Are you interested in studying for a PhD in a lively and vibrant research group?

CLLS offers PhD programmes on a multiple of topics, using a range of methodologies. Below you can find out more about studying for a PhD with us.

Studying for a PhD with us

Our PhDs are by publication and not by a thesis. This means that by the time you finish, you will have published 4-5 articles and be highly competitive in the international job market – or where ever you wish to work!

Our PhDs last 4-6 years, depending on how you are funded and outside commitments you have.

Methods Training

As a PhD student at CLLS, you will also be a member of the university’s Antwerp Doctoral School. The Antwerp Doctoral School offers a wide range of courses in methodology training, and transferable skills. As part of your doctoral training you study for credits.

If you are interested in quantitative research, we also have STaTUA which is facility for statistical data analysis at the university. But more likely you will ask your colleagues, because in CLLS we have many specialists in qualitative and quantitative methods.


You need a master’s degree to apply for a PhD. Admissions for a PhD with CLLS will be decided internally by professors in the research group. They will assess your project proposal, and your ability to carry out the research based on your educational background and/or work experience. 


Our students have different funding sources:

The FWO (Flanders Research Organisation) is the main funding body for PhDs. It is a competitive process, where you identify your research project, illustrate its feasibility and originality, as well identifying the training you will receive whilst a member of the CLLS group. The funding is for 2 years, and is once renewable.  For more information click here.

Research Positions are available periodically when new funding occurs. Research positions can be funded internally (such as projects funded by the university (BOFs)) or externally (EU/ERC funding). You can also apply for the position of mandate assistant at the university. Mandate assistants work for the university as teaching assistants, while also being connected to a research group and doing a PhD. You can check out the university’s central job vacancies here.

Self-Funding is also a possibility. You will need to determine if you have enough resources to finance your living costs and pay the tuition fees. You will be interested to know that international student’s fees are usually the same as Belgian students and, compared to other European countries, Antwerp has a very low tuition fees: 453€ in year 1, free enrolment for years 2 & 3 and 453€ in the year you submit your PhD thesis. 

Students who would like to be admitted as a self-funded PhD student will need to provide proof of income for the study years prior to acceptance on the programme (e.g. existing income or proof of income during study years). On the UAntwerpen website you can find out more about the cost of studying and about tuition fees.

Already a PhD student at another university?

If you are studying at another university outside Belgium, and would like to spend some time with us as a visiting PhD student, this is also possible, and highly encouraged.


How to get started?

First think about your research idea.

Second identify a potential supervisor. CLLS has four professors with the following areas of expertise:

Professor Dimitri Mortelmans: family transitions, divorce, repartnering, work-life balance, gender, (work and life) careers, life-course studies

Professor Karel Neels:  labour market trajectories, family formation and household transitions, fertility, migration, hazard modelling, micro-simulation and projections

Professor Sarah Van de Veldemental health, reproductive health, female genital cutting, and informal caregiving, with a specific focus on gender disparities, family policy, cross-national comparisons and/or multilevel methods.

Professor Edwin Wouters: HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, chronic diseases, social / community support, health systems research, substance misuse, student health, well-being, quality of life

Third write a 2-page research proposal outlining your PhD research idea and send your 2-page PhD proposal to your identified potential supervisor. PLEASE! PLEASE! - Send your proposal to only one professor – professors are very busy! In your email, also state whether you already have funding, are self-funded or wish to apply for funding.

You can find information on how to write a PhD research proposal here: