Research assistantships

Financing your PhD in a research-oriented way.

If you finance your PhD through a position at a university, you have a clear advantage. Unlike an external PhD student, you are in daily contact with the academic world—and this is especially important for those who want to make an academic career.

But how much time you will actually get to work on your thesis is another question.

The spectrum ranges from project positions funded by third-party funds, where PhD students can concentrate one hundred per cent on their thesis, to faculty positions, where they are not paid for working on their PhD, but for teaching courses or supporting professors in research and administration. In terms of time, the thesis is then more of a side event.

In this set-up, the issue of “dependence” is a major one. The fact that the supervisor is both the employer and the evaluator of the thesis can lead to tensions. This makes it all the more important to have people outside your own faculty with whom you can discuss the progress of your thesis.