Amsterdam Center for International Law

External PhD Programme

For whom?

Applications can be made by those awarded an LL.M. or similar postgraduate degree from an accredited university. Applicants are required to receive their PhD degree from the University of Amsterdam. The research should thematically fall within one the ACIL research themes or projects. Sufficient knowledge of the English language is required (the PhD thesis should be written in English).

Admission as an External PhD candidate depends on the availability of a promotor within the ACIL. If no promotor is available, candidates cannot be admitted.


Admission to the External PhD Programme entitles PhD candidates to the following facilities:

  • supervision by one or two promotor(s), and a daily supervisor (at least one is a full professor);
  • participation in courses specifically designed for PhD students at the Faculty of Law of the UvA (these courses start in September and comprise, inter alia, methodology, comparative law and comparative legal research, and research skills, participation is not mandatory);
  • access to the UvA's library;
  • Internet and mail account access within the UvA web domain; 
  • participation in lecture series, research meetings, and conferences, organized by the ACIL;
  • general, administrative support by the ACIL.

External PhD candidates can start at two moments during the academic year: in February and September. After two years, an Evaluation Interview will take place on the basis of the candidate's research progress to determine whether both the candidate and the supervisor will proceed.

Application Procedure

Applicants should send the following documents to with reference ‘Application External PhD Programme’ (in 1 pdf file):

  1. motivation letter of 500 words max., setting out the reasons for conducting PhD research at the ACIL, the preferred starting date, and the name(s) of the potential promotor(s) who support(s) the application;*
  2. research proposal of 2.000 words max., including references (this proposal must include a tentative project title, research question(s), research methodology and literature references. It also has to include a link with one of the research areas of the ACIL);
  3. CV (including list of publications and the names of two references).

Decisions about applications are taken by the ACIL Board and the Faculty’s Scientific Committee. Decisions are normally made within two months after the application deadlines.

* Please consult the profile pages of ACIL members under ‘Staff’, and contact potential promotor(s) well in advance. At least one promotor should be a full professor. If you send your request for support to more than one ACIL member, please indicate whom you have contacted, or send one email to all.

Application Deadlines

There are two deadlines throughout the academic year:

  • for starting date in September: 1 March
  • for starting date in February: 1 September


The admission fee (a one time fee) of the External PhD Programme amounts to the sum of € 5,000. This amount is non-refundable and covers supervision by the promotor and the facilities as described above. The admission fee is to be paid within three months after the starting date.


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 € 5,000 euro a year.

Published by  ACIL

17 July 2017