PhD Programme

More than 20 PhD students, divided over the four philosophy departments participating in the 4TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology, are currently working on their doctoral thesis. A tailor-made programme for supervision and training has been established for each of them. For more information on their projects, see the personal pages of our PhD-students. Since June 2008 theses of our PhD students are published in the Simon Stevin Series in the Ethics of Technology.

PhD programme in Ethics and Technology

4TU.Ethics has recently prepared a more extensive and uniformly structured joint PhD programme in Ethics and Technology, that started in Autumn 2010 and for which 4TU.Ethics has obtained a prestigious grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, NWO. The PhD programme addresses important and urgent ethical questions that the world faces as a consequence of (new) technologies. With the PhD programme 4TU.Ethics intends to expand and build on its excellent and internationally acknowledged research work. The PhD programme is linked to the master programme on Philosophy of Science Technology and Society at the University of Twente. Students may access courses and seminars ranging from ethics to research skills while starting to draft their research proposals. In so doing students will be given the chance to choose the field of investigation they wish to develop in the following years rather than being called to apply for a pre-defined PhD research project. The PhD programme consists in addition to doctoral research, of the following elements:

  • Courses and course work
  • Annual Writing Retreat
  • PhD Graduation from the universities of Delft, Eindhoven, Twente or Wageningen.

Schematic Overview of the Programme

PhD students in the Netherlands typically have 3 or 4 years to complete their PhD thesis. The first year of the 4TU.Ethics Graduate School is devoted to course work. The remaining years are devoted to research and the actual writing of the PhD thesis. PhD students will have a daily supervisor and a ‘promotor’; and sometimes they are the same person. During their PhD track, PhD students will normally also visit conferences, present papers at conferences and (departmental) seminars, and sometimes have some minor teaching obligations. All these elements enrich the experience of being a PhD student and will position one as good as possible once for a future job in (or outside of) academics.

The Course Work

As to the course work that has to be done, the 4TU.Ethics Graduate School Programme has merged the educational tracks of the Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society (PSTS) Master offered by the University of Twente with various PhD courses that were specially designed for the 4TU.Ethics Graduate School Programme. Together, these courses make up the educational programme of the 4TU.Ethics Graduate School.


More precisely, the Twente PSTS Master contributes four courses to the 4TU.Ethics Graduate School Programme. They are:

  • Assessment of Emerging Technologies;
  • Technology and the Quality of Life;
  • Philosophy of Anthropology and Human-Technology Relations; and
  • Technology, Globalization and the Environment (only for “Category I” students; see below).

In addition to these four courses offered by the University of Twente, 4TU.Ethics PhD students can choose courses from the following list of courses that were designed especially for the 4TU.Ethics Graduate School:

Two more courses are currently under development.

These courses are intended for PhD students working as part of the 4TU.Ethics Graduate School or PSTS master students in the Ethics and Technology track. Other interested PhD students are very welcome to apply. If you have any questions, you can contact the Coordinator of 4TU.Ethics. Registration is available through the Dutch School of Philosophy (OZSW) website:

Research Schools

During the course work of 4TU.Ethics programme you will also have the opportunity to attend the courses of others research schools. Your supervisor(s) will advise you in this respect, taking into account your research topic and any further skills you may need to master. For 4TU.Ethics, the most relevant Dutch research schools probably are:

For additional information on course opportunities and requirements, you may contact the Assistant Director of 4TU.Ethics or discuss directly with your supervisor(s).


Three Categories of PhD Students

In the graduate school of 4TU.Ethics, three categories of PhD-students are distinguished. For various reasons, the educational programme and curriculum requirements are different for these categories. The three categories are:

  • Category I: “2+3 students”: students who first enroll in the PSTS Master Programme offered by Twente University (2 years) and then continue with a three-year PhD programme.
  • Category II: 4-year PhD students: students who have not enrolled in the PSTS Master but immediately start with a four-year PhD programme in which they have a free choice of promotor and topic.
  • Category III: 4-year PhD students: students who have not enrolled in the PSTS Master but immediately start with a four-year PhD programme based on a funded project with pre-defined goals and a pre-defined promotor.

If you would like to receive more information, please contact the  4TU.Ethics Coordinator. Please also take a look at the website of the Twente Graduate School.