidisciplinary teams, which are closely interwoven with international networks. In terms of research impact and the quality of its degree programmes, EUR can compete with the foremost universities in Europe, which is reflected in its consistent top-100 position in most major universities rankings. Erasmus University Rotterdam’s key values are daring, curiosity, social involvement, breaking new ground and striving for success


Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB)

The Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences is home to a vast diversity of scientific disciplines: public administration, pedagogical sciences, psychology and sociology. In addition, the Erasmus University College, IHS, and two research institutes RISBO and DRIFT are linked to the faculty. This also reflects in the content of the (international) bachelor's and master's programs and in research.  Our activities are always focused on people and society. At the ESSB fundamental, internationally oriented research is of paramount importance. In addition, social research for professionals, policy makers, and the society is part of our research activities. ESSB offers a stimulating research environment where major national and international research grants are received. Appealing guest researchers and ambitious PhD candidates come along to conduct their research. Our education is small-scale and works with innovative forms of education such as Problem-Based Learning (PBL). Both the Dutch and English programs are highly ranked by students and alumni. ESSB is home to over 4000 students and more than 400 staff-members. The different disciplines are supported by the Faculty Office (for more information, please visit

Department of Psychology, Education & Child Studies (DPECS)

The Department of Psychology, Education & Child Studies provides education and research in the area of pedagogical and psychological sciences and is embedded within the Faculty of Social Science. The education is characterized by a successful and innovative didactical approach: problem-based learning in combination with extensive professional and academic skills training. Our bachelor and master tracks receive top rankings each year.


  • PhD
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2325—€2972 per month
  • ESSB/20200513/291797


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

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Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, 3062 PA, Rotterdam

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