The PhD degree is awarded in a ceremonial exam session of an hour in which the candidate defends his or her thesis against a committee of experts. It is possible to present a thesis based on research performed in, for example, an industrial research laboratory.
In the vast majority of cases a thesis is based on research performed as an employee of the university. Funding of the position as a PhD student is usually through grants obtained by your supervisor from a research-funding agency or another contractual partner. Salaries are based on salary-scales valid for the Dutch university system.
Completion of the thesis-research is expected to be reached in a period of 4 years of research. The PhD student takes part in courses and workshops suitable for their scientific and personal development to a minimum of 15 ECTS. The thesis is based on independent research, usually carried out in collaboration with other team members, and most of it already published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
The university at which the PhD student is working is entitled to demand a contribution to teaching to a maximum of 15% of the normal working hours. This could be as a teaching assistant for excercises or lab courses. It is also expected that a PhD student supervises a few BSc or MSc students, integrating them in his or her own research project.