China Scholarship Council



  • Full PhD students: selected Chinese students can enroll in designated doctoral (PhD) programmes of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam provided that they engage in the programme for no more than 48 months. If the selected Chinese students successfully complete the requirements of the designated program and defend their dissertation, they will be conferred a degree by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
  • Sandwich/joint PhD students: selected Chinese students can enroll in designated research programmes of VU University and complete part of their doctorate, reaching from 6 to 24 months. The selected Chinese students are to return to their home institutions in China for their dissertation defense upon completion of their research at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
  • Postdoctoral fellows: selected Chinese postdoctoral fellows can enroll in a Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam postdoctoral training programme for 3 to 12 months.

For whom?

Chinese PhD students, who will take a full PhD study, or a period of PhD dissertation research at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The China Scholarship Council (CSC) scholarship for a period of PhD dissertation research at VU University can be applied for in the first round.

Which programmes?  

All programs can be applied for, as long as the department/faculty/graduate school you’re applying to is willing to waive all tuition fees and research fees. Priority will be given to the areas of study mentioned in the introduction.


Maximum of 48 months for a full PhD study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Scholarship amount

  • Exemption from registration fee, tuition fee, research fee
  • Living allowance of € 1350 per month (including health insurance)
  • International airfare 

The living allowances will be paid via CSC. Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange will book the tickets for the departure from Beijing, and the Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands will book the return tickets.


  • Candidates are citizens and permanent residents of the People’s Republic of China at the time of application.
  • Applicants for the doctoral degree program must have a Master’s degree and be under the age of 35.
  • The relevant academic entry requirements must be fulfilled, including a high level of English language proficiency and a Master degree.
  • Candidates must hold an acceptance letter (standard format) from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
  • Candidates should satisfy the CSC selection criteria by completing the CSC Application Form and the CSC Employer Reference Form.
  • Successful candidates must return to China upon completion of their research.

How to apply?

In order to apply for a CSC scholarship you need an acceptance letter of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. This acceptance letter is to be written by the professor who has agreed to supervise you during your PhD-research. The deadline for submitting the acceptance letter to CSC is 1 March. Please turn to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam PhD website for PhD application procedure. This application procedure can be used for all applications to a full, joint and sandwich PHD program, as well as application to a postdoc in any field of knowledge.

Application timeline

(Optional) Visit the annual CSC workshops in November and upload your CV and research proposal beforehand in the CSC database.
23,24 November, Beijing; 26 November, Shanghai
Deadline for sending PhD applications to [email protected] or PhD portal
January 1 2020
Selection of candidates by professors, contact by skype and email, elaboration of research proposal
January-March 2020
Final selection and Letter of Acceptance
8 March, 2020
Candidate applies through the CSC website
to be announced
Decision by CSC
May/June 2020
Arranging practical matters for preparing your stay at Vrije Universiteit
June 2020
Starting your project at Vrije Universiteit
September – December 2020

In 2011, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the China Scholarship Council (CSC). Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and CSC collaborate to provide high quality research training to qualified students and postdoctoral fellows from Chinese universities. They prioritize support in the following areas of study: Environment, Medicine, Life- and Neuroscience, Biomedical Sciences and Public Health, Economics, Business, Law, International studies and Social Sciences.

Sandra Hasanefendic, Director International PhD Recruitment and Promotion
E: [email protected]

PhD Workshop China 2019 hosted by China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE), will take place in Beijing on Nov. 23-24, and tour in Shanghai on Nov. 26.

The 11th edition PhD Workshop China since 2009 is a professional PhD student recruitment event where overseas universities and research institutes shall present their excellent PhD programs on-site, and interview the top Chinese postgraduates and PhD candidates.

In 2007 China initiated the Postgraduate Study Abroad Program of National Construction on High-level Universities funded by China Scholarship Council (CSC) under Chinese MOE. In 2018, the program stepped up its funding ---- 3000 for Full PhD Programs, and 6500 for Joint PhD Programs.

The PhD Workshop is timed in November, so that the students can meet and talk with the delegates on site for latest PhD programs before they get ready for CSC funding. 

The CSC funded program application and enrollment starts in mid-March the following year.

For more information please visit the official PhD Workshop China 2019 website.