Do you have an interest in finding solutions to societal issues via practice-based research? Then doing a PhD at a university of applied sciences (UAS) might be the next step for you!

Currently, there are two ways of obtaining a doctorate degree at UAS.

1. Doing a PhD as an UAS employee (collaboration with research university)

Some UAS offer PhD positions in collaboration with a research university. You will be hired as an UAS employee, give lectures to UAS students and perform research at both institutions. Most of the time a research university professor will be your promoter and a UAS lector your co-promoter. The reason for this is that currently only research universities can award a PhD degree.

PhD Voucher
Are you already a UAS lecturer and do you want to do a PhD at the same time? Occasionally, you have the opportunity to get a PhD voucher from your UAS. With a PhD voucher you can start your doctoral studies at a research university. You will perform your PhD research for several days a week, besides your UAS lecturer job. The PhD voucher conditions and application procedure differ per institution.

Doctoral Grant for teachers
As an UAS lecturer you can also apply for the ‘Doctoral Grant for teachers’ via NWO. With the PhD grant a replacement teacher can be appointed for a period of maximum 5 years for half of the contract hours (max. 0.4 fte).

2. Doing a Professional Doctorate (pilot)

In 2022 a first group of UAS Masters will start with a Professional Doctorate (PD) programme as a pilot. The Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences communicated the following about the new programme:

The UAS-PD is equivalent to and different from the PhD. It is an important addition to the educational landscape, and makes it possible to have a continuing learning pathway of bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate programmes with a professional/ vocational orientation. The PD programme helps to meet the increasing need for ‘inquisitive professionals’: highly skilled professionals who can address complex profession-oriented knowledge and -design questions, and thus contribute to sustainable innovation. The programme also contributes to further profiling and professionalising practice-based research in higher professional education. (Vereniging Hogescholen (2021). University of Applied Sciences Professional Doctorate. The Hague: Vereniging Hogescholen).


  • A Master’s degree in related field
  • Capable of translating questions originating from (professional) practice into a scientific study
  • Good communication skills
  • Good organisational skills
  • Good analytical skills
  • Fluency in English
  • Teaching experience or willingness