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CSECL External PhD Programme

Centre for the Study of European Contract Law

The Centre for the Study of European Contract Law offers an external PhD programme.

Candidates who seek to obtain a doctoral degree, researching a topic that falls within the ambit of the CSECL research expertise, i.e. the law governing transactions on the EU’s internal market, may apply. For further information on current CSECL research, please click the links below.


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

The CSECL External PhD Programme consists of:

  • supervision (admission is conditional upon the availability of at least one CSECL professor as supervisor);
  • participation in the Monday CSECL seminar series, internal seminars and recent development meetings, as well as conferences and symposia organized by the CSECL;
  • in consultation with the CSECL, candidates may participate in PhD courses offered by the Amsterdam Law School against a fee (these courses including research methodology and research skills)
  • access to research material (library and online access);
  • inclusion on relevant CSECL 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 CSECL, 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.


The CSECL welcomes applicants to submit a letter of interest, C.V. and research proposal to ( Before submitting your application package, please carefully review the application criteria (see below).


The aspirant PhD researcher:

  • submits a research proposal (maximum of 2000 words, including references) on a topic that falls within CSECL’s research expertise (for guidance please look at the CSECL website). This proposal must include a tentative project title, research question(s), research methodology and literature references. (What is the aim of the project? What research question(s) will the project answer and how?)
  • holds an LL.M. degree or other Master’s degree (or equivalent) with excellent grades before the start date of the programme;
  • can provide proof of excellent level of the English-language skills, including excellent academic writing skills (CSECL theses are written in English);
  • obtains the PhD degree from the UvA (no admission is possible for degrees from other universities).


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.

The Amsterdam Law School offers annual Mr. I. Henri Hijmans Grants to the amount of 5000 euro a year.