Urban Development and Governance

PhD programme
Graduation ceremony of the IHS PhD candidate Hung Viet Ngo

About the programme

IHS provides an environment that stimulates inspiring ideas at the crossroads of theory and practice in urban development and governance. Urban professionals grow as individuals and as academics. The knowledge and ideas they develop at IHS will contribute to them making a positive impact on the world.

The IHS PhD programme provides a refreshing academic-to-practice environment in which talented individuals can develop their ideas and broaden their experience to become the leading professionals in urban development research, education and practice. This PhD programme brings together scholars from all over the world, supporting their research on multiple topics. Please have a look at examples of the work our PhD candidates have published.

 Below, you can see an overview of our three main research areas:

Urban Socio-Spatial Development

Urban Economics and Governance

Urban Sustainability and Climate Change Resilience

PhD Programme Management

Our IHS PhD Programme Management team are here to assist you throughout your PhD trajectory and will provide you with all the relevant information you need to complete your trajectory. They ensure the IHS PhD Programme compliance with the EUR Doctoral Regulations.

Working hard is important but so is creating connections with people from all over the world. PhD Programme Management also organize social events throughout the year for the PhD students, including academic excursions, going out for lunch and an end of year wrap up party.


As well as regular contact with the IHS PhD Programme Management, your PhD trajectory will be supervised by two expert academic supervisors. Other experts can be added if necessary. Your supervisory team will be appointed to you based on our staff members expertise and in compliance with the EUR Doctoral Regulations.


Students in the IHS PhD Programme are part of the scientific community at IHS. Therefore, you have access to a wealth of resources. This includes access to a dedicated office space, and journal articles via IHS’s extensive library, which is focused on urban literature, EUR main library, and the EUR campus facilities. Furthermore, you have space to develop your presentation and feedback skills in our PhD colloquia, where you discuss and learn from each other. 

Cooperation with the Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities (EGSH)

Students in our PhD programme will receive academic training from the Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities (EGSH). This will ensure that PhD students are up to date with the academic and research skills required for their research. Students can choose from a wide range of courses catered to support their individual work and develop them as researchers. The programme will be tailor-made to your needs. Some of these courses offered are mandatory for our PhD students. The selection will be finalized during your supervision meetings.

How is the programme organised?

Phd trajectory phases

  • Starts directly after admission.
  • Develop a Training and Supervisory Plan with supervisory team; identify mandatory and specialized courses to take in Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities (EGSH).
  • Complete Hora Finita registration. Hora Finita is the central EUR PhD registration and monitoring system.
  • Turn the initial proposal into an operational work plan, including a thorough literature review, clear research questions and an matching methodological strategy that prepares for the fieldwork.
  • This period ends with a formal go/no-go decision from the promotor(s) and co-promotor(s). This is a formal assessment that will be used to evaluate the candidate’s perspective to continue with the PhD trajectory. This moment usually takes place 10-12 months after the start of your trajectory. It serves as a reflection moment to assess the likelihood of you finishing your research successfully in the remaining three years.

  • Enter the empirical research phase
  • Prepare and conduct field work
  • Analysis results

  • Write up work into a manuscript
  • Feedback from your supervisory team and editing manuscript
  • Submission of your manuscript to the reading committee

  • Meet regulations, requirements, and rules by Beadles Office
  • Print thesis
  • Set a date for the defense
  • PhD defense ceremony
  • Please note that the time between the approval of your thesis by the supervisory team and the actual defense (including approval from the doctoral committee) may take approximately 6 months due to formal procedures which are legally required.

PhD agreement and registration are arranged once the first payment has been received. The expected duration for a PhD trajectory is four years full-time. The Netherlands is well-known for its non-hierarchical management culture. This is strongly reflected in the supervision style provided here at IHS. As a PhD student, you will be considered a fellow researcher. During supervision meetings, you will be provided with guidance and feedback, but you will also be encouraged to share your ideas and questions. Together you will find ways for you to learn and grow as a researcher.

Four PhD candidates having a conversation.

IHS PhD Urban Governance and Development

PhD Modalities

The IHS PhD programme is very flexible and caters for various modalities for PhD or post-doctoral research activities. Below you can find more specific information about each of the five modalities available for PhD students. 

IHS PhD student

Entire research (3-4 years) at IHS/EUR with a mandatory stay on site of only 3 months per year.

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

€12,500 per year

  • Variety of research possibilities (3 clusters)
  • Supervisory team 
  • Access to the vast resources of the university library system & campus facilities
  • A dedicated quiet working space
  • Access to tailored courses included in the fee
  • Possibility to assist supervisions and to attend guest lectures
  • A PhD degree in the field of Social Sciences and the Humanities from a top 100 university 
  • A truly international environment & an opportunity to expand your network 
  • Support in visa procedures and practical assistance

Visiting researcher

Postdoc researchers visiting for a short period, who have the primary purpose of visiting the Erasmus campus, is to conduct individual research.

Administration fee

6 months: € 1,500

Up to 3 months: € 900

  • Variety of research possibilities (3 clusters)
  • Access to the vast resources of the university library system & campus facilities
  • A quiet working space (visiting scholars follow a flex desk policy)
  • Possibility to attend guest lectures
  • A truly international environment & an opportunity to expand your network 
  • Support in visa procedures and practical assistance

Sign up for a series of informative emails about this programme!

Learn about the content, lecturers, career opportunities, Rotterdam and more.

PhD Alumni Spotlight: Daniel Adamu

Daniel studied public-private partnership-led housing delivery in urban Nigeria.

IHS PhD alumnus Daniel Adamu

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes