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 development to a minimum of 15 Graduate School Credits (GSC's). 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 exercises 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.