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External PhD programme

Candidates who seek to obtain a doctoral degree, researching a topic that falls within the ambit of ACT’s research expertise, may apply to carry out self-funded PhD research within the research centre. Potential candidates are strongly encouraged to consult our website to seek a plausible supervision match among our senior staff and to reach out timely to them. In consultation with your identified potential supervisor, you will then need to follow the application procedure set up by the Amsterdam law school. Applications in this context are assessed twice per year and must be submitted respectively by 1 March and 1 October.

What we offer:

External candidates are not employed by the ACT and perform their doctoral research in their own time.

The ACT External PhD Programme consists of:

  • supervision (admission is conditional upon the availability of at least one ACT professor as supervisor);
  • participation in the Monday ACT seminar series, internal seminars and recent development meetings, as well as conferences and symposia organized by the ACT;
  • PhD research training as offered, within the relevant time frame, by the Amsterdam Law School;
  • access to research material (library and online access);
  • inclusion in relevant ACT and Amsterdam Law School mailing lists.

The external PhD candidate establishes (together with her/his supervisor) a Training and Supervision plan (OBP) in which they agree upon a fully developed research proposal, the frequency of their meetings and participation of the candidate in courses and seminars offered by ACT, the Amsterdam Law School or other accredited research schools.

The candidate’s research progress is evaluated yearly, taking into account the agreements contained in the OBP.


At the stage of reaching out to a potential supervisor, candidates are advised to have a draft research proposal already at hand. The intended supervisor will liaise with the ACT board to secure support for the application.


In principle, external candidates conduct their doctoral research in their own time, or with the support of (time or financial) compensation from their existing employers (public or private sector). Candidates may independently seek alternative funding or scholarships.