According to the Dutch law a Dutch Master’s degree is a requirement to start a PhD trajectory. Under very strict conditions the Amsterdam UMC Doctoral Graduate School also recognizes pre-PhD students.

Difference between Pre-PhD and MD/PhD students

An MD/PhD student combines the Master and PhD within a formalized study arrangement. For AMC/UvA MD/PhD Candidates are selected after an intensive application procedure. This scholarschip is only accesible for AMC/UvA students

Pre-PhD students combine Master and PhD at their own initiative or participating in the MD/PhD program of VUmc/VU


A pre-PhD student is a Master student who will be engaged in a research project supervised by an Amsterdam UMC promotor, which is intended to result in a PhD Thesis which will be defended at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Amsterdam (AMC/UvA) or the Vrije University of Amsterdam (VUmc/VU). We recommend pre-PhD students to only agree to a regular PhD contract and salary. Pre-PhD students are required to obtain their Master's degree before the thesis defence

The following groups are eligible:

  • AMC Master students in Medicine or Medical Informatics, or

  • Biomedical Sciences (FNWI) or other UvA Master students, or

  • Master students from another university

Please note: you need to have a completed Bachelor relevant to the current Master you are following. Students with a bachelor degree, but currently following another bachelor are not eligible

The following groups are not eligible :

  • Bachelor students

  • Amsterdam UMC master students just planning their research internship are not eligible
  • Individuals with a Bachelor degree who are not doing a Master should consult the Amsterdam UMC Doctoral School

Registration procedure

To register at the Amsterdam UMC Doctoral School, prospective pre-PhD students fill in the standard registration webform, indicating you are registering as a pre-PhD candidate under "Your PhD Type". Please attach the following documents at the final step of the registration form:

1. The signed PhD trajectory confirmation form
2. A copy of your Bachelor's degree certificate
3. A short letter of recommendation from the Amsterdam UMC full professor (promotor) explicitly stating that the student has been offered a PhD position and that the PhD candidate will obtain their Master's diploma before their defence.

If there are questions, the prospective pre-PhD student may contact one of the PhD Candidate Advisors ( The Amsterdam Doctoral School has the final decision on registration

Once registered all courses offered by the Amsterdam UMC Doctoral School are open to pre-PhD students. All other preconditions concerning the PhD course program (course regulations) apply to pre-PhD students as well

Obtaining a Master's degree

After obtaining your Master's degree please inform de Amsterdam UMC Doctoral School. You can send us a copy of your Master's degree so you can be registered as a PhD candidate instead of a Pre-PhD candidate

No defence of your thesis without a Master's degree

To be able to defend your PhD thesis, you first must have obtained your Master's degree. This is also applicable if you are a PhD candidate who combines the Master and PhD within a formalized study arrangement (Pre-Phd). If you do not hold a Master's degree yet by the time you (almost) have finished your thesis, please contact the Office of Doctorate Affairs

Back to "PhD Trajectory"