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PhD (“External PhD”) in Cross-Cultural Psychology

the Netherlands
Tilburg Universit
Type of degree: 
Contact person or office: 
Fons van de Vijver
Web Site: 


Obtaining a PhD (“External
PhD”) in Cross-Cultural Psychology at Tilburg University, the Netherlands

This information is meant for
students who would like to combine their regular work with a PhD project (dual
trajectory of work and study, locally known as “an external PhD project”).


Who Is Eligible?

You need to be eligible to
become a student at the Graduate School (http://www.tilburguniversity.nl/faculties/fsw/oldendorff/graduateschool/).
We need certified copies of your major diplomas. The Doctorate Board of the
University takes the final decision about admission on the basis of information
provided by the Graduate School (http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/research/institutes-and-research-groups/oldendorff/graduateschool/doctorate/).
The main criterion is whether your previous education record is sufficient to
allow you to register for a PhD. A Master’s degree in Psychology or a related
subject or an equivalent qualification usually is the minimum sufficient
requirement, but in the case of some countries a degree may not be recognized as
equivalent to the Dutch MSc. The assessment procedure usually does not take
longer than a few weeks.


How Long Does a
PhD Project Take?

The projects of PhD students
who are on the payroll of the university take four years. It is our experience
that PhD projects, conducted by students who have a regular job, take about the
same time or longer, depending on whether they combine work with activities on
their project such as data collection.


Who Are We?

We are a group of
cross-cultural researchers at Tilburg University in the Netherlands that was started
some forty years ago by Ype Poortinga. You can find information about us at http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/about-tilburg-university/schools/socialsciences/departments/ccp/.


The research group
works in the area of cross-cultural psychology. The major themes are:

  1. The
    relationship between cultural factors and human behavior and its
    development (in a broad sense, including experiences, actual behaviors,
    and inferences about behavior in the domain of personality, intelligence,
    and emotions);
  2. The
    methodological aspects of cross-cultural comparisons. It is the mission of
    the research group to enlarge our insight in the intricate bi-directional
    relationships between individuals and the cultural context in which they
    function and to disseminate available scientific knowledge, especially to
    the majority world.

the research group has focused on studies in which participants from different
countries were compared. More recently, acculturation by immigrant groups in
the Netherlands has been studied as well as attitudes of Dutch mainstreamers
toward the multicultural composition of the Dutch society (multiculturalism).

There is a long tradition of
research on methodological aspects of cross-cultural comparisons. The group
strives to enhance the quality of cross-cultural research by improving designs
and data analyses in order to counter rival explanations effectively and to
arrive at valid inferences about cross-cultural similarities and differences.


Topics of ongoing research are

Acculturation and well-being

Assessment in multicultural societies

Autobiographical memory across cultures

Implicit and explicit motivation across cultures

Identity development across cultures

Parenting and implicit theories of development

Socialization in multiple-risk environments

Personality questionnaire development in (multicultural) South Africa

Equivalence and bias


Preparing a

Before you start writing the
proposal, you should contact one of the staff members to agree on a topic. The
first part of the application procedure will be writing a research proposal.
This proposal will specify the topic of your study, the theoretical background,
method aspects of the study, a time schedule, and a financial schedule. The topic
should fall within the field of competence of the senior staff (http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/research/institutes-and-research-groups/oldendorff/researchunits/behaviorinculturalcontext/).
You can find information about our fields of interest at http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/webwijs/show/?uid=fons.vandevijver
(Fons Van de Vijver), http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/webwijs/show/?uid=a.chasiotis
(Athanasios Chasiotis), and http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/webwijs/show/?uid=m.bender
(Michael Bender). In cases where the topic overlaps with areas outside of
cross-cultural psychology we can try to find a co-supervisor. Once the topic
has been agreed, you have to write a thesis proposal. This need not be done in Tilburg, but we have a
strong preference for this happening here. The proposal has to be approved by
the supervisor(s) and by the Graduate School of the Faculty of Social Sciences
before a candidate can be formally admitted to the Graduate School.


How Often Do You Need to Be in

In the course of your research and writing we need to
see you regularly in Tilburg, even though we assume that e-mail will be the most
frequent means of communication. The costs for travel and for board and lodging
will have to be paid from funds supplied by you. We think that one visit per
year is the very minimum. How long a visit should last also depends on the
phase of the project, facilities (library, computer) that you need to consult,
and the supervision that you require.


The Thesis

The thesis will start with a chapter that has a
general introduction, followed by a number of chapters that are at the core of
the thesis, and a conclusion chapter. The core of the thesis will comprise a
number of empirical subprojects of the larger project. These chapters are
almost always articles that have been submitted to relevant peer-reviewed scientific
journals in the course of the project. Supervisors and collaborators (if
applicable) are co-authors of the articles (the PhD student is the first


Examples of Ongoing PhD Projects

Development of assessment procedures or ADHD in multicultural school

Management styles in Indonesia

Identity development in different ethnic groups in South Africa

Bias in educational testing in Central and South America


More Information?

More information can be obtained from Fons van de
Vijver (fons.vandevijver@uvt.nl), Michael
Bender (m.bender@uvt.nl) or Athanasios
Chasiotis (a.chasiotis@uvt.nl).





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