A PhD in particle physics

Do you have a master’s degree in physics or have you almost graduated? Are you fascinated by gravitational waves, elementary particles, or what happened directly after the big bang? As a PhD student at Nikhef, you will work to become a professional researcher specialised in particle physics. After completion, you can either continue working as a scientist, or you can start working in a different field.

Why go for a PhD at Nikhef?

Most of our PhD students come here out of curiosity for the research topic. As a PhD student at Nikhef, you have a lot of freedom to plan your own research and development. You are part of international research projects, for example at CERN or in laboratories in Italy, France or Argentina, and you have the opportunity to travel. You can also take courses that are useful for your research or your career in general. You will be supervised, but we also expect a certain degree of independence.

A PhD: research, development and teaching

During the four year PhD programme, you do research and are part of one of our research groups. At the end you publish your findings in a thesis and defend it in front of a committee. But you do not only focus on your own research. You will follow lectures, seminars and colloquia at universities, at Nikhef and at conferences through the Research School Subatomic Physics. During the first two years, you will also follow three series of Topical lectures each year about relevant developments in the field. In the second year you will give a short presentation during the meeting of the Belgian Dutch German graduate school in particle physics. You can also be asked to teach. This means you help out with lectures, prepare practicals and exams or supervise bachelor and master students.

Apply for a PhD position

Nikhef has openings for PhD students four times a year. In 2020 there is an extra round due to unforeseen circumstances. Upcoming deadlines for applications are:

  • 1 October 2020
  • Extra vacancies (different deadlines 1-10 Dec)
  • 15 January 2021
  • 15 April 2021
  • 15 June 2021

Vacancies will be published on the vacancy Page one month before the closure date at the latest. Sporadically, a PhD vacancy can be published with a different deadline.

Other possibilities

Do you not see your perfect PhD position among the vacancies? Or do you have questions about specific research programmes? You can always contact one of the programme leaders.

More information

  • Would you like to get sense of what it’s like to do a PhD at Nikhef? Have a look at the website of the PhD council. They have collected a wide range of practical information for PhD students.
  • Do you have questions about the application procedure or doing a PhD at Nikhef? Please contact HR via email (pz@nikhef.nl).

What is it like to do a PhD at Nikhef?

Do you want to know more about what it’s like to do a PhD at Nikhef? Have a look at the profiles of these PhD students:

Alice Alfonsi, ATLAS
Bouke Jung, KM3NeT
Eleftheria Malami, Theory









Jordy Butter, LHCb
Rob Walet, Gravitational Waves